What's better than forgetting to take your car back to the mechanic the morning after an oil change because there's shit dripping all over your driveway? How about driving 200 miles to go see a big, lush, green, peaceful, beautiful, eye-poppingly gorgeous hole in the ground?
Yep, that IS better than forgetting to take your car back to the mechanic the morning after an oil change because there's shit dripping all over your driveway!
(and I did manage to make it back to Jacksonville 25 minutes before the mechanic closed up for the night)
My daughter had never been there before. Devil's Millhopper is located in Gainesville, Florida, and is a 120-foot deep sinkhole that leads down into one of the most peaceful spots I've ever found in Florida. And it's not like some of those other places, like Ginnie Springs, that lead you into and through the middle of nowhere after driving 20 miles east and 16 miles north on dirt roads. Nope, Devil's Millhopper is 1000 feet to the west of NW 43rd Avenue. There's a Starbucks just down the road.
All visitors are asked to use the honor system and pay $4.00 upon entry at the unmanned post. There's not much to this park. Seriously. You walk through a small visitors center and onto the trail. Go to the right to walk the nature trail or go to the left to walk down to the bottom of the sinkhole. Since I wore flip flops, our decision was made for us.
We walked down the steps. Lots and lots and lots of steps! Which aren't so bad on the way down. And it's a long way down. It's only discouraging when you hear a small boy scream from the top after a climb out of the sink, "Yeeees!! NO MORE STEPS!!" That's youthful energy talking and it's just plumb wore out. Of course, it's a beautiful view from the bottom but that little boy from way up there - he's still singing about how happy he is to not have to climb any more steps - well, that keeps you at the bottom of the sink for just a little longer. So rest up! Just as it's a long way down, it's an even longer way back up!
The day was uneventful, really. Elle loved Millhopper and became more excited with every new waterfall discovery. But the heat punched us in the face after a while and our stomachs began eating themselves. It was a 2-hour drive home and I decided to stop off at Publix to pick up something inexpensive for lunch.
We ended up dining outside in the car, parked under a tree with all four windows rolled down. Lunchables, baby. A few minutes later, we took off for home. On the way, Elle mentioned how she'd just had one of the best days ever.
Me: "So, what was your favorite part about today?"
Elle: "The waterfalls, the sinkhole, and being allowed to eat in the car!"
Being allowed to eat in the car? Really?
Wow. That just opened up a whole new world of ideas for "Fun Time With The Kid!"...you know, just park the kid in the car under a tree, roll the windows down, and throw some turkey, white american cheese, and hoagie bread at her.
Or take her for a walk in the woods...(whatever makes them smile, right?)