Hiked the Florida Trail south of Santos trail head toward the Vortex. The storms have made some changes to the terrain. There is a new fallen tree that you have to walk under. Also some dead fall across the trail – but it is easy to step over.
Keep hiking. Do not let the heat stop you. Drink lots of fluids.
Heat and rain, not a good combination. Makes it hard to get motivated to hike. It is so much easier to stay indoors in the morning and keep cool.
This is where the real hikers separate from the wanna be hikers. Real hikers do not mind the heat. We just prepare for it.
Even though the mornings have been hot and muggy, you can still hike if you plan properly.
- Get out early. Be at the trail at sun up and start right away.
- Hike where there is cover. Do not hike on trails with lots of areas open to direct sun light.
- Bring plenty of water and take constant sips.
- Dress properly. A wide brimmed hat and clothes that breath are recommended. Jeans hold in the heat and the sweat.
- Use a wet towel. Wrap it around your neck, hang it over your head. Use it like a swamp cooler.
- Bring plenty of water and take constant sips. I can not emphasize that enough.
- Keep the hike short. You do not have to set a record, just get out.
Hiking is about getting out on the trail and in Florida if you let the weather dictate your hiking, you will spend a good part of the year indoors.
Get out, take it slow and easy – and hike. May you hike in peace.
My recent hike in the mountains of New Jersey brought to mind the necessity of wearing good boots when hiking. Here in Florida I know that many hike in sturdy shoes or even sneakers. However, it only takes on root or soft spot to cause a slip and fall or a twist of the ankle.
Boots make a big difference when hiking, especially where there is some kind of terrain or obstacles. The flat even trails in Florida can lull us into a false sense of security. It is easy to forget that Florida has gullies, rolling hills and uneven trails. Terrain that is better hiked with boots.
I am not talking about expensive boots. The new “space aged” designed boots look cool and provide some many different bells and whistles. I have been looking a pair of boots that breath. They let the air in and the sweat out.
I have been hesitant to buy them for a couple of reasons. First I have read that their ability to breath can let small particles of sand into the boot. This is Florida, small particles of sand are everywhere and letting them into my boots could make the hike very uncomfortable.
Second and probably the more important reason, I am thrifty. No make that cheap. I just do not like to spend money that I do not have to spend. I already have a sturdy pair of boots that provide me the support needed for hiking in not only Florida but in more aggressive terrain.
If I have what some call discretionary income, that means money to spare, I might consider pair of the new and improved boots. For now I will continue to walk in the pair I have that is still comfortable and serviceable.
Before I became sidetracked, I was making the point that you should seriously consider investing in a pair of good sturdy boots for hiking. Sturdy shoes and sneakers are marginally acceptable. However, if you are going to call yourself a “Hiker”. You need a pair of hiking boots.
In the meantime – May you hike in peace.
I visited what would be called my old stomping grounds, Sussex County New Jersey. This is where i did part of my growing up and also where I did some of my first serious hiking. I was looking forward to some cool weather, however, the area was experiencing temperatures in the upper 90’s. So I was not able to escape the Florida heat.
I stopped by and walked in the Sunrise Mountain area. This was and still is a beautiful part of the state. Most people associate New Jersey either with large suburbs outside of New York city, the sea shore or maybe the pine barrens of South Jersey.
However, the northwestern portion of the state has some mountains and is very rural. When I was younger we had more cows than people in that part of the state.
Sunrise Mountain 1,653 feet above sea level. By Colorado standards they may be mole hills. To a Florida Hiker they are every bit mountains. Everything is relative.
This mostly a hardwood area. Lots of oaks, laurels, some maples and an occasional pine. Quite the opposite of Florida where the pine is the predominant tree. There are also some wild berries that I remember picking as a teen.
The Kittatinny Mountains run through the area and so does the Appalachian Trail. It is rough terrain, even where the trail is well kept and well marked.
This is a different type of hiking than I am used to in Florida. Hiking boots are a necessity. You can not hike with sneakers no matter how sturdy.
My visit was short but fun. It brought back a lot of memories when I would hike this area with my school friends.
In the meantime – Hike In Peace.
There is a place on the Florida Trail near the Baseline Trail Head where the trail crosses a not too often used spur of train tracks. I often stop as I cross the tracks and look both ways. Not for safety as you would stop and look both ways crossing a busy street.
