PDA

View Full Version : North Florida Trails



flagator
08-17-2006, 18:14
Hey all,
I'm new to the forums. I have some experience camping and hiking, but not all that much. Im in teriffic shape physically, with all the sports that I play. But i am going to realistic with myself that i may not be quite ready for the AT because of my inexperience. EVen though i would probably we fine. But besides all that, im trying to get my girlfriend to eventually go on either a thru-hike, or atleast a month long hike with me, and she has agreed to go, but has absolutely no clue how to prepare and im not exactly wise on the subject. Any one have any suggestions on trails we could do a nice weekend trip or 3-4 days on. I've looked into the florida trail, but for one they are sold out of maps for the section closest to me, they wont get more until November they say. ANd secondly I read on their site, that they are redoing certain segments, in my section and that you must be a florida trail member to use some of them at all. I just need some suggestions on where to go in my area to get the practice necessary to one day make it to the AT trail.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-17-2006, 18:17
The Ocala N and S sections of the FNST in the Ocala National Forest. YOu really dont need a map for those areas, easy resupply, and your never too far from civilization for safety's sake until you gain more knowledge. The N section is pretty dry even in the rainy season. The S section can flood out even after 3 days of rain. But right now, both sections are clear according the ONF ranger station.

flagator
08-17-2006, 18:26
Thanks for the reply. The florida trail site seems to have a lot of information, but I'm still having a hard time figuring out things from it. I read that you have to be a member to use a lot of the trails, and i don't want to run into that. So the trails your reffering to will not require membership?

Amigi'sLastStand
08-17-2006, 18:32
Another trail I just thought of, though have never hiked, is the Osceola State Park Trail. It's off 441 in Lake City up near Jax. It runs along the Suwannee on the NW section and then SE toward a really beautifull pond. The pond is road accessable ( but if not, it's 4-8 miles to a trailhead on a road, 90? ) and would be a nice spot to get picked up at after a 3 day easy hike. There is NO resupply points I'm aware of, but 3 days is no problem, and water is abundant as long as you have a filter.

Piece of advice, on WB ppl will debate Aqua Mira, Iodine, filtering, or freeballing, but in our wonderful state, a filter is not an option.

hikerjohnd
08-17-2006, 18:36
OK - I see you are in Jax (I was born and raised there - so I know a little bit about it...) Make a trip to Black Creek Outfitters (out by Town Center Mall) to get trip ideas in your area. Next - UNF has some nature trails - last time I was out there the longest was 1.5 miles, but it was a nice hike and will give you a place to get your girlfriend into the "outdoors" state of mind without venturing into the backcountry. For a nice weekend hike try O'leno - over by Lake City. A good overnighter is the Florida Trail from Rodman Resevoir south to the campground (the name escapes me, but the trail goes right through the campground - nice place to eat or even camp if your girfriend still needs creature comforts like bathrooms) and the resevoir is just south of Palatka (US 17 south to US 19 south). And finally, there is a nice overnighter just south of St. Augustine - the name escapes me at the moment - but it is a power company preserve and located east of US 1 just south of St. Augustine - the folks at Black Creek can give you directions.

Happy Hiking!! :welcome

hikerjohnd
08-17-2006, 18:40
but in our wonderful state, a filter is not an option.

Umm - why do you say that? I've always used a filter in FL with no problems. If you are referring to sand/sediment just collect water in a bag and let it settle before filtering.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-17-2006, 18:41
Thanks for the reply. The florida trail site seems to have a lot of information, but I'm still having a hard time figuring out things from it. I read that you have to be a member to use a lot of the trails, and i don't want to run into that. So the trails your reffering to will not require membership?

Tell me about it. I might not have time to thru the AT next year, but could probably section hike most of the FNST over the next two years, but there is nothing good out there.

No, the part of the FNST in the ONF is not part of the membership section, but all demarcated campsites like Buck Lake do cost money. You go to the bulliten board, get an envelope, put your money in and drop it in the box. It is on the honor system, but if you dont have a tag when the ranger comes by and no money in the box, the ticket is astronomical, so carry some cash. $100 should do it for two ppl over three days with camping, spring swimming, and generous resupply.

Dude, come next weekend to our gathering at Alexander. We're gonna canoe Juniper Springs. You are invited if you like.

