In Search of the Lightning Bugs: Episode 2 - Night Hike
When: Saturday June 15, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m. Hiking daylight to dusk to dark.
Where: Holder Mine Campground, Citrus Tract, Withlacoochee State Forest.
Distance: Approximately 7 miles, point to point with an extension.
What to bring: insect repellent, moon screen, one quart water (we will replenish at mile 4), snack, flashlight with new batteries, camping gear and food if you want to camp.
Last year's episode went well. We discovered that lightning bugs were a scarce commodity in April. But this year will be different. A new route and we will be going in June.
We will start at Holder Mine and end at Mutual Mine with a route like this: Holder to Mutual along rarely used trails, paths, traces, hunters' paths and forest roads. At Mutual Mine rest area, we will replenish our water supplies and then follow the blue blaze along the berm to the orange loop; then return to Mutual Mine on the same berm and where the cars will be for transport back to Holder. Due to the late hour we will not be stopping for any lengthy breaks or sandwich breaks.
This year's pre-hike produced a masterpiece. We were walking on the blue path along the berm with gorges along both sides. There were no lightning bugs on the path, but along the side of the berm, in the gorges and as high as head level were at least 12,000 of them sparkling and illuminating the sides of the trail. It was phenomenal. This is it! The real deal! Who's in?
Camping for all who want. $20 per site, two tents allowed per site, $10 if 65+. There are no reservations but the campground should have ample sites. There are hot showers.