Rambling northwest along the backroads of rural Florida, following Sandy’s directions, we arrived in Blountstown just before dinner. There was still enough daylight to take a wander down the Blountstown Greenway section of the Florida Trail to check on changes for the new Florida Trail guide.
Grabbing salads from the local Subway, we drove to a brand-new Florida Trail trailhead along the Chipola River. Tucked behind a handful of trees for cover, we closed the curtains on the side of the van that faced the road, folded out the two tables, and enjoyed our dinner by headlamp.
Not wanting to attract too much attention to our little “stealth” campsite, we left the pop-up top down. Smart move, it turned out, but not for the reason we’d given up our headroom. It helped keep in the warmth with the top being closed.
We woke the next morning to ice on the windows. Going out for a privy visit in the cold foggy morning made us once again very glad to have spent the night inside our warm little camper instead of our tent.
Thanks to our strategic location, we rolled right out onto the Florida Trail at daybreak to walk the new Altha Trail section for the guidebook. The trail followed a forest road for some distance before it became a rugged and very scenic footpath above the rushing waters of the Chipola River. As luck would have it, the river had risen over its normal levels, so the highlight of the hike, the Look and Tremble Rapids, were nowhere to be found. Tiny winding creeks with splashing cascades made up for the loss.
One raccoon, one woodpecker, and seven deer later, we returned to Primrose.
Unlike packing up a backpacker’s campsite – which you can do along the new Altha Trail – breaking camp in Primrose is easy. Roll up the sleeping bag and stuff it behind the seat after the bed is converted back to a bench seat. Move everything off the tables and counters, so nothing goes sliding and crashing around, and we’re off!
Little did we know that our skill at breaking camp would be put to the test on a emergency departure at 2 AM within the next week!
With Primrose packed, we rumbled up to Shelton’s Store and continued on to Marianna, stopping to enjoy a nice breakfast at a little cafe we visited last year, Bobbie’s Waffle Iron. As we waited for our bacon and eggs, two regulars stood out in the parking lot, pointing and talking about the van for some time. Then it was off to another new trail…..