The up to date thread, others just for reference
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=16729&highlight=florida+gathering

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=16669&highlight=florida+gathering

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=16370&highlight=florida

Amigi'sLastStand
08-17-2006, 18:46
Umm - why do you say that? I've always used a filter in FL with no problems. If you are referring to sand/sediment just collect water in a bag and let it settle before filtering.
No, really?:D :rolleyes: I was referring to the sulfur/bacteria/rotting vegetation/alligator turds/gopher tortise sperm, not the sand. Most folks familiar with the AT, and not our ecosystem, arent used to wallowing animals like we have. I'm sure you've finally gotten to a water source only to see two iguana humping, a panther crapping, an armidillo peeing, and thiryy cranes standing around doing all of the the above all at the same time. No clear mountain streams here.

gravityman
08-17-2006, 18:47
My favorite places to hike when I lived in Gainesville for 5 years as a grad student:

Florida Trail in Ocala National Forest starting at Juniper Springs and heading north

Torreya State Park - Great starting trip! It's a bit of a drive for you, but there are almost a few hills!

Cumberland Island - This is a great one for a few days. Wild horses! And its close to you.

FT Suwannee river section is pretty good.

Olena State Park - The santa fe river goes underground for several miles, and you can hike from where it goes down to where it comes back up.

I wouldn't do any of these hikes until it cools down though. Maybe oct or nov? And watch out for the chiggers *shudder*

Also realize that you are a pretty easy 8 hour drive from some amazing hiking in North Georgia. Shining Rock would be pretty nice...

But our favorite thing to do in FL was paddling. You HAVE to paddle the Okefenockee Swamp circuit sometime! It's amazing...

Gravity and Danger

FLHiker
08-17-2006, 18:52
Some good dayhikes around here are:

Little Talbot Island has a nice loop trail, you can add more distance to it if you wish by going further north on the beach. (no camping though)

Ft. George has a good network of trails - mostly on a reforest(ing) golf course that was closed some time ago - nice trails that take you out to Kinglsey Plantation, but I've found these to be very buggy. (no camping, although I have seen people camping)

Guana River has another good network of trails - but again can get buggy. (no camping)

A buddy of mine in St. A really likes Anastasia State Park, and Moses Creek. I've been to the Moses Creek Campsites - but by boat. It's a beautiful spot. - That one is managed by the St. John's River Water Management District.

One option for longer hikes (weekend, but not much more than that) may be Cumberland Isand (http://www.nps.gov/cuis/pphtml/planyourvisit.html). Ferry leaves from St. Mary's, or I'm told you can take your own boat. I haven't been to the island yet, but plan on it once it cools down for a weekender.

Sorry I don't have any more info on longer hikes, but hope this helps!!!

flagator
08-17-2006, 19:11
Thank you everyone for the replies. I am researching each trail mentioned. I think the Osceola trail mentioned is about 20 miles, so there and back, would put me at 40 miles over a 4 day trip, very doable, we are both athletic and young. But I also have heard much about Cumberland Island too. I'll have to continue my research, thanks a lot :)

hikerjohnd
08-17-2006, 20:27
No, really?:D :rolleyes: I was referring to the sulfur/bacteria/rotting vegetation/alligator turds/gopher tortise sperm, not the sand. Most folks familiar with the AT, and not our ecosystem, arent used to wallowing animals like we have. I'm sure you've finally gotten to a water source only to see two iguana humping, a panther crapping, an armidillo peeing, and thiryy cranes standing around doing all of the the above all at the same time. No clear mountain streams here.
Well, yes - I've experienced some of that (never actually seen the tortise sperm, but I thought I could smell it...:D) and have never been shy about using a filter. I would never drink from the source without treatment (nor would I in the hills) so I find a filter to be acceptable just about anywhere in the states (I'll say the lower 48 to be on the safe side - I'd have to do my homework on possible cooties elsewhere).

BTW Amigi - love your avatar!

Amigi'sLastStand
08-17-2006, 23:27
Well, yes - I've experienced some of that (never actually seen the tortise sperm, but I thought I could smell it...:D) and have never been shy about using a filter. I would never drink from the source without treatment (nor would I in the hills) so I find a filter to be acceptable just about anywhere in the states (I'll say the lower 48 to be on the safe side - I'd have to do my homework on possible cooties elsewhere).

BTW Amigi - love your avatar!
Thanks man.
I filter 90% of the time up north, all the time in FL. Our water makes the Mexicans proud.:D

eArThworm
08-18-2006, 00:09
If trail guidebooks would help, Sandra Friend has written the best recent ones:

A Hikerís Guide to the Sunshine State, University Press of Florida, Oct 2005
50 Hikes in South Florida (ISBN 0-88150-531-5), Countryman Press, Aug 2003
50 Hikes in North Florida (ISBN 0-88150-530-7), Countryman Press, Mar 2003
50 Hikes in Central Florida (ISBN 0-88150-523-4), Countryman Press, Aug 2002

They're all available from the Florida Trail Assoc. online store at
http://www.ftstore.com/index.php?cPath=1_9_31 or Amazon.com or other websites, and maybe from your local bookstores or outfitters. Fla. Trail Assoc. ships really fast.

