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Report on 'In Search of the Lightning Bugs - Episode 3'

From: gordyhawkins
Sent on: Monday, June 30, 2014 11:13 AM

June 28, 2014

In Search of the Lightning Bugs, Episode 3
Withlacoochee State Forest, Citrus Tract.  Tillis Hill.

The summer solstice was the previous week.  And here we are off and running into the heat, humidity and late afternoon showers.  The major downpour occurred between 4 pm and 5 pm, then scattered showers to light sprinkling, to no rain and cooler temperatures.  The rain helped enrich the forest's colors.  Couple that with enhanced coloring that occurs during twilight time and the environment was smooth, comfortable, esthetically pleasant and very woodsy.

This was the final summer cookout and forest hike until cooler weather a few months from now. Due to the large number of people interested, and wanting to welcome everyone, we planned to split the group in two, i.e, two hikes happening at the same time.  We did not have time to properly pre-hike one of the routes, so all 28 of us hiked together.  And it was good.  As the comments on meetup indicate, we were a great group: fun and energy and conviviality.

We hiked on horse trails, an FTA blue cross-trail, the Floridan National Scenic Trail and forest roads.   The hike was going to be 6 miles but ended up near 8 - we had to keep extending it so the lightning bugs would arrive. When they did arrive, they were not prolific in numbers, but they were brilliant. Both sides of the road, shooting their deep glow for short, quick darts across the meadow/forest.

Take a look at this: The summer cookout had a wonderful smorgasbord of choices - corn, avocado, cookies, fruit salads, tossed salad, burgers, shrimp; and the post hike Snack Down had dinner leftovers, plus wings, chips, salsas, watermelon and friendly libations. What great contributions.  Thanks everyone and to Sue for organizing it.  The breakfast for those that camped was fantastic as well.

And we are Robby, Wes, Patty J, Effie, Naya, Serena, Alex, Gurvinder, Caitriona, Christina, Kym, Beti, Deborah, Diane, Martin, Jill, Jay, Ted, Marie, Thom, Patty H, Sue, Cathy, Ashley, Dan, Larry, Gordy

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