Camping at St. Sebastian River Preserve

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Some friends and I recently spent a weekend up in St. Sebastian River, a nature preserve in Central Florida. Here are some grossly overdue photos!

St. Sebastian River Preserve

The preserve is a huge square of minimally improved original Florida outback — a flat mix of forests, palm frond bushes and dry fields. The camping is primitive (hike everything in, hike everything out), and sparse enough that you rarely run into other people after checking in at the ranger station.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

The river itself is not particularly scenic. Made canal-straight by the Army corps of engineers or something and adorned with a water regulating lock, it cuts through the park, neatly dividing it in two. The access road runs along the river, and the locals come out on the weekend to barbecue but don’t venture into the park itself.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

There’s a stark beauty to the whole place, but it’s adorned with unusual plants, natural formation, and occasional signs of life.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Here’s a toad peeking through the dry sand.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

In the deeper parts of the forest, peculiar root formations stick out of the ground.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Dried trees and shrubbery.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

The moon comes out at night, and it’s easy to walk around. We heard the sounds of boars occasionally during the day, but they left us alone at night.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Cowboy cooking.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

And relaxing by the fire. While campfires are permitted in designated areas, gathering firewood is not, so you need to bring your own.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

A mist settles on everything overnight, and the early morning is serene and otherworldly, until the sun cuts through the treeline and everything returns to the hot Florida self you know so well.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Blinding.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Signs of fire are everywhere — this ecosystem of course renews itself by burning every few years.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

An armadillo butt.

St. Sebastian River Preserve

St. Sebastian River Preserve

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Posted: Wednesday June 1, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · · Comment feed for this post: RSS, atom

 

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