conecuh national forest & new orleans 

We traveled up from the Gulf Coast of Florida, towards Conecuh National Forest. We had picked there to stop as a way to stretch our legs between Florida and New Orleans. It’s a small protected area just north of the Florida panhandle in Alabama. Plus, I’ve never been to Alabama before- so even more reason to stop!

We crossed into the central time zone, moved our clock back, and made it into the park in time for dinner. We didn’t think it would be that busy, but we were surprised to find that we took the last spot in the car camping loop.The next day we had planned to hike the twenty mile Conecuh Trail, which we had read was a loop. Once we obtained a better map at the park we realized it really wasn’t a loop, so we pieced together a few trails to minimize backtracking and loop us back around eventually. The jewel of the park was supposedly crystal clear Blue Springs, so we’re excited to see it and take a swim. Comically, we found it- but it took us awhile to realize it. Yes, it was clear, but it also looked much like nearby Alligator Pond (where there is no swimming due to said alligators). We ended up making a unintentional two mile loop around the springs, until we surprised ourselves and ended up back where we started at the bridge (below) and saw a man now bathing in the spring. We laughed, and decided to give him his space and continued on.Not all was lost, we still managed to get about 17 miles in through green forest, and saw a few turtles along the way.We returned to our campsite for a delicious Indian dinner. We like the Tasty Bite Indian meals. We ate them cold on the PCT, and this was the first time we had had one hot (and in case there was any doubt, they are so much better hot!). We retired to the tent early (being on the far eastern side of the time zone meant the sunset was at 5:07pm), and enjoyed a peaceful night.From Conecuh National Forest we made the relatively short (4 hour) drive to New Orleans in time for po’ boys for lunch. I’d never been to Mississippi or Louisiana, so it was fun to be able to cross two states off my list! We spent the afternoon playing tourist, walking around the French Quarter. We tried the famous beignets at Cafe du Monde, and they were delicious as expected. We found a nice wine bar with a jazz pianist for dinner to round out the day.