Florida Trail: Seminole Reservation to I-75
I’m taking this week to move into a new house so new writing is scarce. I thought I would find some long-lost posts from before I moved my blog to its current format. Chris and I did this hike in January 2009 prior to thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail (or even the Florida Trail)—this was on my list of things to do during my 28th year.
On New Years Day our friend David and his kids dropped Chris and I off at our north entrance to where we were going to hike southbound through the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation, enter Big Cypress National Preserve, stay for a night and exit at the rest area in Collier County on I-75. Two years ago we completed the two southern segments, Tamiami Trail to I-75 and Loop Road to Tamiami Trail. The segment we did was on my list of 28 things to do this year, so I accomplished more more item! WOO!
Anyone have an idea what this is? It is shrubby like and was fairly common along the trail.
The first part what mostly along a buggy road. We didn’t see anyone out there, only pine and cypress trees. We did see a panther print in the mud next to a puddle along the road.
It was about 3 miles to the border of the reservation and the preserve and we crossed a fence. You have to have a permit and be a member of the Florida Trail Assocation to cross the reservation, which we did a few weeks ago.
We walked about 1.7 miles further into the preserve to meet at the junction where the blue loop splits off from the main orange blazed trail. We decided to take the blue trail and add a few extra miles onto the trip because from the junction it was only six miles to I-75. We sat amongst some Brazilian pepper for lunch.
Not my ideal spot, but I was feeling a little queasy and had a headache and needed to rest. Plus, my back was killing my upper back and neck. The waist strap likes to loosen as you go along and then the weight ends up mostly on my shoulders.
Showy crotalaria, Crotalaria spectabilis
About a mile past the junction we came across an old CCC cabin. There wasn’t much in it, an old couch and the walls were graffittied but that was it. We kept out of it mostly, afraid of snakes.
We decided to keep on going to find a decent campsite for the night. It was a clear day and we’d had a cool front come through and that made the day very pleasant.
Chris has been eyeing cypress domes to potentially explore, as well as to find water to replenish our bottles, and we spotted this orchid. I am fairly certain this is Habaneria repens. There were several plants and then we spotted the next orchid.
Eulophia alta, wild coco. There were several of these blooming too! While Chris was taking some photos with the macro I was sitting on the log and Baloo was looking for shade. We got up and almost had a mishap. A little metal loop that holds the bottom strap onto the backpack had dissapeared somewhere and the pin that goes through the frame came out. We McGuyver’ed it by using a hairpin that I had in my hair.
Baloo was a tired pup! But he kept on going.
We kept walking and walking and walking. We stopped and made water in a little pond alongside the road. I picked ticks off Baloo and myself. We walked some more.
Finally we made it to a turn off the buggy road and into a trail that cut southwest across the prairie. We checked the map and sure enough the campsite was coming up.
Baloo got to camp and found a toy to play with!
And then promptly passed out.
We made dinner at 3:30pm and then took a nap for an hour. Then we got up and had dessert and some cider before calling it a day when the sunset at 6pm. It was a rough night in the tent with a stinky, bed hoggin’, tick ridden dog, and two very uncomfortable pads to lay on. Somehow we ‘slept’ for 12 hours and made it to the next morning. Chris and I took turns cuddling with Baloo and putting the sleeping bag over the shivering boy in the early hours of the morning. Baloo must have been well rested, however, because when I got up to walk to go behind a tree he chased after me like he was going after a stick! Thump, thump thump!!! Ears flying up, grin on his face, tounge hanging out.
After we had breakfast (coffee singles and oatmeal…I ate out of the package Dad and Curt! Thanks for that tip! I forgot about it until right then!), we left camp around 9am and hit the trail.
We estimated about 3 miles to the next campsite where we would possibly eat lunch and do some exploring.
We made it to the next campsite and decided not to stop. It was only about 1.7 miles to the car so we decided to keep on going.
These are probably very old saw palmetto’s. They grow approximately 0.1″ a year!!! I don’t see tall ones very often, but I have in a few places in Florida.
After coming off the prairie we came onto a cool little mound that had some tropical looking growth on it.
And then we made it back to the end of the orange trail with only about a mile left to walk on it. We had to put Baloo back on his leash because he wanted to go after an alligator that went into the canal next to the road! No gator bait!!
It seemed to go fairly fast, that last bit. We signed the log and found that there were quite a few people out for day hikes on Thursday and Friday.
Baloo was pooped on the way home so he slept on Chris!
I bet Baloo had a great time with you guys! Btw, you didn’t use those backpacks on your AT hike, did you?
Oh, no we definitely did not use those packs!