Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hike through Gold Head Branch State Park, Florida Trail

The apparition at the end of the trail.  Several months from now I hope to be back here to greet ol' Moss Man again.

This is the start of a new hiking adventure--a southward hike into Florida from the North Georgia mountains.  But just for kicks and wiggles I'm starting by visiting the endpoint and will report the beginning in a couple days.

The adventure is this:  To extend my 'Personal Continuous Footpath' - an uninterrupted string of my footprints on the ground - from the southern end of the Appalachian Trail down into north central Florida via the Benton MacKaye Trail, The Pinhoti Trail, the Great Eastern Trail, and the Florida Trail.

It's about 1200 miles of hiking give or take a hundred or two.  It begins near where my footprints currently come to an end at the southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail and will end, if all goes well, here near Gold Head Branch State Park in Clay County, Florida, east of Gainesville, where I hope to purchase a modest place on a small lake.  The goal of the PCF is to walk to all the places I've ever lived in my life, and in this case I'm starting the walk even before I set up this new residence.

Gold Head Branch State Park features a lush tropical ravine out of which fully formed streams spring from the sand.  It reminds me of some of my favorite lush tropical places in Hawaii except that the crystal clear stream has a white sand bed.

It also features the dry sandy uplands where fire-regulated longleaf pine savanna ecosystems thrive.

And lastly, it is the site of several lakes including this cute sinkhole-created one called Devil's Washbasin, which the Florida Trail passes.

I hiked just a few miles of Florida Trail along with some other trails around the park--just a five mile hike on a steamy August morning, and spotted mid-summer bloom and a few more permanent residents (besides Moss Man).

I'm looking forward to taking in much more, but first it's back north to the mountains of North Georgia where it ought to be cooler.  Stay tuned.

Below is a GPS track of the hike route through the park:

Florida Trail - Gold Head Branch State Park at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Florida

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