I stop to take in the view of the tracks going off in both directions as far as the eye can see. The two rails merging and becoming one. I know there is a scientific term for that phenomenon, but would rather not think of it. It is more fun just to stare in wonder enjoying the unrestricted view.
This brings back memories as a boy sitting by the tracks waiting for the train to come by. Waving at the engineer and hoping that someone would be on the platform at the end of the train on the caboose. This morning there is no train and no promise of a train.
This part of the Florida Trail is not too far from a well used county highway. It is rush hour and I can hear the sounds of cars taking people to work. Often the beep or toot of a horn gives witness to either someone’s impatience or poor driving skills.
Even the insulation of the woods can not fully protect the trail from the encroachment of civilization. Not that avoiding civilization and people is mu purpose. I can hear traffic but I rarely get to see any. Not even fellow foot traffic. Early morning is usually a solitary time on the trail. I will not say lonely, since it is solitude that I am after.
May you hike in peace.
I consider myself lucky, most mornings I can begin my day with a hike on a part of the Florida Trail System. The trail runs less than a quarter mile from my home.
I try to be on the trail just as the sun is rising. You can see the rays coming through the trees. The rest of the woods are in darkness, it is not quite time for nature to be up and moving around.
A squirrel runs past, or a bird may flitter by, but most of nature is still, quite and sleeping, if only for just a bit longer. The mist hangs in the trees and as I walk sometimes I feel like a giant with my head in the clouds. The morning wetness is so thick you have to wipe it off your face after just a few minutes of walking.
The morning cool is damp but makes it pleasant to walk, no fear of over heating in the early hours beneath the canopy of trees. The trail is an easy walk. Level and clear in most places. Fallen trees provide small obstacles, but most can be easily stepped over with little effort.
In the early morning I am the trail blazer, the first one out on the trail for the day. This is evidenced by each web that breaks and tickles across my face. These highways for spiders often criss-cross the paths. At times it seems I remember breaking a web in that same spot earlier in the week, so I wonder if the spiders mind re-webbing their aerial highways after I have made my way through.
May you hike in peace.
The Land Bridge Trail is part of the state wide Florida Trail. There are two trails. One is approximately 1.1 miles. This is the Orange Trail. The other is the Blue Trail and is approximately 2.2 miles. Taking one trail out and the other back is a nice easy hike of just over 3 miles.
The highlight of the trail is, of course, the Land Bridge. A large dirt covered bridge that crosses Interstate 75. The bridge crosses south of Ocala and just north of Belleview.
On the land bridge there are large stone walls on each side, high enough to block your view of the cars that are whizzing by underneath. In the middle of the bridge is an observation area. Iron bars in the stone walls provide a safe viewing area to watch traffic.
It is fun to watch the traffic go by, especially a large tractor trailer truck. Remember you are standing above it as it passes under the bridge.
The Land Bridge trailhead is located on CR 475A, about 2 miles north of SR 484.
It is an easy and enjoyable hike suitable for the entire family.
Enjoy your hiking and –
May you hike in peace.
The Land Bridge Trailhead is a beautiful area and a great part of the Florida Trail System. The trailhead is located on CR 475A, about 2 miles north of SR 484. There is plenty of parking, restrooms, picnic tables and water. This trailhead provides a starting point for hikers, bikes and horses.
The Land Bridge Trailhead is the land of the giants. The live oaks at the trailhead are magnificent. They tower above the water oaks and other scrub trees. More importantly, these live oaks have spread out as live oaks often do. Their branches are like outstretched arms of giants.
The branches of the live oaks twist and turn among the other trees. Some reach and stretch to the sky. Others almost crawl along the ground.
Of all the trees, the live oak has the most personality. Each one is different. No two are alike. It is as if they look at one another and decide, “I am going to be different. I am going to be unique.”
At one point the trail goes through a live oak that has been split. It was probably split by lightening. However, knowing live oaks, it may have split just to be different. Some one has carved a seat out of the trunk of the tree.
In the middle of the split tree you can sit. It is a great photo opportunity. My grandsons love to pose in the tree, sitting or standing on the bench carved out of the living wood.
Enjoy the trail and
May you hike in peace.