Volunteering at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

At the end of August we drove from Missouri to Camping World in St. Augustine, Florida where we had scheduled maintenance on the RV. 

Originally we were going to have the work done and then drive over to Gold Head State Park in Keystone Heights, Florida (near Gainesville) on September 1st, set up the RV, and then drive over to Amelia Island for a weekend of wedding festivities for Sarah and Caleb Hahn before going back to begin our volunteer assignment at the park. 

However, a couple of things interfered with those plans causing us to make some changes. First, Hurricane Hermine caused the park to be evacuated, and the other thing was that our RV windshield wipers malfunctioned. I guess the good thing is that they worked… but only on high speed. 

So, we took our chances, left the rig at Camping World, and drove the car to Amelia Island a day early! While we were at the wedding the RV manufacturer drop-shipped a wiper motor to Camping World and they had it installed and ready for us when we returned on the 5th of September. By then the park was ready for us, too. Oh, and thankfully we survived Hermine‼️

Okay, so we have been at Gold Head for three weeks now and I can tell you it is interesting here. Coming in we agreed to a camp host position that included some restroom cleaning and possibly light maintenance. What we got is a site that is nowhere near any of the campgrounds, though we are in the park. We have no contact with park visitors, of which there are very few. The park rangers and staff are friendly and very ‘southern’ in their speech and mannerisms (we have seen the Confederate flag on several occasions). The park itself is very clean and well maintained. There are a few lakes and a nice little beach, complete with a bathhouse, which we clean. In addition, we clean the restrooms at a large pavilion, the recreation center, and the group camp area. We leaf blow the pavement at these areas, as well as the stairway to the ravine, the old mill site, the primitive camping area, and the ranger station. We empty trash at those locations and pick up litter within the park and along State Road 21 near the park entrance. By the way, every time I put on my orange safety vest and pick up litter along the roadside I feel like I’m on the work release program 😳

On the upside… We are thrilled to contribute our services to this gem of a park, and I know that we have added to the overall cleanliness of the park. We have a lovely RV site with lots of room for all our stuff (i.e., screen room, chairs, hot air ballon, pink flamingo, etc.). We are getting plenty of good exercise by working 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. And finally, since there is so little traffic and it’s relatively flat here, the road is a great place for riding our bicycles. 

As usual, we miss family, but we try to stay connected in other ways. We have managed to ‘virtually’ watch Alan’s football games, and thanks to YouTube, we actually watched his homecoming game on the iPad in real time! Also, I’m happy to say that thanks to Kimberly, I will be making a weeklong visit home in early October while Ken covers our volunteer responsibilities here. 

Speaking of here… we will finish up at Gold Head and drive down to Ormond Beach on the 18th of November to meet up with Cori, Andy, Logan, Jordan, and Alan. We are going to hang out in Daytona Beach and Ponce Inlet with Laurie and Mark over Thanksgiving week and we can’t wait for all the fun Laurie is planning! 

Ken and I will stay on there until December 26th and then move up to Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge where we are scheduled to be volunteers in their visitor center from January-May 2017, but I don’t want to go into all of that now, so I’ll end here.

Thanks so much for tuning in yet again to see what we are up to. It’s so great to share this adventure with all of you, and as usual, I will attach plenty of photos of these last few weeks.

Our best to you,

Dorothy & Ken

PS. Register to vote!

Turkeys
Longleaf Pine – one of the types of dominant vegetation of this Sandhill ecosystem

Sandhill Cranes
Beauty Berry
Pocket Gopher mounds

Gopher Tortoise

7 Comments

    1. So good to hear from you! Sevilleta looks interesting. I think the location will be a great spot for fall. How long will you be there? You know how excited we are looking forward to seeing you guys next year?!

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  1. I LOVE your postsπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Š
    I admire you both for taking this adventure together!
    Keep em coming. I can’t wait to have a full week and more with the Chazens and Alan and YOU❌❌❌

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  2. Hi Maupins!!
    We still hope to see you guys in Florida, our plans are to arrive at our place in Port St. Lucie around Oct. 11 and return home for the holidays around Nov. 20th, by car then back down after Christmas. We are less than an hour from Okeefenokee, I actually have a 1st cousin we go visit there. So we will be in touch!!

    Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dorothy, well I’m a goofball, we are not near Okeefenokee, we are near Ochechobee! They sound so similar!! Anyway I’m sure our paths will cross sooner than later!

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