Monday, January 1, 2018

Home is Where the Heart Is, and a First-Day Hike

And sometimes when the time is right, God changes your heart when you least expect it...
I know for sure by faith that God led me here...
And placed me in a community of people of like-precious faith in a home that meets all my needs.
A community of people who spend their time in service to God, and showing kindness to everyone.
He provided for more than my needs, but surrounded me with people who share my interests for recreation too. 
Fun people with a sense of humor who love it here as much as I do.
My cup runneth over...

And so on the first day of the new year, 2018, I'm not worrying about where God is taking me, but I'm looking forward in faith to wherever it is. 

For the past few years I have enjoyed taking up this fitness challenge, averaging at least one hike a week during the year.
Each year on January 1st, most all state and national parks sponsor a "First Day guided hike." There were several around here, but I chose a relatively short easy one where I would learn some more history of this area around the Suwannee River.
It was a cold (40s) gray and misty morning. When I arrived the rangers were considering canceling the hike due to the weather. I was the only one who showed up.
Which turned out to be my good fortune because I had a personal guided tour and learned a lot of interesting history about the circa 1890s Allen Mill Pond and some little-known "secret" places. 
And the walk to the spring run was lovely. 
After the Civil War, the government opened lots of fertile land to homestead or buy cheap. This land had large groves of virgin pine timber. The land here was homesteaded by William H. Allen in 1870. After his marriage in 1876, his wife Mary joined him and they operated a grist mill along a spring run that flows into the Suwannee River.
Documentation of the location of the home was found in hand-written letters discovered in a trunk by a descendent in Alabama as well as family stories handed down.
Rangers may have located foundation stones in the woods somewhere to the left of this road, but the area has not yet been excavated by archaeologists. The location was close to the spring from which they got water while "shooing alligators away."
Approaching the spring run you can see damage left by Hurricane Irma this past summer. 
Mist rising from the spring run. 
It might be possible to kayak up this run from the river...for future reference. 
Lots of cypress knees. 
A little farther down the run is the site of the grist mill. There is some evidence that limestone was used to divert the water for use by the mill.
You can also see some ridges across the run which indicates another place where the flow was modified. 
 Another view of the mill site...
Joanna, my ranger guide grew up near here and spent many childhood days with her father fishing in the river. She is most enthusiastic about researching the history and sharing her knowledge. 
A twin cypress along the Suwannee River.
According to family letters and stories, the family was able to watch the river from the porch of the house and enjoyed seeing the riverboats coming down the river.
The boats always stopped there to bring supplies and/or trade for grits and corn meal from the grist mill. I did not get to hike to the mill pond which is used as a fishing hole these days. Next time. I did buy a state park pass while I was here as there are a lot of such places along the river to explore.
And so, whatever happens in 2018, I know it will be good:


  1. No one deserves this special place anymore than you do Liz. You fit their profile perfectly. Those of us who follow your blog hope you will pull yourself away long enough to travel often while knowing you have a special place to return to whenever you wish. Happy New Year.

  2. Love this blog post... and I'm sure glad the ranger did not cancel the hike

  3. Liz, you inspire us in so many ways. Thank you for continuing to teach & share your life with us. May you be showered with as many blessings as you are showering on others.
    Wishing you a joyous 2018!

  4. Great blog! Blessings in 2018!

  5. Thank you so much Liz for the great hike you shared with us. God is indeed good and he leads our feet along new paths every day. Enjoy your new surroundings.
    Kathy and 2 K