Peace River Canoeing
The Arcadia KOA Campground is unlike other commercial campgrounds. Instead of small assigned sites, we were able to drive down a dirt road to a "primitive camping" area near the river, where we were not right on top of other campers...just us and the critters.
Armadillos favor the Arcadia KOA in abundance. These are primitive-looking animals with the peculiar habit of jumping straight up when startled. In fact, when Tom discovered the first one on Friday night, we're not sure which one of them jumped higher. Good thing armadillos don't scream!
Don and Harry joined us for this trip and we ate better than we ever have on one of our trips. Friday night they whipped up barbecued chicken, grilled butternut squash and roasted corn on the cob, with salad and dessert. Forget losing weight when you travel with these two. They have been known to make the acquaintance of a lone camper heating a can of beans with the line "Pardon me, but do you happen to have any sliced black olives?"
The river was lower then it was last year, so there was a lot of maneuvering around sand bars, but the ride was easy. David, who says he has never been canoeing before, paddled with such exhuberance that we passed most of the folks on the river. As we passed a "raft-up" of imbibing college students, they accused us of violating a "No Wake" area and making them look bad.
Since people tend to stop for breaks and meals, you pass people repeatedly on the river. Some folks leave an impression. We referred to one particularly noisy group as the "Loud Family". A class act all the way...Dad sang 50's hits off key at the top of his lungs, daughter with purple hair smoked and chewed gum at the same time. And they all yelled at each other constantly. Even Grandma yelled. We tried to avoid them.
We found a perfect large campsite near the halfway point. David and I staked it out by beaching our canoe and sitting on the bank, hoping for some of the others in the group to come along and help occupy it. Who came along? The Loud Family. Pulled up right on both sides of our canoe and announced that there was plenty of room for everyone. We pulled out just as Grandma was shouting her intent to set up camp "under the Willa trees" right next to our stuff.
The campsite we found down the river was even nicer, (and too small for more than one group). A small army of armadillos came out to greet us, evidently referred by the Arcadia Armadillo Hotline. That evening a large Florida Owl flew down into a tree a few feet from the campsite and posed for us as a beautiful half moon shone down from a cloudless sky.
We dished our leftover "vegetable medley" onto the ground near the river as an offering to the armadillos. The next morning we discovered huge tracks in the mud out of the river to the remains of the leftovers. The critter ate everything but the string beans!
We arrived back at the cars in the early afternoon, with just enough Peace until next year.