|Evening Primrose growing in Longleaf Pine Savanna, with glimpses of Hurricane Lake in the background.|
"Key West or Bust" - Day 51
It's great to be hiking in Florida, finally, after anticipating it for so long.
And now that I'm here, Florida is delivering pretty much everything I expected. The weather is Florida-like--warm and humid even here in mid-late November. The flora and fauna are reminiscent of my coastal North Carolina haunts, but even more 'southern', the sandy 'geology', and the general flatness of the trail are typical for Florida. But was not typical for me, after 180 miles of road walk through Alabama, was the chance to spend an entire day hiking in the wild, away from vehicles and civilization.
I hiked about sixteen miles today, and my path took me alongside Hurricane Lake, where the trail walks across the dam and provides views like this.
It's a peaceful place, surrounded by peaceful woods. Here's my favorite view;
Then later in the day the trail came within touching distance of the Blackwater River itself.
There were big cedars that seem to grow only along the river banks, and every bend in the River has big white sand 'beaches' - sand bars that invite the hiker to lounge and take a dip, though the water was a bit too chilly for me.
In terms of special interest sights, the fall bloom of wildflowers has not abated, as shown up top. And I continue to be impressed by the sculptures that fire creates in the woods. Here is nature's version of a 'Totem Pole'.
The Florida experience is just beginning. I'm sure there will be ups and downs, sections that seem boring and tedious, and sections full of surprise and adventure. But if the first full day is any indication, it should be a memorable walk.
Below is a map of today's route, with links to some more photos:
Blackwater River and Hurricane Lake at EveryTrail
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