On our way to Doe Lake for New Years, I looked at Google Maps and saw the most efficient route was one we’d never taken before, using CR 44. As we rounded a curve, I noticed a trailhead for a trail we’d never heard of. Since it was only a half hour from home, we made plans to stop on our next trip.
Lake May Preserve was a surprise. Starting out on the trail system, it didn’t impress, with its old citrus groves and planted pines and climax sandhill forest. But then, about a half mile in, we hit the mossy places.
A mix of scrub and sandhill, these were delightfully mossy indeed. A few Florida rosemary cheered us immensely.
Emerging at an old grove on Lake May, we stuck with taking the long perimeter trail. It was the right choice.
It’s a shame to see citrus go to waste on public lands like this. I thought it might be cool to have volunteers pick these for food bank use, but I don’t know how that might go over with the land manager. I know their ultimate goal is to remove the groves and restore the habitats. But it would be nice to see the invasive species gone first. Seeing camphor trees girdled meant they’d started that effort.
The trail led through a variety of habitats, from scrub to oak hammock to sandhill, as it circled the lake.
The final push was uphill through the older citrus groves, where gopher tortoises took up residence in several spots. In all, the hike was slightly under two miles but extremely satisfying for both terrain and habitat diversity.