Friday, April 24, 2015

Hiking Withlacoochee State Forest–Part of FNST “A” Loop

Kiosk at trail headOur third hike for the weekend was along part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.  This one also started with the same portion of the path that our other two trips took; I thought that I ought to include a photo of the trailhead kiosk in one of these hikes, so there it is.  As with most kiosks, this one has a map that shows “You are here”, but this one also includes paper maps that can be taken for use during a hike.

A loop intersectionWe headed up the blue spur trail to the intersection for the “A” loop, but this time we turned to the right which followed the orange blazes north, and then northeast until the trail crossed Forest Rd. 8. and then it took us to a smaller forest road (I believe it was numbered “9a” after looking at another map).  Here things got a little strange.

Uphill trail

I usually have an excellent sense of direction, but as we looked at the trail continuing up the hill, we thought we could take a short cut by following this small forest road to the west where we would eventually intersect with the orange blazed trail again.  After hiking for about five minutes though, I looked at my GPS and saw that we were heading north…  that didn’t feel right, so I asked Tina to look at her compass.  It also said we were heading north.  I think we entered a portion of the forest that must overlap the Bermuda Triangle, because I still felt like we were heading west; I can’t remember the last time my internal compass was 90 degrees off.

Trail road tunnelSince I wasn’t sure where this might cross the Florida Trail again (it would have after another half mile or so if it continued to the north), we decided to retrace our steps to the spot where we left the trail. 

Once we got there we reoriented ourselves and decided that it was getting late enough to head back, so we continued along this forest road until it took us back to Forest Rd. 8 where we headed west back to the spot where we originally crossed the road.

The “A” loop, if followed the way we were headed, passes by Bull Sink, and then by Five Mile Pond where the “A-B Cross Trail” can be taken southward to intersect with the trail that we took towards Jeep Cave.  It works to about an 8.5 mile hike with that path, but the hike that we did was only about 5 miles.  It’s a pretty area to explore, so we’ll have to come back and do the full loop on another day.

As usual, the technical details of the hike as well as the location of the pictures and a spot to download the hike to a GPS are available by clicking “Trip details” at the bottom of the map.

Trail view - orange blazesTwo twisty pines

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