~~ a Tallahassee hiker

(PS: Torreya state park's trail system is great and it has several backcountry campsites.)

Gray Blazer
08-18-2006, 07:13
Well, yes - I've experienced some of that (never actually seen the tortise sperm, but I thought I could smell it...:D) and have never been shy about using a filter. I would never drink from the source without treatment (nor would I in the hills) so I find a filter to be acceptable just about anywhere in the states (I'll say the lower 48 to be on the safe side - I'd have to do my homework on possible cooties elsewhere).

BTW Amigi - love your avatar!
Lots of springs and seeps along the Suwanee. Personally,I know nothing about the turtle sperm.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-18-2006, 09:07
Anyone been here?
Just found it in a guide book I bought yesterday. Never heard of it before.

South of Gainesville. Terrain ranges from open prairie to marsh. The area is loaded with Indian artifacts and bison. This is in Fl?

"10,000 years ago the limestone was eroded. The resulting area was filled in with rich decayed plant matter, creating the most unique area of Fl's vast ecosystem."

I'm sure some of you have been here. Any first hand info?

Ewker
08-18-2006, 09:40
you may or may not have this link

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/panhandleeast/trails/apalachicola.htm

a group of us were going to hike it this past Feb but it kind of fell apart

Gray Blazer
08-18-2006, 10:40
Paynes Prarie-limited access to many parts of the prarie which seems funny because highway 441 (Same highway that goes through Cherokee and Newfound Gap) and I-75 both cross Paynes Prarie. There is a campground south of the prarie which has a nice observation tower (Lots of birdwatchers) and some trails. You can sign up with the rangers for some nice hikes that actually go to some of the nicer spots. The North Rim Ramble is a nice guided hike that will make you think you are walking through NC because of the hills and big sink holes. The Prarie is actually growing towards the North at a very slow rate because of the continually crumbling limerock. There is a hike that you can sign up for that is guided and you camp overnite at a nice spot overlooking the prarie. I've walked the creek to where they were doing a big archaeological excavation. There are places along the edge of the prarie where the pocket gophers have made their mounds and placed all the hard objects on top. Sometimes after a good rain you will find perfect arrowheads sitting on their own little pedestalthanks to the pocket gophers. I will post some pics of the prarie in my gallery.

hikerjohnd
08-18-2006, 11:53
Paynes Prarie-limited access to many parts of the prarie which seems funny because highway 441 (Same highway that goes through Cherokee and Newfound Gap) and I-75 both cross Paynes Prarie. There is a campground south of the prarie which has a nice observation tower (Lots of birdwatchers) and some trails. You can sign up with the rangers for some nice hikes that actually go to some of the nicer spots. The North Rim Ramble is a nice guided hike that will make you think you are walking through NC because of the hills and big sink holes. The Prarie is actually growing towards the North at a very slow rate because of the continually crumbling limerock. There is a hike that you can sign up for that is guided and you camp overnite at a nice spot overlooking the prarie. I've walked the creek to where they were doing a big archaeological excavation. There are places along the edge of the prarie where the pocket gophers have made their mounds and placed all the hard objects on top. Sometimes after a good rain you will find perfect arrowheads sitting on their own little pedestalthanks to the pocket gophers. I will post some pics of the prarie in my gallery.

Although I have never been there - I recall it was limited to day hikes - is that the case or are there overnight trails there too?

Gray Blazer
08-18-2006, 12:31
Although I have never been there - I recall it was limited to day hikes - is that the case or are there overnight trails there too?

There is an overnite guided hike. You have to stay with the ranger. Everyone is welcome to pay/stay at the Paynes Prarie Preserve Campground along with the real FL campers with their AC mobile RVees.

flagator
08-18-2006, 14:32
Well I took my girlfriend and myself to Little Talbot today, and enjoyed it very much. I had been there but years ago, and I believe I only seen the beach. But we did the trail loop and ate our little lunch we packed. The trail loop is just under 4 miles, so we added just a bit to it by passing the boardwalk back to ranger station, we went early 8am-maybe 11ish, so the heat wasnt out there just yet, I than took a look at St. George Plantation (or something similiar). But I really just drove through the park and checked it out, nothing looked too interesting. Any how my girlfriend absolutely loved it, and wants to do another longer trip. So that was the whole point of it, to intrigue her. But not only that but to build up the desire to go on future hikes. As i said I plan on doing a weekend trip very soon. I am very interested in checking out all the parks mentioned. Particularly right now im looking at going to O'Leno, Cumberland, the Alachiola which Ewker just mentioned looks cool to. I also was looking into maybe joining you all on your canoe activity at Juniper next weekend, but being a college student i do the majority of my working on weekends. But I will see what i can do, school starts up again in 10 days, so it can be my end of summer bash. thanks!

gravityman
08-18-2006, 14:47
Anyone been here?
Just found it in a guide book I bought yesterday. Never heard of it before.

