Panhandle, Day 4

Thursday, Oct 11

After breakfast, we leave Wakulla Springs Lodge and head towards Torreya State Park. About 1 mile north of Bristol on SR 270, we come across a sign for the Garden of Eden Trail in the Nature Conservancy Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve. I had heard a long time ago that someone claimed to have proof that the biblical Garden of Eden* was up here, near Torreya State Park. Couldn't pass up a chance to visit the original Garden of Eden, so we pull in to take a look. The trail starts out okay--through relatively flat scrubby terrain, but it soon enters thick woods and begins to descend rapidly. The trail is advertised as leading to magnificent views from the bluffs along the Apalachicola River. However, the fact that the trail is a 3.75-mile roundtrip, goes through a couple of steep ravines, and has roots and rock hazards for tripping up the novice hiker, causes us to give up after a short distance. We settle for shooting wildflowers along the trail through the sunny turkey oak woods.

Afterwards we drive on to Torreya State Park, where we picnic, see the rare Florida Torreya trees and visit the 1849 Gregory House, situated on a bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River and the forests beyond. We stop for the evening at the Comfort Inn in Marianna. Dinner at the Grotto Restaurant, near Florida Caverns State Park. Upscale food and good.

*Garden of Eden news article

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