Only three hours northwest of Orlando is a little coastal town called Steinhatchee. Steinhatchee Conservation Area is home to the widest waterfall in all of Florida! After a long car ride of podcasts and 70s music history, we pulled into a grass parking area with a dust covered trail map. We each grabbed a bottle of water and set out into the Florida woods on a trail that had been long forgotten by the local adventurers. Thankfully we left Bongo at home because the grass growing in the trail was up to our knees in most places. How have people not traversed this trail? Don’t they know the state’s widest waterfall is just a few short miles ahead?
Anyway, adventurer Nick took the lead and wacked the spider webs and low branches out of the way like any good gentleman would do. (Sans the few branches that got smacked into my face.) We laughed and chatted as we traversed the miles along this flat Florida terrain. Nick is quite the ornithologist and shared many fascinating bird facts as we saw and heard some of the locals chirp.
Being October in Florida, the average temperatures are still in the mid-80s so we welcomed the sound of the waterfall as we got closer. After much sweat and a few detours along the way, we made it! Look at the width on that thing! Right there, in the photo! The photo, right over there. No? You don’t see it? We just spent an hour hiking in the Florida sun to bring you this photo and you can’t see it? Go on, zoom in. It’s by Nick’s right elbow. Yes, that’s a waterfall! The widest waterfall in the state! Didn’t you read the title? It counts because the water drops. It may only be inches, but it drops so they call it a waterfall. I just asked Alexa to define waterfall and she says it’s “a steep decent of the water of a river.” Steep is clearly relative. But we made it. We took off our shoes, stuck our toes in the fresh Florida water and reveled in our hiking accomplishment! This reveling was rudely interrupted by a woman and her dogs running about.
We took this as a hint to start our trek back to the car! Down the service road we went. The trail was a so overgrown in places that we lost our way getting to the falls so we took the direct route most of the way back. (I had some open gashes on my ankles from our ice skating date the week before so I was thankful to be out of the trail of prickers!)
Once these two thirsty adventurers were back to the Fiesta, we headed straight off to lunch to refuel and hydrate! Nick loves his research so he had picked out the perfect spot on the coast for us to dine. We go there to find an empty parking lot and a “Closed for Construction” sign. “Oh no,” grumbled our hungry tummies! Let me tell you, Steinhatchee isn’t a hopping town with eateries all around. One restaurant was a rare find but what is a good adventure if it doesn’t have a few surprises?! The Google guided us down the road to a quaint establishment that looked like someone’s home with a big old “come on in” sign on it. So we did just that, headed in! The best table in the house was ours…. Because they were all available. Not a soul to be found… we waited a few minutes and eventually walked back to where we heard sound. Saw a few folks preparing some stuffed peppers in the kitchen but not once did anyone notice us. Weird. So back to the car we went. Third time is the charm the say and the third time was charming in deed. Nestled in this sleepy Florida town was a gem of a spot with an early bird special calling our names.
Old family photos lined the wood paneling and a big smiling “hey y’all” greeted us at the door. After we were seated at a table for two by the water, we chugged a few waters each! Prime rib with all the fixings disappeared as fast as it was put in front of us all with some friendly conversation with the longtime local waitress.
Before we settled back into the car for the long journey home, we stretched our legs with a stroll along the neighboring docks. While we didn’t spot any manatees this day, we enjoyed waving as the boater’s coasted on by. Another spectacular day of wandering for the books.
Remember – adventure is always out there!