Thursday, February 6, 2014

Exploring Tomoka State Park

This past weekend we went camping at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, Florida.  It was cloudy, rainy, damp and chilly; the sun never came out and the temperatures barely reached 60F degrees but we tried to make the most of our trip.

About Tomoka State Park
The 1,800-acre park, located along the Tomoka River, is home to Nocoroco, a Timucuan Indian village which was inhabited over 1,000 years  ago.  It was the first Native American village south of St. Augustine noted by Alvaro Mexia during his east coast expedition of 1605.

Today, the park protects a variety of wildlife habitats and endangered species, such as the West Indian manatee.  Tomoka State Park is part of The Great Florida Birding Trail since it is home to over 150 species of birds including the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier and the American White Ibis.


There's plenty to do at the park.  You can hike, view wildlife, camp, fish, canoe and kayak.  Tomoka State Park is also designated as a Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.

Park Adventures
We set up camp on Thursday afternoon and enjoyed Ma's cooking in the evening - Dutch Oven Lasagna cooked in the fire pit.  Yum. 


Friday was cloudy and cool, a perfect day for exploring the park.  We headed out from our campsite after breakfast and immediately came upon animal tracks in the road.  There were all kinds of tracks - deer, armadillo, raccoon and even bobcat! 


We made sure to check out the monument to Chief Tomokie, the head of the Timucuan tribe, who was killed over a golden cup.  Legend has it that Chief Tomokie haunts the park as a reddish mist.  We didn't see anything but it sure made for a spooky story around the campfire.


We walked and hiked through hardwood hammocks as well as along the shell-strewn river banks.  


We only took breaks a few times during our 5-mile adventure since it was nice and cool.  Daddy-dog had my water bowl for when I was thirsty and I knew Ma had a pocket full of Zuke's Power Bones so I could eat treats as we walked to keep my energy up. 


It Helps to Take a Civil Engineer Camping
Saturday's forecast was for rain, rain and more rain.  Despite this, Uncle Robbie was determined to go canoeing; Ma and Daddy-dog begged off for a walk around the 100-site campground instead.  So off everyone went on their separate adventures.

It wasn't too far into our walk when Mother Nature let loose with some rain; Ma, Daddy-dog and I ran for the cover of the restrooms.  Once there, Ma remembered that Uncle Robbie had left his tent windows open so we ran back to the campsite.  What we found was "A River Runs Through It"...ALL the runoff from the campground road was streaming through our campsite and right under our tents!  As if our camping trip could not get any soggier?!?

Then, it was Daddy-dog the Engineer to the rescue!  He found his little gardening spade and started building a little dam across the campsite.  Once the dam was up, he dug out canals through the campsite, directing the water to where HE wanted it to go...which was AROUND our tent, not under it.


Final Thoughts on Tomoka State Park
Tomoka State Park is a beautiful park located in Central Florida that protects both wildlife and a bit of Florida history.  On a sunny day, there is a lot to do and see within the park.  However, if you are tent camping, I would stay away from campsite # 5 (unless you are an engineer or in water management) as the site seems to be the water retention area for the whole campground.

What new places will you be exploring?  
Do you need treats for your next adventure? 
Follow the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win all three flavors of Zuke's Power Bones.  Giveaway ends February 14th.  Comment and Tweet daily for more chances to win!

*High Paws* to Zuke's for providing the giveaway prizes 
and for Fueling My Outdoor Adventures in Tomoka State Park!


69 comments:

  1. Clever daddy to the rescue. Sorry it was such a soggy break. Maybe you can go again during the Summer. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Yes, Daddy-dog was the hero Molly! Thank dogness.

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  2. I would take Zuke's Power Bars out hiking, too, provided the weather ever lets up enough for us to go again! *grumble* This is usually one of our best times of year to hike, but we can't catch a break this year. I am SO glad you took us along on your adventure!


