Grab Your Knapsack - Time to Hit Hog Island - 8.8 mile - May 5, 2012 Hike report from my perspective What started out with an unpleasant need to rush and test the speed limits to get to Hog Island in time turned out to be one easy-goin' Saturday morning hike. A really good group of folks who were there because they like hiking. The good atmosphere and attitudes continued throughout the four hour hike.
The hike started with me forgetting where the hike started, i.e., where's the blaze? But once on track the day proceeded with conversation and observation. The trail is quite thick with vegetation compared to the Croom and Citrus trails. There were magnolias, long leaf pine, loblolly, slash pine and sweet gum (thanks to Dean for the information he shared). Palmetto thickets crowded together between the trees. Cypress trees and cypress knees galore were in the lower grounds.
The turn-around point was at the Iron Bridge Rest Area on the eastern bank of the Withlacoochee River. It was a relaxing shaded area with a grassy slope that met the river at a narrow strip of sand; we enjoyed lunch there (at least I enjoyed mine). In the river to our left were several ibises (those white birds with long legs and down-curved bills that are dark pink). After some time, something must have disturbed them as they took flight, their black tipped wings flapping with elegance. After 20 minutes or so it was time to head back to the trail.
Someone commented on the return trip about the significant difference in temperature between the hotter open areas compared to the canopied forest. But the reward of being in the hotter open areas was worth it - the yellow flowers of the prickly pear cacti, now opened in the late morning sunlight, were magnificent.
After the hike, we celebrated with sweet watermelon (thanks to Linda Dawson for the idea). It was a good time to gather and relax after the hike. As I said, it was one easy-goin' Saturday morning hike.Note: There were more ticks at the Hog Island trail than lightning bugs at Citrus Forest - just kidding.
And we are: Patty, Thom, Mike, Charles, Fran, Dean, Quinn, Tracy, Jonathan, Patrick and Gordy
This group is designed for people who love to get outdoors to hike, backpack, paddle, and give back by way of volunteer trail maintenance.
Joining this Meetup does not constitute membership in the FTA and unless specifically mentioned, you are not required to hold an FTA membership to participate. Events which are FTA Members Only will be clearly indicated.
The Suncoast Chapter serves the over 500 FTA members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. We maintain The Florida National Scenic Trail between US 98 north of Lakeland and Hernando.
Within these boundaries we also maintain a section of the Florida Trail Western Corridor which encompasses the Citrus, Croom, Richloam Tracts within Withlacoochee State Forest, and Green Swamp West, as well as popular loop trails within these tracts.
Trail systems that we also are responsible for include Hillsborough River State Park, Little Manatee State Park, Myakka River State Park, Potts Preserve, Upper Hillsborough WMA, and Withlacoochee River Park.
Our chapter regularly maintains over 200 miles of trail and offers recreational, and volunteer work events throughout the region.
We work in cooperation with the US Forest Service, State Forest Service, SWFWMD, DEP, and other land managers to keep the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Western Corridor, and designated side trails open for recreational use.
We sponsor many events on non FTA designated land tracts, trail systems and waterways.
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Certain risks are inherent in any Florida Trail Association, Inc (the "Association") activity. Each Association member, guest, or non-member participant agrees to accept personal responsibility for his or her safety, and the safety of minors accompanying such persons.
The Association cannot ensure the safety of any participants on hikes or activities. In participating in Association activities, each such person agrees to hold harmless and free from blame the Activity Leader(s) and the Association, its officers, directors, and members, for any accident, injury, or illness which might be sustained from participating in hikes or other Association activities. Neither the Association, Activity Leaders, nor land managers are in any way liable for any injury or illness I might sustain from participating in an Association activity.
By joining the this Suncoast Chapter Meetup Group you are agreeing to the assumption of risk as stated above.