Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Cache Hunt - Camp Helen State Park

Once we logged the 2 micros in Panama City we drove back over Philip's Inlet Bridge to Camp Helen State Park.

This is an incredible park!

There is a wonderful Visitor's Center filled with information on the history of the property as well as artifacts found there.

They have a huge Horseshoe Crab in a display case that is really cool.

I used to find those crabs in St. Joe Bay in Port St. Joe when I was a kid but I haven't seen one in years.

This area is also filled with Indian middens and they have quite a few artifacts inside the Center that have been recovered from the park.

The property was once owned by the Avondale Textile Company and was used as a retreat for their employees. There is a large log lodge there as well as several smaller log cabins.



They have a wonderful host who sits in the main lodge and is a wealth of information about the history of the property.

She showed us old pictures of the way "it used to be" and allowed us to wander around inside the lodge.

The craftsmanship from those times is incredible. There are large stone fireplaces in every room and all sorts of nooks and crannys were built in.

The host told us that the lodge is still used for weddings and conventions.

Along the front of the lodge is a huge porch overlooking Lake Powell. There are lots of rocking chairs and I can't wait to go back and sit and rock a spell.

The smaller cabins are closed to the public at this time and I'm not sure if they are planning to open them or not. They would make great cabins for camping.



The first cache in the park is a Virtual Cache now and requires you to find out what year the Avondale Textile Company purchased the property. We found that information inside the Visitor's Center.

That was cache #99 and now we were off to find #100.

Paw-Paw's Paradise Cache is located about 2/10 of a mile down a beautiful hiking path leading into the woods.

We hiked through beautiful old oak and cypress trees on a well defined path and finally reached ground zero. The coordinates took us to a clearing just off the main path and then the hunt was on.

The sky started getting dark and we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance so we decided we needed to hurry a little to find the cache and make it back to the car before the rain came.

It took some hunting and the Island King finally made the find.

It's amazing how well hidden a container can be - even if you know where to look.

We signed the log and took a Gingerbread Man Geocoin and left a pirate keychain.

The storm was getting closer so after rehiding the cache we took a quick picture and headed for the car.



We made it back to the car just in time! Within minutes of loading everything into the car the bottom fell out and we got some much needed rain.

We had planned on spending some time walking the trail that leads down to the Gulf but since we were rained out we'll have to come back and spend another day exploring more of the trails and the beach.

It was really a fantastic Mother's Day - too bad we can't do this everyday!
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