Saturday started out just like any other Saturday for a couple of weekend warrior’s. Up bright and early with just enough time to throw a pack in the car and to make some coffee for the quick drive to the trail head for a hike on the Florida Trail through the Seminole State Forest.
It had been a little over a year since I had been on the Florida Trail and I certainly learned from my mistakes. This was a quick 8.5 mile hike with Chris (@cfhiker). Rather than wearing Chacos and shorts, I was armed with my Merrell boots and my favorite pair of long pants that kept me cool while fending off all the brightly colored plants Florida has that’ll irritate your skin.
We agreed to meet up at The Cassia Trail Head around 8:30 am-9:00 am and car pool over to the Bear Pond Trail Head to start our north-to-south (the only way to hike) linear hike. In true Justin fashion, I got there just before 9:00 am and Chris had been there hanging out since around 8:30 am, oops! This was our first hike together and I was making a great first impression ;).
Starting at the Bear Pond Trail Head was a breeze hiking through the woods. There was lots of shade and mixed with the humid air made for a cool start to the hike. The only thing that made things interesting were the spider webs. Lots of them were spun all over the place and their webs just glistening as the sun hit the morning dew that had collected on them. Since I was the one with a hiking stick, I was the clearing the path through the spider webs. There were so many that my hiking stick started to like it was a stick of cotton candy made of spider webs, like what Shrek made for Princess Fiona in the first Shrek movie!
The spider webs ended once we hit the long stretch of pine scrub. The Florida Trail might seem lame to most, but I find it so amazing that you can literally go from hiking in the dense woods to hiking in sand with palmettos as far as the eye can see within a few steps. The trail took us through the pine scrub for what seemed like an eternity, given the sun was blazing hot and we had no shade by now.
I was stoked to get back into the woods where we could get some shade. Until we literally had to bushwhack our way for a while through these monstrous, overgrown plants. If you can tell me what they’re called, 5 points for you.
Just past our halfway point we came across a campsite and we were making great time. We stopped for a bit, had a snack, showed off my ENO hammock system, and got going again. Upon coming to a fork in the trail, we couldn’t tell which way to go, straight ahead looked more open and that’s where we went. It was the wrong direction, but it worked out well because we came across Shark Tooth Spring and I had read somewhere that the spring naturally deposits shark teeth. Don’t ask me where they come from, just accept it and think it’s cool like I do.
After a bit of sifting through the silt and striking out on finding some shark teeth we kept pressing forward to cover the last few miles, after retracing our steps back to the fork in the trail. The rest of the trail was dense and at times difficult to keep on the trail since some of the orange blazes were covered by overgrowth. The last section of the trail opened up to a prairie land where we saw some deer and ospreys before coming to the end of the trail.
The parking lot where my car was waiting for us came into view just in time. Afternoon storm clouds were building and both of us were starting to run low on water. We both had a great time hiking through the Seminole State Forest on the Florida Trail and if you’re in the area, hit us up!
PSA: A chicken finger sub from Publix followed by a nap after a long hike makes for the perfect ending to the day.Pin It