Florida County Hwy 65 runs from the interstate south through Hosford, FL through Apalachicola National Forest and dead ends on Hwy 98 on the coast in Carrabelle. It’s 54.7 miles from Hosford to Carabelle. While driving down this highway, there are no cities, there are no dollar stores or gas stations or any other store. And there is certainly no cell phone signal.
I imagine that this is what the early settlers found in Florida, and the sheer volume of wildflowers is what gave Florida its name: “land of flowers.” The Apalachicola forest is a mix of slash and longleaf pine forest. The longleaf pine forests once stretched unhindered across the southern US. After the civil war, thousands of acres of longleaf were clear cut, and lower maintenance slash pine was replanted in its place.
I believe this is shash pine (but I could be wrong): The bark plates were large and more orange-brown.
This might be longleaf:
This picture was taken a little farther into the forest. Notice that the trees are spaced farther apart and appear to have survived fire. Fire is an integral part of the longleaf ecosystem and one reason that other species of pine were preferred.
The railroad also runs through the forest along hwy 65:
I don’t think that this railroad is currently in use. It goes all the way to Carribelle. I would have like to ride the train through this evergreen wonderland.
As the sun set, the trees glowed:
I’ll be back to experience wild Florida another day.