IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Becoming a member of this Meetup group is not to be assumed as becoming a member in the Florida Trail Association (FTA). Membership in the Florida Trail Association helps us in our efforts to build, protect and promote the Florida National Scenic Trail. FTA membership information is available at https://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/.
This is a Heartland Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA) hiking activity opened to the public. FTA membership is not required to participate.
READ THIS: MINIMUM 2 LITERS OF WATER PER PERSON MANDATORY. NO WATER MINIMUM, NO HIKING WITH THIS GROUP.
DESCRIPTION: This hike is rated as strenuous. This hike will not be agreeable to birders, photographers, or new hikers with New Year's resolutions! This will be a fast paced, head down, one foot in front of the other ten mile hike; five miles to the current end of the active trail and then five miles return. Approximate round trip time is just over 3 hours. We will begin sign-in at 7:00 a.m. Step out on the hike at 7:30 a.m.
The Panther Point Trail is along the east side of Lake Hancock and a longitudinal trail that has just been completed for the first 5 miles running south from the Marshall Hampton Reserve. (Ultimately, this will be a 10-mile trail that will connect with the Fort Fraser Trail at Route US 98.) This beautiful trail winds through pasture land and along lakes (once phosphate mining pits) that are filled with island rookeries for many types of birds. It also features some rolling terrain through shady hammocks, and, of course, offers fantastic vistas through the lush shoreline vegetation across the lake to Circle B Bar Reserve. Along the way is the stunning new bridge that allows for water control between the water-filled pits and the lake. The trail is a flat surface, compacted in places but not paved. The trail follows berms that were created by the mining operation to prevent lake water incursion.
Link to trail map:
Minimum 2 liters of water per person mandatory. No water, no hike!
No bare feet, flip flops, or open-toed footwear.