Cary State Forest

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My buddy and I were itching to get away even if only for an overnighter. Unfortunately the other guys had to bail so we headed out on our own. We got a late start since I had a prior engagement and we didn’t get to the campsite until about 9pm. The beauty of Cary is that there are only three sites and I’m pretty sure we had the place to ourselves.

Cary boasts over 13,000 acres of land with a variety of activities including hiking, primitive camping, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, environmental education and hunting. There is also a very nice educational pavilion that is rented to the public.

I actually arrived first and after picking my trees got started on the fire. I’d brought about a 1/2 truck load (I have a small truck) of blackjack oak and hickory to get us through the night. I’m quite pleased with my fire making skills this weekend. It took one Vaseline-coated cotton ball and a single strike from my firesteel to build a beautiful fire.

My Awesome Fire

Once the fire was going well by itself we both got busy setting up our hammocks. The site was huge and we had a great selection of trees to choose from. The temperature was warmer than the forecast low of 57 but the fire still came in handy for keeping the slight chill away especially as the night gave way to morning. We ended up staying up talking until 3am before we finally wised up and turned in.

Sometime in the morning while we were still crashed hard a family with some noisy kids showed up. Fortunately we were able to sleep through most of it. I know I woke up a few times but it wasn’t too bad. We finally got up around 10 and I dove into breakfast after getting the fire going again. I was starving and it felt great to heat up the mountain man breakfast, fry some Spam, and fix some coffee. Following breakfast we sat around the fire talking some more and pulled our tarps down to expose our hammocks. The skies were overcast but the sun was trying to break through.

My Awesome Setup

It didn’t take long before our hammocks were gently calling to us. Like sailors drawn to the Siren’s call we soon found ourselves laying down again. I tried hard (ok, not really) to simply enjoy the view and stillness of the forest (in between the kids’ ruckus) but I couldn’t fight it.

My Awesome View

After a nice nap we got up, finished packing, and headed back to the real world. If you’re every looking for a nice getaway in the Jacksonville area be sure to check out this state forest!


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