So I made the 48-mile ride to Hillsborough River State Park. I looked at other metrics associated with the trip. I had a total elevation increase and decrease of around 700 feet. I was facing a 10 mph headwind (I think).
Anyway, I was tired when I got there. I got a fire going, because that’s one of my favorite things about camping. I watched the stars for a bit. A satellite passed me by, and I said hello to Dad. (He’s the person who showed me how to tell it was a satellite when I was a kid.) I got the fire going around sunset (5:30-ish), so it was mostly burnt out by 8:00. I was in my sleeping back at 8:10.
I’d love to say I slept like a log. Even with a sleeping pad, the ground is hard. I woke up at 1:30 and walked to the campground bathroom. There was still a decent amount of ambient light from the RVs who left security lights on. I barely needed my flashlight to get there. I did my business, took a couple of melatonin to help me sleep through the rest of the night. I slept until sunrise (7:00-ish) and pulled my sleeping bag over my eyes until 8:00.
Now, I was in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t pack a lot of food because I knew there was a cafe on site. But when I walked over to it the previous day, there was a sign saying they weren’t cooking. That left me 7 miles away from the nearest grocery-like place, sore, and not really wanting a 14-mile round trip to get food.
The cafe opened at 10:00, so I decided to journal until then and check out the situation. If I had to ride to get food, I would. But I might as well see what the situation was first.
Lucky me, they were cooking for the week of Thanksgiving! I ordered coffee and two delicious breakfast sandwiches, one for that day’s breakfast and one for the next. I ate my breakfast along the river with a gorgeous view.
After breakfast, I went back to my campsite, grabbed a water bottle and my camera, and headed for a nature trail to explore.
Somewhat unfortunately I entered the trailhead at the same time as a rather large group. A group with kids. They were loud… I walked quickly for a bit, trying to get ahead of them. That helped, but the noise level probably scared away any big critters worth seeing.
Still, the views were gorgeous. When I got away from the noise, I started feeling better. My fatigue lifted. I got the distinct impression that if fairies exist, there were many places for them to live in the forest I was walking through.
On my way back to the campsite I was greeted by a pileated woodpecker getting a drink. Canoes also caught my eye, as did an octo-tree, and butterflies. Very cool to see the woodpecker.
After my hike, I went back to my tent and took a nap. Oh, to nap outside. The breeze. The chirp of the birds. My snore probably added to the natural music, because I still had parts of my lingering cold (still do, but it’s not so bad now).
Once I woke up, I thought of seeing if I could extend my stay another day. I started riding my bike towards the ranger’s station. I took a look at the Thursday forecast before getting there. Rain was predicted all day for Thursday, so I decided to return on Wednesday after all. But I rode a nice, fast loop around the park and didn’t feel too badly after riding 48 miles the day before.
I returned to my campsite, parked my bike, and went and grabbed an early dinner from the cafe. I ate part there while journaling and took the rest back with me. I read a book until it started to get dark at the late hour of 5:00. I got a fire going, much easier this time! I ate the rest of my dinner while watching the fire. I may have stayed up until 9:00 that night, but I knew I’d need to get up a bit early since I had my return trip the next day.
I definitely could have used a couple more nights out there. My neighbors were loud sometimes, and fond of leaving fluorescent lights on even when they were inside their RV. But even with that, I could feel some of my tension easing away. Another couple of nights would have done me good, but it was still nice getting out in nature.