    Bunny

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    1. I sure hope the weather clears for you soon, Bunny. I know how much you all love to go hiking!

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  3. That sounds like a great place to go camping if the weather's better, good post I like reading about new places even though I will never get there.

    Sheba.

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    1. Maybe next time the weather will be better. *paws crossed*

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  4. WOW, you guys are doing what Dad & Mom loves to do, OMD the Lasagna looks wonderful. The Dad comes through to save the day, a dam and river channels how awesome. Hummmm, never tried any of Zukes stuff, Moms not sure she has even see it here!

    The Mad Scots

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    1. Camping is so fun! Daddy-dog was the hero, for sure. Zuke's are sold in smaller stores; not sure what you have around by you.

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  5. Wow, you sure were lucky to have DaddyDog there with you! We NEVER would've thought of the dam and canals. I'd love to go camping with you sometime.

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  6. What a great place to visit. We would love to camp, but Lady won't do it. She says she has done enough camping in her life.

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    1. Tell her she can never do enough camping! She could rent an RV and take you all over the place!

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  7. Oh Oz that was great to see you at the camp ground. I dream about to sleep in a tent ( and to eat such a tasty lasagne). Sadly my staff is to lazy to go camping with me and yeah our tent is more a joke. But I hope this summer we really go camping.

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    1. Easy, I hope you get to go camping! I know you would love it, pal.

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  8. Yikes with the "river"! The park sounds lovely, though!

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    1. It is a lovely park but the river was a bit much! BOL

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  9. Camping looks fun. We'd love to go camping with our treats, but not many dog friendly sites around here. We will probably have them watching our sports with Dad.

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    1. Well, watching sports is an adventure too!

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  10. What a cool camping trip. I love exploring new places
    Lily

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  11. Sitting here in the 18 degrees temps it is hard to imagine going camping. That sounds like a great place though and it must of been a bit chilly as you had a coat on.

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    1. The real chill was at night. It was hard to leave the campfire for the coolness of the tent.

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  12. Hey Oz...what fun that was. Mom would love to explore the Florida Birding trail.
    You and your mom have the most fun
    Hugs madi your bfff

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    1. I bet you would love to explore the Florida Birding trail too, Madi!

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  13. Sounds like a great camping trip. Did you see a bunch of birds. 150 species is a lot of species.

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    1. I would take my zukes out training and to hunt tests.

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  14. Engineers are the coolest (I should know because I'm a Civil Eng as well!)!!! Looked like a really neat place to camp and check out. Would have loved seeing a bald eagle.
    ~Rebecca & Teach

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    1. You're a Civil Engineer too?!? Cool! I bet you would've built canals just like Daddy-dog!

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  15. Oh Oz your Dad is so smart!!! I never would have thought of that! BTW my Mom has always been addicted to Little House on the Prairie and wild west shows where they cook in cast iron pots over REAL fire! Mom was going nuts wanting to taste your lasagna! That looked heavenly! Barks and licks and love, Dakota PS: LOVED THIS POST!

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    1. OMD, Dakota! Ma made this lasagna in the cast iron, then she made some pawesome German-style pork chops with a white wine/mushroom sauce in the cast iron and the last night she made cheesy potatoes in the cast iron. Your mom would be in heaven...it was all so delicious!

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  16. You sure get to see some mighty interesting places Oz!

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  17. We had the same soggy tent problem one time when I was much younger. The whole bottom of our tent was wet, it was horrible, but I can't remember what I did about it. LOL

    Glad you had a good time. We would take our Zukes on any of our hikes!

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  18. I'd take it on my next trip...maybe to SOCAL! I could have used it when I was at Yosemite though!

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    1. Your heading to SOCAL?!? No way! You are a lucky dawg, Ruckus.

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  19. What a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat adventure! Dat Dutch Oven Lasagna looks super yummy. I don't understand why you didn't help Dad dig the trench. I love to dig. I wish my Mom would take me camping.
    Wags,
    RAnger

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    1. I didn't help Daddy dig because it was still raining...and I don't like to get wet. BOL I wish your mom could take you camping too, Ranger!

