Falling Waters State Park, Chipley, Florida

We were on our way early enough from White Springs, Florida, and headed for Falling Waters State Park yesterday, officially on the Florida panhandle. Along the way we met an old friend...central time...that we hadn't seen since last September.

That meant that we gained an hour in time, and that meant that we arrived at the park just after lunch time.

We had our lunch and our naps and then headed out for the one reason to visit this park.

We were the only car in the parking lot, and we headed off down this trail toward the waterfall.

Along the way, we learned a little bit about the area.

And then about why the waterfall here is unique.

To see the waterfall, we climbed up and over a series of boardwalk steps.

And then down to a viewing platform. As we descended the steps, the temperature dropped by at least five degrees. It was very cool down there. I can imagine it is a welcome respite on a hot summer's day.

From there, we could look down into the sinkhole and get an up close and personal view of the waterfall. There is just a trickle of water over the falls, but at other times of the year, there's a more robust flow of water.

Looking down, we could see the depth of the sinkhole.

This sign was posted there discussing that, because it flows into the sinkhole, this is the highest waterfall in Florida.

Also on the platform was this sign. (Remember that you can make the image larger by clicking on it.)

In essence, it invited me to take a series of pictures and then post them online as a part of an experiment. Well, you know I'll always bite on something like that. I took my series of 9 pictures and then posted them just before writing this post. When finished, it thanked me for being a "Citizen Scientist." Kind of makes you want to treat me with more respect, doesn't it? You can see my pictures right here. You can scroll through the set by clicking on the directional buttons just above the first image. To see other pictures taken by other folks (beginning in 2015), click right here. It's kind of interesting to see how differently they look depending on the date and time of day.

From there, we headed back the way we came. We passed sinkholes all along the boardwalk trail.

We thought we might be able to see the lake by heading up this portion of the trail. When we arrived at the top, it became clear that this was going to be a longer hike, and daylight was waning.

We decided to head back. Along the way we noticed sinkholes on both sides of the trail and some huge magnolia trees.

We'd hoped to hike the sinkhole portion of the boardwalk, but found it boarded up and closed off. We briefly considered climbing over the blockade, but then realized it was going to require us climbing over more blockades every couple of feet.

There was no indication why it was closed off, but we had in mind a story from back in 2013 when a Florida man was swallowed up by a sinkhole that opened under his house.  And we were sort of not up for that, so we decided to play it safe.

On the walk back to the parking lot, we marveled at the number of trees here...growing thick as the hair on a dog's back, as my dear father-in-law liked to say. There are areas of timber harvest on both sides of the park, and we believe these trees may be planned for harvest as well.

The waning sunlight cast a golden glow, and it was pretty.

And that was pretty much the end of our day.

As I write this post, it's raining pretty hard outside, as it has been all night long. We thought we might get in a lake hike today, and we're promised clearing skies around noon. If that happens, we'll hike. If not, we'll probably head out to the grocery store. We're only here in this park for two nights, and then we'll head back toward Tallahassee for more panhandle adventures. We have about another week in Florida before we head west toward Alabama and Mississippi. More about that in a few days.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Synthia said...

It's a good thing that you are where you are. My friend in Alabama wrote me they are having a terrible cold and ice storm. Schools are closed, etc. Hopefully it won't last too long.

WoolenSails said...

That looks like a fun walk and also scary and my thought exactly about the closed sections, guess they got swallowed up;) We are getting the rain all the way up the coast, so hopefully you will have a nice day tomorrow.


piecefulwendy said...

Well, probably a good thing you didn't go rogue and climb over the barriers. I'd had to learn that you two had been swallowed up. Yikes. My daughter and a few of her friends are going to the manatee festival today. She enjoyed your post, and is excited to go. I'll fill you in after I hear back from her. Enjoy the panhandle!

kc said...

That's a whole lotta steps! Hope your knee held up well during the visit.

Yes, yes, there are a lot of sinkholes in FL, and yes, the man's house did fall down one with him inside. It was very sad. His brother had to be restrained on site, and they could hear him calling for help for quite some time. It was very sad.

We got a little rain too - just at 1 inch, but at least it was relatively warm. We are due to get chilled again this weekend, then REALLY cold again mid-week. I am soooo ready for winter to be done, over with and outta here! Even TX is looking cold; time to start the search!!!

Travel safe..

quiltzyx said...

I am SO impressed to find out that you area Citizen Scientist! That's amazing!!