Devil’s Millhopper

Scary SinkholeSometimes, I wonder what the first settlers of what’s now Gainesville, Florida, thought when they stumbled across Devil’s Millhopper. I imagine they were strolling through the woods, minding their own business when suddenly – bam! The nice, flat land gave way to this gaping maw in the ground stretching 500 feet across and 120 feet deep. It must have been startling. One minute there was serene woods and the next a giant hole leading into the netherworld.

The setting for Devil’s Millhopper is beautiful and lush. There are ferns, pine trees, needle palms, and oaks. There’s the constant sound of birds chirping and the echo of water flowing from the rim to the bottom of the sink. And in the midst of all this peaceful beauty, there’s this feeling that you’ve stepped into something otherworldly.

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San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

San Felasco 9Over the decade plus that I’ve lived outside of Florida, I’ve learned that most people associate my home state with sunshine and beaches, Disney and golf. Few and far between are people who know anything about the northernmost parts of the state and even fewer who have visited the city I call home.

When I think of Florida, I think of Gainesville. I think of Florida football, the 34th street wall, the Hippodrome, the spring arts festival, Paige Beck, Publix, the music scene, and nature.

So much nature.

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