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The Yearling Trail

Walk the landscape and discover the history that inspired Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Yearling in 1938, on Pat’s Island in the Ocala National Forest. In the fall of 1876, Reuben and Sara Jane Long established a homestead on Pat’s Island, a high spot in the Big Scrub. Shaded by longleaf pine and turkey oak, they grew sugar cane and corn, peas, beans, and watermelon, a frontier existence for a hardy family. Their son Melvin found and adopted a fawn he named Dogwood. More than 50 years later, author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings spent time at the Long homestead and learned about the fawn. It inspired her to write The Yearling, her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. When the novel became a movie, Pat’s Island became a set for some of the scenes. Now part of the Ocala National Forest, Pat’s Island is a shady place in the desert-like scrub, with historical artifacts from the Long family waiting to be discovered—remains of homesteads, a cistern, a cattle dip vat, and the family frontier cemetery. The Florida Trail runs along the western side of the island, but The Yearling Trail provides easier access and your choice of two loops to explore this literary and historic site.
Length of Trail: 6 miles
Admission Fee: Free
Note: A lot of people enjoy this hike because it has a lot of purpose and meaning, however, it is deep in the forest so please plan accordingly - make sure you have plenty of gas, food, and water.
Carpooling: For those of you that would like to carpool, lets meet at the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center on SR 40 and SR 314A at 11:00.
Directions: Take Rte. 40 East. Follow SR 40 past Juniper Springs. Turn left onto SR 19 North. The trail will be about 6 miles ahead on your left.

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  • Sandra F.

    The Yealing Trail hike was most enjoyable: the weather was beautiful, and the company was good. I enjoyed meeting new people, and hope to see them again on future hikes.

    January 24, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was my first event with the Ocala Social & Hiking Group, and I must say, I was VERY impressed with the group. Such a warm, friendly, welcoming bunch. I can't wait for the next hike!

    January 24, 2011

  • Rick T.

    A great bunch of people all enjoying a beautiful day out walking I am only sorry the rest of the group left when we reached the parking lot. Look at the last photos that I posted for the "late arrival".

    January 24, 2011

  • Linda D.

    We had a lovely time walking on this trail! The highlight of this trip was the sinkhole. It was about 100 feet deep. We also saw a variety of birds - lots of scrub jays, mockingbirds, and woodpeckers.

    January 23, 2011

  • Sandra F.

    Sunday afternoon is great. I am looking forward to this..

    January 11, 2011

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