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There's a place in Florida that an old-time preacher
contended was the Garden of Eden, where Adam plucked the apple . . .
well, you know the story, don't you? If you're hardy, you can go there
and decide for yourself whether this preacher knew what he was talking

This place in Florida is not your average tourist
attraction. In fact, not a whole lot of people know about it. Still
fewer go there. This article will tell you why, how to get there and
what you'll find when you do.

The Baptist preacher, Elvy E.
Callaway, was a lifelong Bristol resident who spent his entire life
trying to convince anyone who would listen that the apple Adam plucked
for Eve was on a tree along the banks of the Apalachicola River north
of Bristol. There is little evidence that many believed him - certainly
not Biblical scholars.

So why did Callaway think this was the original Garden of Eden?

based his evidence on a Biblical passage that said a river in Eden
spawned four other rivers (which the Apalachicola River does), and that
Noah built his ark with a rare species called Gopher Wood, which grows
along the Apalachicola. He chose to ignore certain other Biblical
passages and even geography in fashioning his theory.

Not many
people go looking for this place in Florida because Bristol is off the
beaten path. It's on State Highway 20 about 45 miles west of
Tallahassee. If you go, once you're in Bristol, you'll want to head
north on State Highway 12 for about a mile and a half.

Don't blink - you might miss it -- because there are no signs pointing
to Callaway's Garden of Eden. But you will find signs that preserve a
little bit of history: Garden of Eden Road, leading off to the west. A
short distance up the road, there's a trailhead that links up with the
Garden of Eden Trail.

But be forewarned: If you're infirm or
faint of heart, don't take this trail, no matter how much you want to
see this place in Florida. It's full of steep climbs and descents.

Jim's outside photos

place is now preserved by the Nature Conservancy, not because it
believed Elvy Callaway's theory, but because his Garden of Eden is one
of the few areas where steephead ravines exist.

What's a steephead ravine? That's a place that has unique plants and animals, some found nowhere else on Earth.

strenuous trail that leads to Callaway's Garden of Eden is 3.5 miles
round trip, taking you to Alum Bluff on the Apalachicola River and
back. Presumably, Callaway's Eden was on or near the bluff, 135 feet
above the river.

The Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and
Ravines Preserve doesn't lure tourists like many other places in
Florida do. But those who survive the trek to the bluff are likely to
tell you what they think of Elvy Callaway's theory.

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