After getting lost on saturday you'd think I would have been deterred and maybe even taken a day off...but no. I hit the trail again on Sunday, this time with my family (part of it). As a group we tend to hike together often during the winter months, with this being our first hike together of the season.
The northern entrance to the restoration area, is down a dirt road off of HWY 314A (I believe the dirt road is known as Old River Road, and is on the sign as 137th AVE). I drive a small sedan, and though in places the dirt road is composed of soft sand, I still made it in and out just fine. If you go, be aware that the turn for 137th AVE can be confusing because there are TWO dirt roads that branch away from HWY 314A at the same spot. One dirt road (the one that is better maintained) will dead end on private property in under a mile. Watch the road signs and be sure to take the correct road. There is a sign for the Ocklawaha Restoration Area on 137th that you won't miss. It'll be on the left.
Before you even start your hike, you'll notice as we did, a MASSIVE magnolia tree. It's the largest I've ever seen!
|Thats sugar sand, not snow!|
|boardwalk to nowhere|
The weather was very nice and we made our way out to the levee and boardwalk with out any trouble. This boardwalk goes on for quite a distance and then just dead ends out on the prairie marsh. It's about the journey rather than the destination. Once back from the boardwalk there is a rest area with a nice wooden bench swing to relax on as you look out over the marsh area.
|Dad on the boardwalk|
After this we headed to the actual Upland Trail Loop. This is when it was nice to have the map in hand. There are multiple turns and various criss crossing dirt roads. The white blazes on the trees unfortunately look an awful lot like the white lichens we have in the area, so be careful not to mistake a lichen for a marker.
On our hike we came across a group of hunters who informed us that it was muzzle-loading season. We had thought it was still archery....and we also didn't think we were in an area open for hunting, so we were unprepared. I have nothing against hunters, but I do get tired of worrying about getting shot while out hiking. It's an unfortunate draw back of hiking in Florida...the only time we can hike (cooler weather) is the same time people hunt....and then when the hunters finally clear out, the Rainbow people move in. But that is a conversation for a different post. Sigh....
|Mom enjoying the hike|
All in all we hiked around 3.4 miles and some change. It was a nice hike and still not so far from home as to be a pain. Till next time!