Monday, February 7, 2011
Hike 3: Beaver Creek Road to Indian Ford Road - Sunday 1-30-2011
On Sunday, January 30th 2011, five determined hikers took on the longest hike yet on the Florida Trail. We began at about 9:30 am where the FT crosses Beaver Creek Road. In order to prove I was on the hike I made sure my index finger appears in several of the photos. Actually, I used a different camera than I usually use and wasn't as careful as I should have been. The first 1.4 miles followed first along an open cotton field and then through a nice pine stand. When we came to paved McVay road we followed it a few hundred yards to FL HWY 4 and turned west. After 0.3 tenths more we re-entered the woods.
At 3.6 miles we came to a primitive trail shelter This shelter was located fairly close, as the Crow flies, to HWY 4 and I suspect you can hear traffic if you spent the night there. In this same stretch we also came across trail signage letting us know we were on the Jackson Trail. Recall from my last post that the Jackson Trail is so named because Andrew Jackson used it to march 1,200 troops into Florida in a failed effort to remove the Seminole Indians.
The Guidebook warns us that the trail may be wet and muddy but we see little of such as we progress. We do come to a number of bridges and wooden walkways that must span mud at other times in the year, but are dry today.
We soon must hike through an area of recently burned forest. The trail is practically invisible but fortunately the orange blazes are about 100 yards apart and we are able to pick our way across the setting even though their is no trail.
We Cross the paved Sandy Landing Road at 9.0 miles and begin the beautiful part of the hike. As we move off into the woods the trail begins to wind through a Palmetto grove. It is very sandy as we work our way up to "the Bluffs" overlooking Juniper Creek. We are frequently engulfed in overgrowth and must take care not to snag our clothing our hit our heads on the growth and the overhanging limbs of trees. We follow this interesting terrain for several miles until we reach Alligator Road. Along the way we come to a nice shelter and take a short break. Crossing Alligator Road at 14.0 miles we soon reach and interesting bridge spanning Alligator Creek - a feed stream for Juniper Creek. A short 1 mile later we reach our destination for today, Indian Ford Road. We were able to park the car within about 20 yards of the where the trail reaches the road. We've hiked 15.3 miles in about 5 hours for a 2.6+ per mile pace. We seem to be no worse for the wear even though we've upped the mileage a bit.