06 August 2007

Jonathon Dickinson State Park

This was my first Saturday off in two months so I decided to make the most of it and woke up even earlier than normal. After a few last minute decisions I headed off to hike the Florida Trail. Now, the Florida Trail runs for 1,400 mile from South Florida all the way up the Panhandle. I thought I would start small and hike the new Ocean to Lake Trail that links the Atlantic to Lake Okeechobee. There is a loop trail that runs through Jonathon Dickenson State Park that is probably no more than 10 miles. I couldn't imagine wanting to hike more than 10 miles in the middle summer.

I started the trail at the entrance of the park. The first few miles take you through rolling sand dunes. It was 8:45am by the time I left my car but the breeze was gently blowing off the ocean. This would be a beautiful August day.

The first half of the hike was mostly scrub forest and an occasional bridge or two.

Then I hit the half way point of my hike and hit major water. At times the trail was completely flooded. Though the coolness of the knee deep water was soothing, my feet were soon covered in sand that I knew would only cause blisters later.

At one point I hiked through thick mud and grass when I came upon this fresh kill. I wasn't quite sure what happened. The dead rabbit hardly looked touched and the bird feathers were scattered all about. The rabbit was being eaten by fire ants but whatever killed it was no where in sight.

At the hottest part of the day I was relieved to find any shade possible. I only carried a liter of water and I was trying to conserve my resources for the last few miles.

After finally looping back eastward I came through a barren forest of trees. The hurricanes of years past have had their way with these pines. It was very surreal to be walking through this dead forest.

These tracks reminded me that I wasn't too far from civilization.

Four hours later I emerged from the trail and headed back home. It was probably one of the best days I have experienced here in South Florida.

Here's a list of animal sightings: armadillo, dead rabbit, bobcat scat, downy woodpecker, blue jay, northern cardinal, eastern towhee singing, turkey vulture.

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