For Ryan’s birthday we headed an hour and a half outside of Tallahassee to Chipley, Fla. We visited the Seacrest Wolf Preserve. They’re one of the biggest wolf preservations in the United States. They have grey wolves, British Columbia wolves, and Arctic wolves. We were able to walk right into the wolves’ habitat. The preserve staff socialize the wolves, so they’ll come right up to you. I have to admit, before this trip, I didn’t know a thing about wolves. It was really an amazing and educational tour. And the best part…we got to play with wolf puppies!
We weren’t allowed to take digital cameras into the actual wolf habitat, but we could take as many as we wanted with the pups.
That one puppy was so tired, but it didn’t stop me from cuddling it.
The Seacrest Wolf preserve really does a great thing trying to protect these amazing creatures. If you’re in the Tallahassee area, it’s definitely a trip you have to take.
My air conditioner broke and I caught my first glimpse of fireflies, which confirms summer is upon us. To combat the heat, I’ve been running on some trails. My friend Adrienne and I took a trip down the Fern Trail [.pdf], which is close to my house. I brought my iPhone to snap some photos of the trail.
Then later that week a group of us went out to the Leon Sinks for a hike with the Florida Trail Association. It was pretty hot outside, but the trail is mostly shady. The area has wet and dry sinkholes. It’s the longest underwater cave system in the United States.
The next day we took a paddle down the Wacissa River. I risked my camera to grab some photos.
For $20 you can rent a kayak. It was a gorgeous day.
Last time I paddled the river, I saw tons of alligators. I think there were too many people on the river today, because I didn’t see any, which was great, because we were ready to go swimming.
The water was beautiful, but freezing.
This is Cassidy Spring. That person in the kayak is my boyfriend. You can dive into that deep hole and swim through an opening within the rocks and come out the other side. My friend and I spent a great deal of time trying to do this. It was pretty challenging because the opening in the rock is a couple of feet deep and the spring water pushes you up. Yes it was dangerous and stupid, but it allowed for ten minutes of bragging rights, so it was worth it.
The famous spring off of the Wacissa is Big Blue. It’s about 70 feet wide and 45 feet deep. I forgot to take a picture, but it’s a beautiful spring and a photo wouldn’t have done it justice.
I’ve become such a junkie for all things outdoors. I can’t get over how beautiful and verdant Tallahassee is during this time of year. Even the drenching humidity, heat, and summer thunderstorms can’t keep me away.
My friends and I went to Wakulla Springs State Park this weekend to cool off by the springs.
The Wakulla Springs are old, like Saber-Tooth old. They were home to our prehistoric ancestors. I’m fascinated that I have a chance to swim in the same waters they did
and walk in the same forests.
These days, I’m falling deeply in love with North Florida. It’s going to be a hard place to leave.
On Sunday, I continued with my equestrian lessons. So here are some gratuitous photos of that. These are the only photos where I don’t have a terrified look on my face, so I’m posting ’em!
I am having a blast at these lessons. I never grew out of my childhood “horse phase.”
Ok, so I sort of look like I’m about to fall off in this picture. I’m getting more comfortable and much faster. I can’t wait to start jumping over things.
And I love this horse. He’s such a sweetie!
Sigh. Why did our weekend in Apalachicola have to end? My friends and I rented a condo by the bay and spent most of our time
inebriated reveling in the charm of this ‘old Florida town.’
Why do sleepovers disappear once we grow up? Waking up next to my friends is the best, and not just because of their morning cocktail skills, but because they remember to buy pickled green bean stirrers.
I made my favorite banana pancake recipe for them. <3
Our condo came with bikes, so naturally we took to the town (which couldn’t have been larger than a square mile).
Apalachicola has a large art scene. There are quite a few galleries and displays of local artists are everywhere. My favorite were the garden decor and sculptures.
This town had, you know…priorities.
And so did we. I had my first push pop.
Bought these awesome under-the-sea sprinkles!
And made sure to take plenty of photos with tacky 90’s girl-power bumper stickers.
I love the coconut candle display in the background.
Ryan and I took a trip outside of town at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to pick some blueberries. We got a little turned around, and when I saw these lovely fellas sitting by the side of the road I made him stop so we could
ask them for directions, pet them!, take photos.
I’m such a dopey animal lover. I love that their noses are covered in dirt. Also, hello, baby!
We made it to the farm where we started picking. They were $3.50 a pound. What a steal.
The under-ripe berries had the prettiest colors.
It was a pesticide-free farm, so we had a few little creatures join
I thoroughly inspected each berry before I bit into it.
In the end, we walked out with about 5 lbs of berries. Maybe we went a little overboard. We’ve been eating them like candy and trying to find creative ways to use them. We’re hoping we don’t have to freeze them.
So I made this cobbler.
I used this recipe, which I don’t recommend. It was way too buttery and less crumbly. Later this week I’m making blueberry jam. I also plan to dehydrate some, since dehydrated blueberries are the best. Do you have any suggestions for blueberries?
Tallahassee makes you a foodie. We have all sorts of ethnic food festivals. This weekend was the Jewish food fest. I haven’t had much Jewish food. I think the only thing I can recall is a latke my bestie gave me in tenth grade. It was really hard to eat vegetarian, but we did spot some of these.
Falafel pitas. Although these were particularly tasty, I’ve had them before so walked over to other vendors asking “is there meat in this?”
Potato knish. Comfort food wrapped in a roll of bread.
Of course, everything in the bakery was veg.
Hamantashen and Mandlebrot cookies. They were out of cheesecake and strudel when we got there.
If anyone has a recipe for vegetarian matzo ball soup, I’d love to have a go at it.