We are one month in and half way done with the Florida Trail. We haven’t seen the sun since Tuesday evening. Blech. This is supposed to be the Sunshine State, but I think we are too close to Georgia. Tomorrow we shall cross under I-10 and in a few days cross under I-75 and then I think we go under I-10 again at some point as we walk west towards Pensacola.
In the passed week since we left suburban Orlando we finally entered the forest again. We got into Seminole State Forest before lunch last Friday and saw a controlled burn in the distance. Eventually the trail almost came next to the burn as they continued to start new burns further north as we kept going. At one point we backtracked a bit just in case it got closer, but luckily we never got too close, but it was close enough to cause concern. I was miffed they didn’t post a warning at the trailhead that it was going to be that close to the FT. We took a break at the Shark Tooth campsite where we lingered for a bit since we took a rushed lunch and the helicopter starting the fire flew over us and so I know they had to have seen us as we were laying on the ground in the sun. Oh, sun–I miss you.
Then we went to Ocala Nationanl Forest for about three days and for the most part it was awesome. I was disappointed in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness….too much palmetto for me. Speaker caught up to us that night and he was recounting what someone had told him that it had been overly burned and it used to have more trees than it currently does. I was definitely dissapointed in the area. I really loved the section from Hopkins Prairie campground north to Rodman Dam. Twice in this section we heard a weird animal noise at night, once really close to the tent, it was a rough-bark/quack noise. Any idea what this is? Racoon? We did hear a bit of it last night.
Then we’ve had rain or overcast since Wednesday morning. Yuck. We enjoyed a jaunt next to Etonia Ravine, where in rare form for Florida we walked along some bluffs to a creek down below. Cool stuff! We’re starting to see some clearer springs and creeks than we have been used to. Thursday night we were close to Camp Crystal Lake, a boyscout camp, and Keystone Heights was close by and so we decided to call up the local pizza joints to see if they would deliver. Luckily Dominos did so we ordered two large pizzas to split between the three of us! SWEET! Certainly no 501 or RPH shelter, but if you are camping next to Camp Crystal Lake, pizza can be delivered!
For most of yesterday we walked along the Palatka-Lake Butler rails-to-trails cooridor, though we did do a roadwalk bypass to skip a bridge that was out over the New River, and this morning we found two smaller bridges out but were able to cross by log and rock hopping.
Anyway, we will be planning a nearo in a few days so I am excited about that and a chance to shower and get a bed.
Here’s some photos:
The third bear we saw in Ocala. Was not that interested in getting off the trail.