Sunday morning, Sandy and I hiked the final miles of my wild and not so wild Seminole County section of the Florida Trail. It was a beautiful and well maintained segment of trail, leading us through Mills Creek Woodlands after a short roadwalk on a quiet dead end road.
We entered the woods, wandering through floodplain forests, sand pine scrub, and pine flatwoods. There were lots of bogs, but there were bridges and boardwalks! We emerged with not a wet boot between us. Yes, I’m still recovering from the swamp.
With a few nice water sources, and the very nice Wiley Dykes Sr. campsite, Lou and Rachael and the rest of the FTA Orlando Central Chapter trail crew have done a wonderful job on this thin strip of forest land. I noticed a couple of hidden, unmarked camping spots not far from a couple of the water sources, which give thru-hikers a few more camping options before they reach the urban trails for the next couple of days.
After spending last weekend in Quebec’s sub-freezing weather, it was wonderful to be back hiking in Florida’s 70*F winter. Sandy reminded me that a week ago today, we were wearing every piece of clothing we had while dogsledding. Yes, here’s another good opportunity to remind everyone why this is the best time of the year to be hiking in Florida.
We’d placed vehicles at both ends of the hike, which turned out to be longer than we’d thought. After a long and crooked walk on top of a heavy duty boardwalk, we arrived at our second vehicle and drove to lunch at the Town House Restaurant in downtown Oviedo. Being just a few steps from the Florida Trail and serving great home cooked meals, it is one of our favorite places to eat, and a place where we send our hiking friends.
Today, I loved hiking again! Walking through oaks and pines with a good footpath below my feet and Sandy there with me. On the roadwalk we walked hand in hand. For me, hiking is best when shared. Thank you, Sandy, for showing me this.
Completing Seminole County means I have to make up my mind to continue north or south of home to fill in more miles on the Florida Trail. Heading south places me within a short drive of my parents, who live just a few blocks from “AWOL,” author of The AT Guide. Heading north will have me walking into Camp La-No-Che, my boyhood summer camp, after just a couple of days. Either way, it’ll be fun!