|Kratzert pine trees|
I followed the trail to the right just past the trail sign into an old field planted with pines. I mention the trees because it smelled sweet and strong like pine-sol. The 1.5 mile loop is short but follows streams, was dry and heavily shaded. It loops around palm hammocks, with massive oaks and vines. In a small clearing trail-side a spent shotgun shell lay on the ground. As the trail rose back up to the pine field, I passed a horse fence on my left. A few more yards and I was out with no shots being fired! I stuffed the vest into it's hiding place and drove out around lake Monroe where I stopped to eat lunch at a park and enjoyed the lake view.
|Lyonia trail map|
The trail loops up and over short hills, at one point reaching the highest site in the county (75 feet, woo hoo!). I sat here a few minutes to drink water and watched the wind blow the trees. There was a lake in the middle of the site and I watched a turtle drag himself into the bushes. Just after the high spot I saw my first of three Scrub Jays. It followed with me for several yards then was replaced by another, just as beautiful blue bird. Down near the lake I saw the last Scrub Jay for the day, it was building a nest. The birds seemed very friendly to me, and all flew close enough for me to touch. Per the warning signs I kept my hands to myself and enjoyed their song. I have heard it since at Seminole State Forest but just saw the blue flash of a bird there.
At the end of the hike I toured the museum, store, lunch counter and more. Quite a lot has been built here to celebrate these birds and I hope people continue to create spaces for them to nest and grow. It was a nice relaxing day hike here and I highly suggest this for families and kids.
Lyonia Preserve: I-4 exit 114, drive south on SR 472 for 2.5 miles to Providence Blvd., turn right. Go 0.7 miles to Eustace Ave., turn right into the library parking lot, park near the trail kiosk on the right side.
Be sure to check out the Lyonia Preserve activities and maps at
http://lyoniapreserve.com/calendar.htm and http://lyoniapreserve.com/lyonia1.htm.
Always remember to wear blaze orange vest/clothing when hiking during hunting season and hike during the weekdays to reduce your exposure to weekend gunfire. There are many sites to visit in Florida where no hunting is allowed and I'm working on a hunt-free list for next season. My wife will like that!