I love the backroads! If you’ve got a
specific destination and a time-sensitive arrival is necessary, the Interstates
are great for getting you there fast (until they’re not, but that’s another
story for another time). But if I’ve got time to spare, I’m willing to let the
road take me. Often there are great discoveries awaiting.
And that’s just how it was on my trip home
after the last of my band’s Christmas With The Celts shows in the Florida
Panhandle. Rather than heading north to catch boring I-10 for the trip east,
and eventually south, I chose to head east on FL-20, a mostly two-lane highway
that passes through places you’ve probably never heard of like Bruce, Ebro, and
About 20 miles east of Ebro, I stopped at a
place I’d never heard of until quite recently: Pitt and Sylvan Springs. (Our band’s
right-hand man Rob had briefly visited this place on his way out to the
concerts, and the pictures he took were so beautiful I had to see it for
myself.) It’s a small park managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management
District; peaceful and mostly very quiet except for the sound of the occasional
car speeding along Hwy 20.
My first short walk took me to Sylvan
Next I walked toward the confluence of
Sylvan Spring Run and Ecofina Creek.
The spring run appears a little clearer and
a little more blue than the actual creek. I paused here for quite a while, just
enjoying the wild Florida beauty and the solitude.
There’s archaeological evidence that people
have lived in this area since the Paleoindian Era (about 12,000 – 8000 B.C.).
Ecofina Creek, however, got its name more recently. Muskogee people moving into
Florida in the late 1700s used this region to cross the creek and thus called
it “Ecofina,” which is their word for “natural bridge.”
Someone who’s far more educated as to
ecosystems than I can you exactly what sort of ecosystem this is. To me, it
just looks like “Florida.”
And this part of Florida got hit pretty
hard by Hurricane Michael. Looks to me like Michael barreled right over Pitt
and Sylvan Springs, because evidence of destruction is still everywhere … and
the recreation area was actually closed for a while, for cleanup and to make
the facilities safe for use again.
Still, nature goes on, as evidenced by this very
young Sourwood tree.
Making my way back, I crossed the common
area of parking lot and picnic shelters to take a look at the swimming hole created
by Pitt Spring. I bet on a hot day this is a wonderful place to cool off! –
even on this fairly chilly day it looked so inviting!
Again I took a long pause to stare into the
mesmerizingly blue-green depths of the pool and to watch the little fish dart
to and fro.
Turning toward the canoe dock, I came upon
this little bog
before coming back to Ecofina Creek. I’m
not a paddler, but a day on these waters sounds pretty appealing!
“Wistful” and “reluctant” are two
adjectives that come to mind for describing how I felt as I turned back toward
the car to resume the trip home. This was such a worthwhile detour!