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Hike Stagecoach Pond to the Withlacoochee "caves"

Join us for a 5.5 mile hike on the FTA D loop through the beautiful karst topography of the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest.  We will hike past Stagecoach Pond, Lizzy Hart Sink, and view the famous caves near Forest Rd. 22.  We will shuttle cars so we can hike straight through to the caves.  We will meet up at the brown sign for Tillis Hill Recreation Area at the intersection of Forest Rd. 13 and County Rd. 480 (Stagecoach Rd).

Please bring 1-2 qts. of water, a rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellent, lunch, snacks, and sturdy hiking shoes. We will eat lunch on the trail.  No dogs please on this hike.

**Please note that after the hike is over, you can explore the caves on your own.  FL Division of Forestry requires that any group leader to the caves have a cave exploration permit which I do not have.  So once the hike breaks up, you are welcome to do your own exploration.

**  After the hike, you are welcome to come to my home for a bonfire, snacks, and cold drinks.  I live just 2 miles away from Stagecoach Pond.

Directions coming from I-75:  Get off at Brooksville exit or St.Rt. 50.  Go west to Brooksville approx. 10 miles.  At the second traffic light, turn right onto Rt. 41  Go north on Rt. 41 about 3 miles and turn left onto Snow Memorial Highway or County Rd. 481.  Stay on Rt. 481 for about 7 miles (the Rt. # changes to 581 once you cross into Citrus County--just to CONFUSE everyone).  Turn left onto Stagecoach Rd. or Rt. 480 and go about 3 miles. Watch for the Tillis Hill Recreation sign on the right. We will meet at the intersection of Rt. 480 and Forest Rd. 13 where people turn to go to Tillis Hill. I will be at this intersection with my gold Toyota pick-up truck and a sign for 50+ Meet-up.  I will have my cell phone on early in the morning if anyone needs help finding Rt. 480.  My cell phone # is[masked]-3921.  I don't have the internet at my home, so will not be able to respond to any e-mails after 3:00 p.m. Friday Feb. 14th.  If you need to reach me after that, please call.

Directions from I-75 (Ocala or Gainesville areas):

Get off I-75 on Rt. 44 and go west to Inverness.  Follow Rt. 44 through Inverness and stay in the left hand lane. Watch for an Applebee's restaurant at about the 6th traffic light.  Turn left on Rt. 581 (which goes right by the entrance for Applebee's and go about 8 miles.  Turn right on County Rd. 480 or Stagecoach Road.  Go about 4 miles and watch for the sign for Tillis Hill.

 

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  • Marcie C.

    Hi everyone,
    So glad everyone enjoyed the hike.. you were a great group to take into the woods! It was my pleasure to host the "after hike" socializing at my home. I was delighted some of you were able to come and relax after our hike. I will post my pictures in about 1 hour.
    Hope to see you all again soon!

    1 · February 24, 2014

  • Ted K.

    nice pic's Ginger and Ann ...thanks

    February 23, 2014

  • Arlene/Marty Winick-DYNAMIC D.

    I've enclosed the url for you to click on to see yesterday's adventure. Please enjoy. Arlene
    http://adventures.garmin.com/en-US/by/martywinick/feb-22-14-citrus-caves-to-stagecoach-pond-with-marcie/#overview

    1 · February 23, 2014

    • Ann

      Very cool link!!

      1 · February 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great job Marcie, thank you for organizing this hike. Very nice hike except for the five minutes of rain right after we got started. Enjoyed the get together at Marcie's after the hike. Too bad Ginger and I were the only ones crazy enough to brave the caves. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

    1 · February 22, 2014

    • Arlene/Marty Winick-DYNAMIC D.

      Certainly did. Hope to crawl in a few of them at another time on our own. You did miss the libations at Marcie's. Arlene

      February 23, 2014

  • Arlene/Marty Winick-DYNAMIC D.

    Very interesting part of the Citrus-Withlacoochee Forest area. Had never seen many of these caves.

    February 23, 2014

  • Arlene/Marty Winick-DYNAMIC D.

    Marty & I thank you for your hospitality yesterday. It was the end of a perfect day. Looking forward to next year when you'll be a "woman of leisure" & hopefully will lead a great many more hikes!

    1 · February 23, 2014

  • Roger

    Thanks for your leadership Marcie and for adding interesting info along the hike. I really enjoyed the trail and getting to know many of the people who were there.

    February 23, 2014

  • Ginger

    Marcie, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of natural Florida with us. The hike was beautiful and unique with the hikes and sinks.

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Ann

    Ditto, Ted. Just can't say how much I enjoyed the hike, folks, sharing. Thank-you, Marcie and Mitch!!

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Ted K.

    Perfect day ... thanks to all ..... Great job Marcie and Mitch

    February 22, 2014

  • Duane E.

    I apologize for the late notice but we have the granddaughter this weekend. Last minute notice as usual. I was really looking forward to this hike and hope to make the next one. Hopefully someone else will be able to take my spot. Have fun!

    February 21, 2014

  • Tim

    I have to be on a jobsite now. Would love the opportunity to do this hike soon. Sounds like a great one.

    February 21, 2014

  • Duane E.

    Hi Marcie,
    I'm glad to be off the waiting list. I'm looking forward to my first hike.

    February 21, 2014

  • Arlene/Marty Winick-DYNAMIC D.

    Hi Marcie, I assume this is a "rain or shine" hike? Calling for rain all morning. arlene

    February 21, 2014

  • Ann

    Marcie, I'm really looking forward to this hike. I'll be driving up from Bradenton. May or may not be able to hang out afterwards, but I sure appreciate the offer and hospitality!

    February 19, 2014

  • maggie s.

    I'm just joining now and coming Sat. as Patrice's guest. I have a friend with a 16 year old who would like to go as well. Can she sign up and bring him as a guest? Looking forward to this and much more hiking, etc.

    February 19, 2014

  • lois v.

    I will be in Cedar Keys. please take me off the wait list.

    February 18, 2014

  • Kimberly

    Yay., my first time too! I cant wait!

    February 17, 2014

  • Carol C.

    This will be my first hike with this group. I am really looking forward to exploring the outdoors and meeting new friends

    1 · January 29, 2014

  • Kanina K.

    My daughter and I just explored these caves last saturday with the MOSI homeschool group.. It was awesome! Each person going into the caves will want to bring a flashlight. Small head lamps are best and fresh batteries. I'll post a couple photos for those who have never been to the caves. Not sure if we can make it yet.

    2 · January 29, 2014

  • Mary Ann K.

    Would love to go but have to work. Hope you do this one again.

    January 29, 2014

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