We saw a poster for the knap fest back in January when we were camped at Ochlockonee River State Park and thought it would be fun to return in early March to check out the festivities.
Evidently a lot of other people thought the knap fest would be fun, too, because it was impossible to get reservations at the campground. We widened our search net, and after a bit of digging, Eric discovered a city park campground in the little town of Sopchoppy, just a few miles from the state park. For $15, we scored a peaceful, pretty campsite on the river with water and electric hookups.
As we were in the process of choosing our campsite, a woman sitting in a camp chair outside of her RV rudely said, “I hope you aren’t planning to pull in next to our camper!” She had staked out her territory, and was fiercely guarding it. She had nothing to worry about from us, because we never park right next to anyone if we have a choice.
We set up camp a few sites down in a lovely spot overlooking the river. Lo and behold, about an hour after we arrived, a group of local fishermen pulled up in a behemoth pickup truck, trailering a boat. They unloaded an enormous tent and all of their gear, and proceeded to set up right next to the cranky woman while she glared at them from her camp chair. The fishermen were completely unfazed by her vibes, built a roaring bonfire, cracked open a few beers, and enjoyed their evening, LOL.
Tools Of Stone And Bone
The knap fest was a fun day’s outing, and we enjoyed browsing the handcrafted arrowheads, knives, spear points, and scrapers that enthusiasts make out of various types of stone. We learned that the best stones for knapping are those that are brittle and fine grained, such as chert, flint, jasper, obsidian, and quartzite.
Only traditional tools made of antler, bone, stone, and sometimes copper are used for knapping. Throughout the park, we heard the chink-chink-chink of folks chipping away at their creations. The finished pieces were works of art, including beautiful knives with carved bone or antler handles.
There were demonstrations on primitive arts, knapping and atlatl (spear) throwing contests, and music. Our favorite presentation was by park ranger Steve, who in a former life was a museum curator. He makes primitive fish hooks out of bone as well as fish traps from palm fronds, and told us that the primitive fish traps are so efficient that their use is banned for anyone other than Native Americans.
Meeting Up With New Friends In Apalachicola
One week later, we were back in Apalachicola (40 miles away), and discovered that fellow bloggers and full-time travelers MonaLiza and Steve were staying at Ochlockonee River State Park. They met us for lunch at Tamara’s Café in Apalachicola, and we enjoyed a delightful couple of hours with them. They’ve traveled to both Alaska and Nova Scotia in the past two years, and write a wonderful blog about their adventures (lowestravels). We’re looking forward to catching up with them again in our travels.