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Road trip attraction: A waterfall in Florida?

I am about 30 miles north of Chiefland, Fla., another 70 miles or so to go before I get to Wakulla Springs State Park, my first destination of the day, when a roadside sign informs me that if I make a left and drive another 10 miles, I'll be in Steinhatchee.

I've long been intrigued by Steinhatchee, a small town just upstream from where the Steinhatchee River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, known primarily for the scallops you can gather yourself, so on a whim I make the turn.

A couple miles along this road, a sign directs me to make another left to get to Steinhatchee Falls. Steinhatchee FALLS? Waterfalls, here in Florida, where the highest elevation is a freeway overpass? How can I NOT make the turn and see a waterfall?

The road was once paved, but now it is just well graded, remnants of asphalt occasionally peeking through the gravel. A two-foot black snake is lying in the middle of the road, but on hearing a car approach, it slithers to the far side of the road.

After about a mile, I come to a small parking area and the end of the road. I park my car and walk to the edge of the road. And there is the Steinhatchee River and what passes for a waterfall in Florida.

The river is about 30 feet across, and there is a small waterfall, two feet high, maybe three. Two adolescent girls and a boy, all barefoot, are standing at the top of the falls, casting fishing lines downstream. Their parents are sunbathing on the bank.

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It is a gorgeous day, maybe 80 degrees, perfect for standing at the top of a two-foot waterfall and casting lines. I walk back up the bank and think how glad I am that I followed my whims.

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