Our stay at Topsail Hill SP wasn’t all about eating out and doing errands! Topsail offers several bike/walking trails and every day weather permitting, we would go biking. On some days it was just a quick spin around the park. Other days we would pedal down the tram road to the beach on this section of the beautiful Emerald Coast (generally free of “spring breakers” by the way) where we would take a long walk along the glistening, sugary white sand.
Have you ever wondered about sand before? Why some is so white and some isn’t? Why some is coarse while other sand is very powdery or like sugar? Walking along the beach at Topsail, our curiosity was piqued especially by the fact that it would “squeak” or “bark” as we shuffled our feet. Barefoot or not, the sand talked to us! Never have had that happen in New England!
Unlike the sand in New England which has tiny fragments of shell mixed in with the quartz crystals, causing the sand to appear brown or tan in color, the sand in northwest Florida is nearly pure quartz, resulting in soft, fluffy sand with a sugary texture that is a pleasure to walk on. And although we didn’t have hot weather, it is said that the Emerald Coast beach sand tends not to burn your feet!
Although the “squeaking” or “barking” is not totally understood scientifically it appears that there are several conditions which causes this phenomena – the sand grains have to be almost perfectly spherical, between .1 and .5 mm in diameter, contain silica (quartz), and need to be at a certain humidity. The sand must also be free of dust, pollution, and organic-matter. It is believed that the “singing” sound is produced as each layer of sand grains slide in unison over the layer beneath it. The type of sound that is produced is dependent on the size of the grains of sand – the finer grains will produce a poor, weak sound while medium size grains will produce a faint squeak or high pitched sound. Want to hear it? Click here for a short video of our own little tootsies making the sand squeak.
Another favorite bike ride was the 2 mile bike trail over to Campbell Lake, the larger of the two largest coastal dune lakes within the park (Morris Lake is the other lake). This trail branches off the tram road and is a pleasant fully paved ride through the old growth long leaf pine forest and palmetto groves. Eventually we ended up at Campbell Lake where we sat on a bench for a bit. Very peaceful!
There was another trail to Morris Lake which Rob tried to take on his bike one day but it was flooded.
Topsail also offers entertainment and activities. Once a week on Saturdays they have a group campfire (we didn’t attend) and then every Thursday night is music night which is open to not only campers but to the general public (after paying the entrance fee). Open mic begins at 6 pm followed by some type of music group at 7 pm and is usually held at the outside amphitheater. On the Thursday night that we were there, it was moved inside the clubhouse because it was pretty cold. We walked over to see what was going on but the clubhouse was crowded so we didn’t go in. Looked like there were two folk singer types performing. It’s free although a $5 donation is requested.
Monday morning it was time for us to reluctantly leave for our next destination. We so enjoyed our stay here and will definitely return next year! Who knows we may even try and get a “work camper” position here…