|Zoomed shot of small alligator|
Immediately you drop into woods with big oak trees and lots of thick underbrush. The trail is Florida Trail Nice, very soft and mostly wide. After turning left you pass directly beside a large and deep sinkhole. When the trail turns right you pass a dry lake bed on your left and an open area on your right. There are several places for a tent if you needed to camp. After the clearing is a bench overlooking a lake. There is a children's camp across the lake with boats and dock.
Continuing along, the path is straight until you come to the dirt road. Following the road to the left takes you to an intersection where you turn right. A sign there shows another Florida Trail campground nearby, and all the trails and campsites in the forest. Drop down the hill and into the shade for a cool(er) walk. There is water down here and alligators. A little one was watching me pass by. After the water you climb up a ridge and follow the trail to the left alongside the hill for a ways.
The trail passes above Shark Tooth Spring, then joins the path to the camp site. If you turn left here and follow the trail a little bit you will come to a small bridge over water. The spring is just up from here and under the hill. In the sand under water are hundreds (maybe thousands) of tiny prehistoric shark's teeth. With the Boy Scouts a few years ago, we found several, some a 1/4" long. Most were half that size. They have been coming out of the hole in the hill for years. This stream runs into Blackwater Creek.
From here you cross the road to the trail and follow along the road. When it drops you back onto the road, cross over and pickup the trail along the other side. A few years ago this was under water but with this year's ultimate dryness, there was no water. I was enjoying the solitude when I spooked a deer. Then I spooked a bear. The deer ran towards me which was a little scary. He veered off, stopped and looked back at me. The bear was just gone. In 10 seconds he had moved yards away from me and into the woods at a 45 degree angle. I could still hear him crashing through the woods on the same trajectory. Away was good. He had thick black hair and was as big as me.
After the bear sounds quit, I followed along the trail a little bit slower. I did come to a blind by a clearing which was quite nice. You could sit here and watch wildlife if you had a chair. The trail finally dumps you out on the road again, right by a sign and right where you turn left to follow the road to get to Blackwater Creek. That was where I stopped for a snack the last time with my fiend Walt.
When I got to the picnic tables at the creek I had been walking about 90 minutes, same as the amount of time it took to hike from the south the last time. One of these days I'll drop a car at one end and walk with a friend across the whole thing at once. In the winter I'll walk across it all and back when it is cooler. That will take all day, and maybe I will camp out. That's nice to dream about when it is 90+ degrees and just the first week of May. That's hiking in Florida!
A quick snack and a turn around back to the car. No bears or deer this time, but there was a much larger alligator snoozing along the road in the dark trees by the water. He was far away and not a problem. Maybe he ate the little one.
|A deer is looking at me in here somewhere...|