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  20. When I read the first lines of this post, I confess I was jealous: almost 60 degrees (it is 5 degrees here right now) and camping! By the end... with all that rain... my jealousy kind of faded ;-) So glad that red mist didn't gitcha, Oz!

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    1. Yeah, the rain was a bummer Miss Sue. I hope we have better luck next time!

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  21. (not sure if this giveaway is worldwide or US only but i'm entering)
    So I would take my zukes with me when I train my dogs to pull a sled! When energy is most needed lol
    Looks like you had a wonderful time!!!! I LOVE camping and hope to get out and do some this summer.
    ((husky hugz))
    Frum da pack at Love is being owned by a husky

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    1. Train your dogs to pull a sled?! How cool is that???

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  22. BRAVO to your DAD fur puttin his super skills to SUPER USE... We are giving him an A+.
    AND another A+ goes to your MOM for that FANGTASTIC SUPPER...

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    1. Woof-hoo!! You would've had a blast with us, boys!

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  23. Funny, it was about 60 degrees colder at my house with snow, but thinking about 60 plus with rain makes us feel cold. We aren't much for that wet kind of chilly stuff. We would have packed up and gone home. Good for you holding out all weekend!

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    1. Yeah, 50-60F with rain is not fun at all; the rain makes it feel colder because of all the dampness. We are troopers though. BOL

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  24. Looks fun! I'd take the Zuke's to the beach. :)
    Nola

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    1. Zuke's at the beach sounds like a great plan!

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  25. I haven't been camping in a long time! I don't think my boys have ever been. If we ever do go though, we'd be sure to take some Zuke's with us!

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    1. Oh, you gotta get camping again...and take some Zuke's with you, of course.

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  26. Looks like a fun trip! I'd probably take dem under my bed, BOL BOL!

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    1. BOL! Now that sounds like an odd adventure.

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  27. HI Oz
    Looks like a great place to go for a camping trip with your humans and your dad was very clever to rescue you all from all that water. Milo & Jet

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  28. Wow Oz, you are a professional camper!! What wonderful adventures you dad, thanks for sharing them!!
    Smileys!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

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  29. Sounds like quite an adventure! Great idea with the water run-off. I think I would have packed up and gone home at that point. BTW, I love dutch oven cooking. It never occurred to me to make lasagna in one. I'm hungry now... gotta go! :)

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    1. Ma is loving finding recipes for the Dutch oven! You should try the lasagna.

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  30. That was quite an adventure! Good thing daddy saved the tents from being under water.

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  31. Too bad about the rain, good thing you have a smart daddy dog. That lasagna looks yummy!! Did you get a noodle?
    Hugs,
    Pepper

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  32. The most exotic place we get to go is just for a walk around the neighborhood. But I'm hoping some time this year well be able to go to a local forest preserve. Can always use yummy treats when doing stuff like that.

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  33. Looks like a great adventure despite the rain. Hope you got to roll in some deer poo! Love Dolly

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  34. Out hiking and when we go play in the snow. Mr. N has to "wade" through the snow at this point.

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  35. I've been looking forward to your camping pics .... but they are a little soggier than I hoped - sorry for all that rain Oz. Lucky your Pa is a water engineer!!

    Tail Wuggles, Rubie xxx

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  36. Shame about the weather, but well done to your daddy for his quick thinking

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  37. I would take them on the hiking trips and agility fun trials with my dog.

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  38. It sounds like a fabulous place, except maybe in the rain. Glad you found a way to divert the water. I am taking note of campsite #5. :)

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  39. Yikes…..sorree it ave not been better weever fur yoo Oz my pal….I ope yoo was keeping eyes peeled for gators an wotnot

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Cairn cuddles,
Oz the Terrier