Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ocala National Forest Backpack (Scrub Jays, Spiders, and Bears, Oh My!!!)

Journey's Start: Outside Juniper Springs

In January a contingent of Florida Tropical Trekkers backpacked through Ocala National Forest along the Florida National Scenic Trail from Juniper Springs to Rodman’s Dam. With the deft planning and leadership of Jim Couillard, this small fellowship successfully completed their journey along nearly fifty miles of longleaf pine sandhills and peninsula inland scrub.

Banana Spider Four Inch Span

Along the way they encountered a variety of flora and fauna, including a charm of scrub jay frolicking trailside in stands of scrub oak. An occasional banana spider and a myriad of unique insects were spotted as well. 

Florida Trekkers Mid-trek

Although frequent and fresh black bear scat was found on the trail, all ursine tales remained second-hand or night-sky inspired.  

Mars and a waxing Moon heralded frigid temperatures on a few nights of the trek, chilling noses and toes. Nevertheless, dry weather, a backpacker’s best friend, permitted the trekkers to saunter (like a bale of turtles) to their destination. 

Ocala National Forest  Campout, Shutdown Notwithstanding
At journey’s end comradery, adventure, and the great outdoors were celebrated with steamy showers and a brick oven of pizzas.

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