South of Gainesville. Terrain ranges from open prairie to marsh. The area is loaded with Indian artifacts and bison. This is in Fl?

"10,000 years ago the limestone was eroded. The resulting area was filled in with rich decayed plant matter, creating the most unique area of Fl's vast ecosystem."

I'm sure some of you have been here. Any first hand info?

Hiked all the trails. Standard Florida hiking for the most part... No backcountry sites... Not really that many miles of trail...

gravityman
08-18-2006, 14:49
Juniper is one of the most amazing florida canoe trips you can do. Right near the beginning you will see sand "bubbling" on your left in a sort of inlet. Go stand in that sand. It's an unreal experience. You sink to mid chest... be prepared to get sand everywhere though!

Gravity

flagator
08-18-2006, 15:03
Yeah, Im considering going. I'm more into hiking than I am canoing and kayaking, mainly because I'm afraid of gettin eatin by gators :eek: . I've been canoing several times, recently even but I dont know all that muvch about it and I have no equipment for that.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-18-2006, 15:08
dont need equipment, hiking sucks in fl this time of year, so we canoe and drink beer. Ah, the life....
Come on man. You are welcome to come. No gators that you have to worry about. 1000's of ppl a year use alex and june and no one gets eaten by alligators. Skeeters yes, gators no

flagator
08-18-2006, 15:30
Alright, Well I think I do want to go, I'll do my best to take off for next weekend. I think it should be okay. Also would it be okay to bring my gf along? Eventually we both plan to do a large portion of the AT, or possibly a thru-hike (but time is an issue). So we both definately would love to meet you, and others just to learn first hand, because we both know very little. I mean im embarrassed to say it to you guys, but i dont know all that much about camping other than setting up my tent. but i do have a large heart for the outdoors despite being from Jersey city originally. Anyway so can she come? and if so, is it best that we bring my tent, its a 3 person tent. Or is someone bringing an XT large one we could share, which is better? We are both willing to put more than our fair share towards the campsite of course, Thanks

FLHiker
08-18-2006, 15:42
I'm more into hiking than I am canoing and kayaking, mainly because I'm afraid of gettin eatin by gators :eek:

You may want to reconsider what is safer, I took this picture (http://www.wunderground.com/wximage/viewsingleimage.html?mode=singleimage&handle=JAXnVILLE&number=11&album_id=9&thumbstart=2&gallery=#slideanchor), while out on the Guana River (near Lake Ponte Vedra)!!!

Not far (100 yds) from this guy (and the other 4 gators I saw that day) was a Kayak fisherman just fishing away - he was braver than me!!:eek: (I was in a jon boat)

flagator
08-18-2006, 15:45
That is a BIG BOY! i might flip out, i think alligators and crocs are awesome, but thats from behind the big wood fences at the alligator farm.

FLHiker
08-18-2006, 15:46
Well I took my girlfriend and myself to Little Talbot today, and enjoyed it very much. I had been there but years ago, and I believe I only seen the beach. But we did the trail loop and ate our little lunch we packed. The trail loop is just under 4 miles, so we added just a bit to it by passing the boardwalk back to ranger station, we went early 8am-maybe 11ish, so the heat wasnt out there just yet, I than took a look at St. George Plantation (or something similiar). But I really just drove through the park and checked it out, nothing looked too interesting. Any how my girlfriend absolutely loved it, and wants to do another longer trip. So that was the whole point of it, to intrigue her. But not only that but to build up the desire to go on future hikes. As i said I plan on doing a weekend trip very soon. I am very interested in checking out all the parks mentioned. Particularly right now im looking at going to O'Leno, Cumberland, the Alachiola which Ewker just mentioned looks cool to. I also was looking into maybe joining you all on your canoe activity at Juniper next weekend, but being a college student i do the majority of my working on weekends. But I will see what i can do, school starts up again in 10 days, so it can be my end of summer bash. thanks!

Glad you enjoyed Little Talbot - I think its my favorite day hike here in JAX (that I have found.) The other place you went is Ft. George and Kingsley Plantation (same area) - alot of history there, and some neat trails.

