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.
All activities listed are sponsored by the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Trail Association. Unless otherwise specified, there are no fees to participate, and you need not be an FTA member.
It is our hope though that those who regularly enjoy our activities will see value in supporting our efforts by joining FTA, being part of our community, and volunteering for trail maintenance when needed.
The Suncoast Chapter serves members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. With over 700 members we are the Florida Trail Association's largest chapter. We work in cooperation with the US Forest Service, State Forest Service, SWFWMD, and other land owners to keep the Florida Trail and designated side trails open for recreational use.
The chapter regularly maintains over 200 miles of trail and offers recreational events throughout the region.
The Suncoast Chapter maintains The Florida Trail between US 98 north of Lakeland and Hernando, including all of the Withlacoochee State Forest. The chapter also maintains 10 Loop trails: Citrus, Croom, Green Swamp West, Hillsborough River State Park, Little Manatee State Park, Myakka River State Park, Potts Preserve, Richloam, Upper Hillsborough WMA, and Withlacoochee River Park.
Our hikes are not restricted to FTA designated or maintained trails.
ASSUMPTION OF RISK
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.
I will and do hereby assume the above mentioned risks and will hold Florida Trail Association and its Activity Leaders harmless from any and all liability and claims of every kind and nature whatsoever, which may arise from or in connection with my participation in with my participation in these activities. I also agree that any photographs taken of me during these activities may be used to publicize the Florida Trail Association.
By joining the this Suncoast Chapter Meetup Group you are agreeing to the assumption of risk as stated above.