Saturday October 15, 2011
FCAT Hike, Approx 8 miles
Citrus Tact of Withlacoochee State Forest
59 degrees start, 74 degrees finish
Areas hikers represented: Gulfport, Homosassa Springs, Land O Lakes, Leesburg, Madeira Beach, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Spring Hill, Winter Springs
From: Gordy Hawkins, Activity Leader
I checked the roster before leaving the house at 6:15 a.m. to see the final count for the day's hike. !4 registered. Now a difficult situation arose that I wasn't expecting: three people forgot to bring three #2 pencils with clean erasers. Can you believe it? How can anyone forget their pencils for the FCAT? As unpleasant as it was, there was nothing else that could be done than to send the three home. Eleven remained to take the FCAT. The hike was point to point from near the cemetery on Stage Coach Road south and then north to eventually end at Tillis Hill Camping/Day Area.
Several months ago I led this hike with friends. We hiked leisurely and had a great day. Then the hike took 4 hours and 15 minutes. There will be other days to have relaxing hikes, which I really enjoy, but not today. Today's objective was different, it was to test our conditioning. It is good to test one's conditioning from time to time. We would hike steady with minimal stopping. We would attempt to maintain a reasonable pace even while going up the unreasonable and numerous hills. These hikers took this objective seriously. After about 2 1/2 miles I had to stop to remove some sand spurs from my socks. Ann took the lead. When I looked up, the group was out of sight, and hike as I may, I could only catch them when they slowed up at road crossing 1/2 mile later. From the youngest hiker (William) to the oldest (me), all hikers faced the challenge and successfully completed the FCAT. Per Hal's legs, the final hill reminded them that it was 1976 when he last tested those muscles. The hike took 2 hours and 53 minutes. For me, and I hope the same for the others, it was a great day.
Note: 1) On an uphill just north of Lizzie Hart Sink, scrub brush encroaches the hiking trail for a short section. It was here that Michael YELLED. And then said in in a low, low voice, "Two fangs in the back of my leg." I didn't get the rest of the story because I had sprinted 30 yards ahead.
2) By the way, I really did not send three folks home, they must have been unable to attend.
And we were: Ann, Michael, Marcus. Hal, Heidi, Susan, William, Sean, Leah, Debby, Gordy
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