Jeff

Amigi'sLastStand
08-18-2006, 15:55
Bring her along. Bring your tent with you.

flagator
08-18-2006, 16:00
Okay, well Are you going fri/sat or sat/ sun or the entire weekend. Because chances are I can't get both Fri and Sat off. But i could get down there early saturday spend the day and night and leave early afternoon on sunday. Likewise I could go down on friday, spend the day and night and come back early afternoon on saturday. Thanks :)

crane egan
08-18-2006, 16:19
Torreya State park is some of the best hiking I have done in Fl. It more like Georgia than Fl. and clear water. On the subject of foul water in Ocala, I have never had a problem with a filter, yes some of the ponds are not clear but wade out a ways and bring some coffee filters wrap around the end of the hose as a pre-filter. Be aware of gators best to not be messing around in the water early morning and right at dusk.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-18-2006, 16:56
I plan on being there Fri-Sun.

Onealpha
08-19-2006, 19:50
I in no way am trying to derail your thread but since all of you are living in Florida I thought that you might be able to clear up a question I have. I live in West Palm Beach and am trying to find some Everclear. Is it true that it is not sold in Florida? This is what I read on Wikipedia.com. Thanks and I hope you all have a great time. I have been reading your thread for ideas of hikes in FL for the future.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-19-2006, 20:14
Everclear is not sold here, to my knowledge. I have never seen it in any liqour store. You can use 151, but what a freaking waste that would be!

flagator
08-20-2006, 12:03
I'm almost positive you buy everclear online.

Gray Blazer
08-21-2006, 11:01
amigi, I saw your pics.What section was that? Where did you start?Unfortunately, a lot of the Fl trail looks alike.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-21-2006, 11:25
Tosohatchee trail system. Just south of 50 near Christmas. Really growing nicely since the fires. NO WATER though. Thank God I planned on that, somewhat. The water I filtered was undrinkable, even after it rained.

flagator
08-24-2006, 12:19
Hey you guys, I was just cruising the web randomnly and came across this news story on accident. Thought it might interest you.
http://www.jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/082406/D8JMQH9O2.shtml

let me know what you think.

hikerjohnd
08-24-2006, 12:26
Hey you guys, I was just cruising the web randomnly and came across this news story on accident. Thought it might interest you.
http://www.jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/082406/D8JMQH9O2.shtml

let me know what you think.

This is obviously a reaction to the turtle sperm :D:D:D !!!

flagator
08-24-2006, 12:30
I don't even want to think about that! i actually meant to post this in the FL gathering thread. I know its just a rash, but they said some people were going to the hospital. So I they should be warned of the venomous itchy turtle sperm.

Gray Blazer
08-24-2006, 12:31
Hey you guys, I was just cruising the web randomnly and came across this news story on accident. Thought it might interest you.
http://www.jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/082406/D8JMQH9O2.shtml

let me know what you think.

People used to think all our spring water came from hundreds of miles away. Now they are finding that some of it comes from rainfall drainage right here in FL. Example-Some of Ichetucknee water comes from sinkhole drainage around Lake City. Haven't developed one of those rashes myself. Maybe this weekend at Alexander?

Amigi'sLastStand
08-24-2006, 13:11
It's turtle sperm, I say.

Gray Blazer
08-24-2006, 13:54
It's turtle sperm, I say.

Man, that's funny. I wish I had thought of that. See ya Saturday.

Amigi'sLastStand
08-24-2006, 13:59
lol, see ya Sat bro.

stoikurt
08-24-2006, 14:19
Someone mentioned Torreya State Park just north of Bristol, FL. This is one of the favorite places for my Scout troop to go to in the winter for hiking. Over the years I have GPS'd the trail. I'm a map maker so I've made a nice trail map for it. It can be downloaded at my troop's website on teh "Useful Links" page. It's best printed at 11X17. I've also done one for Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin, GA.

http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Meadows/8247/

Happy Hiking!

Amigi'sLastStand
08-24-2006, 15:02
Could ya GPS Tosohatchee State Park? That map needs serious help.

stoikurt
08-24-2006, 15:31
Could ya GPS Tosohatchee State Park? That map needs serious help.

Where's Tosohatchee?
:-?

Amigi'sLastStand
08-24-2006, 16:21
Where's Tosohatchee?
:-?
South side of 50 in Christmas. Beautiful park, double gold medal USFS park, even though its a state park. The area was burned in 04, reblazed wrong, and the map they give you is a photocopy of one from the 80's. Great place. Hate to see it like this.