Obstacles, Options, Decision, Hike How great a feeling to not be rushing and arrive at the hike with just a comfortable 'looking-forward-to-it " attitude That lasted all of about 15 seconds. OBSTACLES: The property is managed by SWFWMD; Florida Fish and Wildlife regulations govern hunting. Today a "Special Opportunity General Gun Season" hunt day was scheduled. We could hike the Florida National Scenic Trail but could not walk on the road to get back to the cars. Following only the trail would add close to 4 miles to the hike. And then I heard "BAM! BAM! BAM!" Okay, it is a big gun hunt. It is not recommended to hike during big/general gun season; hike at your own risk is the standard policy at those times. OPTIONS: Skip hiking (not really a choice), do another hike in another area, or do a hybrid hike and ad lib the options as the hike continues. Choice three was taken. Mitch Almon, section leader for the Richloam Tract which borders the Green Swamp on the north, was called. He said there was no hunting there at this time, just trapping.
DECISION: start the hike at the original starting point which is in Richloam, hike the two miles to the connection with the Green Swamp Trail, all the time paying attention for gunshots off in the distance. If no gunshots were heard, we would continue for about 3 miles along the Green Swamp Trail and then return on an out and back hike for a total of approx 10.5 miles. And we lucked out, no gunshots were heard.
HIKE: Our route was a beautiful area with changing environments: swamp with cypress trees and cypress knees, giant cypress trees and giant cypress knees, prairie, scrub, pine trees, oaks, river path, fence crossing and creek crossing (twice). About that creek crossing: two options, the shorter crossing on mildly wobbly logs and rocks over shallower water, or the longer crossing over a fallen tree in deeper water using walk, crawl, or sit down and scoot. Most chose the shorter crossing. I want to thank the group for their flexibility and good nature. Two qualities that made the hike very enjoyable. And we are: Martin, Arlene, Carol, Donna, Diane, Josef, Mike N., Jim T., Elizabeth, Bob, Jim E., Tracy, Del, Andy, Mike M., Sue, Susan, Bud, Marilyn, Ralph, 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.
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.
By joining the this Suncoast Chapter Meetup Group you are agreeing to the assumption of risk as stated above.