#tbt Torreya, and a love story

#tbt: It's Throwback Thursday, y'all. All the kids are doing it.

Do you want to hear how all this came to be? Or at least the abbreviated version? Sure you do.

It all started about a year and a half ago. I was fresh out of a LTR that had made me pretty miserable, and I had very little interest in going steady with anyone. I was living it up as a single lady, enjoying the perks (lots of dates) and pitfalls (mostly dates with idiots).  Travis and I started going on dates after I complained to him about the dearth of dateable boys in Tallahassee. He started coming up from Gainesville and taking me on fun dates. Canoe dates. Bike dates. Hike dates.

However, the only commitment I was ready to make was a commitment to the single life. Dates were fine, but things happen to a girl when her heart gets broken and everything she imagined for her future didn’t turn out as she planned. Despite the obvious boyfriend material, Travis and I remained unofficial.

We made plans to visit Torreya State Park Valentines Days weekend 2013. This park is seriously one of North Florida’s treasures. The Apalachicola River marks its western boundary, and within it live species of plants that only exist in that region. Like the endangered Torreya Tree-- there are 200 of these dudes in existence! And they exist 60 miles west of Tallahassee!

Well not surprisingly, a day trip to the park that some Baptists believe was the Garden of Eden turned out to be pretty magical.

The woods in this area are so strange, so different from the planted longleaf pine forests that surround Tallahassee after the logging companies wiped out the old growth forests. This is Upland Hardwood Forest territory, and instead of the ubiquitous longleaf pine, magnolia and beech trees are the predominant canopy species. The Apalachicola River cuts out bluffs that are 200 feet tall. Limestone boulders jut out through the hills, pockmarked with smooth holes where erosion has left its mark. The land slopes down toward the river, leaving you hopping over sections of flooded trail where the river floods up into the swamp. Tupelo trees and bald cypress spread out their buttressed trunks like graceful shoulders supporting a very long neck.

And I didn’t have to enjoy this beauty alone. I was taking it all in with someone who was cracking jokes the whole time and making me laugh. We had to take an ID break to make sure the gelatinous mushrooms we were picking were in fact woodears. We both stopped every 15 feet to take a guess which wildflower was blooming on the side of the trail. We were both totally impressed with the landscape around us and having fun with each other.

We drove back into town and I realized it was Valentines Day I was in love.


And honestly, how could I refuse a man who my cats had accepted with such enthusiasm?