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Topic: Thanks, VAN!, Ocala National Forest< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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schlanky Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 11:20 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, VAN. You probably don't remember this, but a couple of years ago you suggested Ocala National Forest to me in a thread where I'd asked about hiking in Florida. Every time I tried to plan the trip down there, the weather forecast got bad or I found out Rainbow People would be there or life generally got in the way. With such a long drive to get there, I wanted to time it perfectly and kept putting it off.

I finally made the trip work this past weekend. I spent three nights in Juniper Springs Wilderness and Hopkins Prairie. Camped at Hidden Pond first night, on Hopkins Prairie second night, and a cool spot near Hidden Pond the last night.

I went in with high expectations and the trip was fantastic. That's some amazing and rugged terrain. It was well worth the 8.5 hour drive.

Just wanted to give you a big thanks for putting that trip on my radar. I'm already planning to try to go back to that area next January.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 1:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome! I am glad you got to enjoy!I love love love hiking in the Ocala forest and have on my radar to do a thru hike of the FT there this coming winter or the next.

I am also happy to know people are coming to my state and getting wonderful outdoor experiences. We are of course known for other things outside of the mouse :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 2:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The last couple of winters, I've been making trips to Florida. The vegetation & terrain is a nice change from my usual trips in Alabama & Tennessee.

In winter with the cooler temps and fewer bugs, Florida is great. And it's different challenge from a physical standpoint--instead of steep & rocky climbs, you have sun exposure and loose sand. I love the saw palmettos & live oaks draped in Spanish moss. On this trip, I saw deer, bunnies, sandhill cranes & lots of birds, and bats patrolling the ponds at sunset. At my campsite on Hopkins, I had great views of both sunrise and sunset.

A few weeks ago on a long weekend, I hiked at Torreya (my second time there) and then moved over to the Big Oak section of Florida Trail on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. I've done St Joseph Peninsula a few times & love that one despite having to carry in water.

I still need to make it to the Blackwater area near Milton---that one is such a (relatively) close drive that I keep putting it off figuring it'll be a good fallback when another trip somewhere else gets a bad forecast. I want to hit the stretch trail south of Juniper Springs Rec Area next January before the Rainbow folks take over in Feb.

But yeah, I'm really digging Florida from late October to March.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 22 2014, 10:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(schlanky @ Mar. 17 2014, 11:20 am)
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or I found out Rainbow People would be there

Bah ha ha!  You're afraid of the Rainbow People?  I ran into their conclave at Buck Lake several years back and although it's not my scene, they weren't particularly noisy or unpleasant or aggressive or anything.  

When we got a quarter mile down the trail, we no longer had any clue they were nearby.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 22 2014, 7:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The rangers and locals don't seem to like them and I prefer seeing as few people as possible, so I chose to avoid going when there would be a mass influx of people where I was hiking. With that long of a travel to the trailhead, I wanted perfect conditions.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 07 2014, 12:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE



This was a couple weeks ago. Nice little hike.
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