Really Old Archives
Sprout Dispatch

The Trail Show Interview about the Florida Trail
Florida Hikes! Wild Women Interview
A Trail Life Appalachian Trail Hike Interview

Follow on Bloglovin

Read OW in your inbox!:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Contests & Other Items
Family & Friends
Local Adventures
Local Coffee
Nature In The City

+Selected Posts+

Thru-Hiking the Florida Trail How-To
Little Lake Creek Loop, SHNF
Our Work in Print
Thru-Hiker Deliciousness
The Greatest Mountain


  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009

  • This weekend, like last year, we went on a backpacking trip. This year we started off at the Hickory Hammock Florida Trail trail head on U.S. 98 between Sebring and Bassinger with the intentions of just walking north until we felt like turning around to come home.

    We got a late start on Friday after sleeping in a bit and then driving the two hours north. Before we left we checked the weather and weren’t too pleased with the forecast—rain and then a cold front right behind it. It didn’t start raining until we entered Lake Placid at nearly lunch time. We took some back roads to get to the trail head and then we realized there wasn’t much in the way of food open on New Years Day out in the boondocks. Finally, after driving around for nearly an hour we drove into Sebring and found the Sebring Diner open and hoppin’! We were in luck, they had black eyed peas! We were having a minor dilemma of trying to manage to eat black eyed peas on NYD, though I know we didn’t do that last year.

    With a full stomach we made it to the trail head around 1pm; the rain had mostly stopped. We ran into a small group of Florida Trail Association hikers doing a short out and back of six to eight miles and they warned us of the cold weather to come.

    FT Hickory Hammock

    At two miles we came across the Hickory Hammock campsite, a beautiful site underneath old live oaks. We stopped for a short snack and pee break and we were on our way. Shortly after we left we passed a hiker and his dog, said a quick hello and we mosied on down the way.

    At 4 miles we came across an equestrian campground complete with decent port o potties and non-potable water (you can treat it), we then kept meandering north along the trail. About a mile north we entered the most boring part of the journey. I wouldn’t say it is entirely worthless, but it wasn’t necessarily pleasant. The Montesdeoca Ranch borders the Florida Trail and you have to walk along theĀ fence lineĀ for about three to four miles. The area is mowed but the grass is made up of clumps of smut grass and it gets really old trying to walk over the clumps. Also, directly to the east is the Kissimmee River, which can sometimes flood the trail. Luckily, we didn’t have any flooding problems!

    Kissimmee River Wetlands;

    The good part about this section was the amount of wading birds we saw. Sandhill cranes can be heard a good distance away and we caught a few mating dances from afar. A bald eagle flew over us as did a a couple of caracara.

    About three quarters of the way up the fence line we were noticing dark clouds in the distance, getting worried that we’d have to put our rain jackets on. Sure enough we saw the rain in the distance, grabbed our jackets just in time to have the rain come down followed by a gust of wind that knocked the temperature down about 15 degrees. Brrrr! We were afraid the front was going to take its time to blow through, but we didn’t have to wait too long for the wind to die down a bit.

    Mosquito Hammock
    It was nearing sunset when we made it to Mosquito Hammock, but the sky had cleared up and we had a beautiful sunset, albeit cold! We kept toasty at night we our new 15* bags—so warm I didn’t want to get out in the morning!

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    We kept heading north towards the Avon Park Air Force Range, which can be closed to hikers if they are doing maneuvers. About two miles north of Mosquito Hammock is where you run into the range, you have to climb over a stile to get across the fence and there is a board up showing a map, paperwork to fill out and a sign saying the dates of closures and openings. It was open so we kept going north!

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    The oaks in this area were gorgeous! Ancient oaks covered in Spanish moss make for some dramatic shots! Too bad we didn’t have our good cameras.

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    We stopped at Hicks Slough campground about three miles or so into the park and took a long lunch, sunning ourselves with a nice cat nap.

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    Another stile we had to cross in the range.

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    We stopped at an old orange grove on the way back to look at some rotting oak logs and to snack on some oranges…

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    I’m employing the Eliana method for eating oranges—very good, you should try it!

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT

    Avon Park Air Force Range FT
    I forgot to mention that we saw a barred owl on our way up to Avon Park. We heard many others in the early morning and late evening, too.

    FT Hickory Hammock

    FT Hickory Hammock

    Hickory the Dog
    We were almost back to Mosquito Hammock for the evening when I spotted a dog. Up in a tree was its owner, Russell. Chris was a few yards ahead of me when I heard Russell ask Chris if he knew a geocacher friend of ours. Once I got up to the tree I recognized the guy as the one we’d seen the day before but also as someone we’d briefly met at Cacheapalooza a few weeks ago. We both had the mutual friend of another guy named Chris, who hiked with us for a day on our Ocean to Lake segment of the Florida Trail over Thanksgiving. Russell was also staying at Mosquito Hammock as was his dog Hickory. Hickory is a trail do for sure—bounding with energy! Poor pup had a ton of Caesar weed in his fur…I bet that will be a pain to get out!

    We woke up this morning to temps of 35* and got on the trail to head back to the car. Russell hiked with us until Bluff Hammock parking lot which is 1.6 miles from Mosquito Hammock and we kept going the rest of the way back to our car.

    I would recommend this hike for anyone who is interested in old Florida. It is peaceful, beautiful and a part of Florida you just don’t see that often.

    And now I’m enjoying some good old fashioned comfort food—Rotel. mmmmmmm! Faux cheesey goodness!

    This week: Cayo Costa State Park, Sanibel Sunsets, New Years Eve Sunset and failed moon rise (@%^$ clouds!), and whatever else you feel like hearing from me!

    Oh yeah, my friend Meghan is working on a blog/website…check it out here!

    And a second oh yeah….my dad asked me today if I took my computer camping so I could post. Nope…it’s a wonderful little object in WordPress that allows you to schedule posts! I can now take one day and write several posts up for the next few days—isn’t that awesome??? I’m all for more free time.

    And for the third OH YEAH—-we saw a bobcat this morning!! A very big score!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Facebook Twitter Email


    1. Marc says:

      Totally dig the panoramic shots. Looks like an adventurous weekend (note: using your word of-the-year)! Tell Chris I bought a barred owl call at Bass Pro this weekend, but it sounds too nasally, kind of like a duck. What is the brand of the one he has?

    2. marge says:

      you all are so wonderfully adventurous – what fun! and how nice that you document it all. sure beats a photo album, doesn’t it?

      wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010.


    3. Moosie says:

      Another fun weekend. Little to cold for me though. Just like here. Love the pictures. Mom

    4. Chris Hind says:

      I was up there in november and camped at the campground on the trail with the wannado group. the skeeters were pretty bad when i was there and i had to retreat to the tent early. interesting area. i need to check out sebring as well but i wish there were more water. i need to get some more paddling in.

    5. Oceanic Wilderness says:

      […] Hickory Hammock to Avon Park Bombing Range in 2010. […]

    6. Rinehart Video Productions says:

      Excellent blog and photos. I live in Sarasota and hope to make it to the bombing range soon. All the best.

    7. plastic surgeon tv show says:

      I do agree with all of the ideas you have introduced in your post.
      They are really convincing and will definitely work.
      Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for novices.
      May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
      Thank you for the post.

    Leave a Reply