Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hiking Seminole Ranch – Puzzle Lake and Lake Loughman

Completely surrounded with swampy wetlands, I picked a good day for this area. There was enough wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay; unfortunately, the biting flies weren't phased.

To get to this trail, you have to drive down a long long washboard dirt road.  It is well traveled, so don't worry about the fact it isn't paved.  My plan was to take the first balloon trail that I saw on Florida Hikes but I never saw turn number 1 or turn number 3, so I ended up having my own adventure.

The hike started out very nice - a beautiful area on a beautiful day.  The path was really more of a forest road, but it was firm, grassy, and comfortable to walk on.  Along the first part of the trail the flowers were in bloom and there were butterflies and bumble bees all over. 

There's a lot of wildlife out here, but most of the critters stayed hidden.  I saw a lot of racoon and deer tracks, as well as some tracks that looked like a small dog (fox maybe)?  At one point on the trail I thought I saw one of the Florida "wild cows" grazing, but when it lifted its head I could see it was one of the biggest deer I've seen around here.

The second third of the hike was disappointing.  A lot of the trail was torn up from heavy equipment.  It seems that they were harvesting palm trees.  Usually I avoid trails that require wading, but there was one spot that left no choice (other than turning back).  The stream crossed the trail and there was no area that I could just jump over.

The final third was pretty much uneventful.  A long walk down most of the same road I drove down.  I did fit in one detour out to the Loughman Lake area to see a bridge.  Sure wish there were some benches on there; I might have stuck around a little longer to watch the airboats that were passing by.

Time to go wading
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Andy said...

The plot thickens... it's starting to look like I hiked through an illegal palm tree harvest. Not a small job either, as you can see from the photos.

I emailed the info to the SJWMD - we'll see what they say.

Andy said...

Good news - nothing nefarious happening. They were harvesting palm trees, but it was part of a plan to create a fire break.