We claim to be backpackers I think we need to prove it!!!!! Let’s go backpacking in Ocala National Forest from Hopkins Prairie to Juniper Prairie Wilderness. This is a great little trip for budding backpackers only 11 miles over two days. Not to strenuous and not to easy just right. A great way to shake down your gear and blow the dust off of it. So this trip will be open to anyone who has an interest and has the gear, part of the gear, can borrow gear or is willing to purchase gear. For a list of gear click this link (make sure your logged onto the site first) http://files.meetup.com/2712312/coldweatherbackpackingchecklist.pdf And for those of us that are old hat this is a great primer for the up coming season. A great way to shake down our old bodies and blow the dust of them. We will need to don our blaze orange it will be hunting season for most of the state. So uniform of the day is blaze orange hats or vests.
We will meet on Saturday December 14 at 9:00AM at Juniper Springs Recreation area (lats and longs[masked] [masked]) on State road 40 west of state road 19 OUTSIDE THE GATE DO NOT GO INTO THE AREA UNTIL WE ALL HAVE ARRIVED AND DECIDED WHO IS PARKING THERE AND WHO IS SHUTTLING US AND PARKING AT HOPKINS PRAIRIE. Keep in mind that we will have to shuttle these good folks back to there cars at the end. There is a 10.00 dollar cost to park at Juniper it is free at Hopkins. Once we get the shuttling out of the way we can begin our trip which will start at Hopkins Prairie and head south approx. 5 miles to Hidden Pond where we will camp for the night. Hidden Pond is a little oasis in between Juniper and Hopkins which has you guess it, a pond it’s a spring fed pond in a Oak and Pine stand. Here’s what Floridahikes.com say’s about hidden pond “At 5 miles, the trail is atop a high ridge surrounded by scrub, and you can see for a mile or more in every direction. The trail drops down from here to Hidden Pond, one of the more revered spots along the Florida Trail. It’s a crystal-clear spring fed pond, unlike the prairie ponds you’ve passed. The trail comes down a hill to it, and a side trail leads to the right into the camping area, which is nicely canopied by an oak hammock. The camping area is on a slight ridge between the pond and a large prairie, ensuring a cool breeze most of the time. Scrub-jays and raccoons frequent this popular designated backcountry campsite.”
On Sunday we will continue to Juniper Springs approx. 5.5 miles were we can jump in the spring if you are daring enough.
If you have any questions please email me I get them faster.
Average temperature for this time of year is 72 day 47 overnight.
Hope to see you there, Donald.
This hike is in memory of my dog Shadow (Puppy) whom I lost today October[masked] who took her first backpacking trip here at Hopkins.