An Afternoon on the Eglin Reservation

After our frogging experience, the Island King and I wanted to go back up to the Shoal River and explore some during the day.

So even though it's hot as Hades outside we decided to skip the beach and ride up into the woods for the day.

The Eglin Reservation is a huge, amazing place and you never know what you'll find in there.

Like these old dog pens.

These pens are scattered through the still hunt areas on Eglin, most of them built at the corners of major intersections in the woods.

The pens were built to hold lost or runaway dogs found by hunters. Once a pack of hunting dogs is turned loose it's not uncommon for one or two to go off on their own and become separated from the pack.

If a hunter found a dog that wasn't his he'd put the dog in the nearest pen. If you'd lost a dog you knew to check the pens and see if he'd been found.

These old pens don't get used anymore because of GPS technology and most of them are starting to fall apart.

I might like to have one in my back yard though.

This old truck must have been pushed off to the side of the trail years ago.

We don't know what the truck was used for but it had a long pipe holding another long pipe mounted on the back.

Not far past the truck we came to Gin Hole Landing, a small boat ramp along the Shoal River.

Well, it's a boat ramp when we're not in the middle of a drought.

You wouldn't do so well if you tried to put a boat in here today.

I love to wander around the river banks when the river is low. The cypress stumps and sandbars that are normally underwater are all exposed and you can really see how beautiful it is - above and below the water.

We could hear what sounded like a waterfall off in the distance so we walked along the ledge until we found the source.

This is one of the many, crystal clear streams that run through Eglin and empty into the Shoal.

We sat down on a cypress stump and watched the water rushing into the river.

Normally, the river would be higher and this stream would just flow right in.

But that day, it was a little waterfall over some beautiful cypress roots.

We wandered farther along the river bank, amazed at how low the river was.

I love exploring the sloughs that cut up into the woods along the river's edge.

There is always so much driftwood up in them that I have trouble not backing the truck up and bringing it all home.

We stayed all afternoon, exploring and enjoying the woods.

We're truly blessed to have such a wonderful playground so close to home.