Friday, December 30, 2016

Biking the Lake Apopka Loop Trail

Years ago I read the Xanth series by Piers Anthony; it’s a fantasy series set in a land that one quickly figures out to be Florida.  Among the land marks (and bad puns / word twists) is a great body of water called Lake Tsoda Popka.  That is the area for this day’s bike ride.

Andy with bikes-1
Andy with the bikes

We started our trip at Magnolia Park, on the east side of Lake Apopka; we couldn’t have asked for a better day for a ride.  On the first few miles of the trip, there were a lot of birds along the trail – especially Anhinga sunning themselves.

Snake Head Flying-3Snake Head Flying-1
Anhinga Flying

Historic Pump House-2At about the 3-mile mark, the bike trail passes a historic pump house – I’m not sure about the age, but looking in the windows, we could see that it still has three large (and fairly modern) diesel pumps that look like they are still maintained and used.  Also at the pump house is a covered picnic area – this was also our stop on the return trip for our picnic lunch.Big gator by trail

Of course no trip around a Florida lake (or river) is complete without at least one alligator sighting.  On this trip we spotted four of them on the side of the trail.  The biggest was easily more than twice as big around as me.  He was probably at least twelve feet long, and pretty much qualifies for “dinosaur” status in my book.  He stayed still while we took a couple of photos before moving on, which was nice.  Many times these giants prefer to jump back in the water when there are people around.

We turned around at about the 9 mile mark, about 5 miles before the trail ends at the Clay Island Trailhead.  We headed back to the pump house picnic area for lunch and to for a chance to give our rear ends a rest from the bicycle seats.  While there, we watched a Great Blue Heron defend it’s nest from and Anhinga who thought he could take up residence there.

1-Blue Heron returning home
Blue Heron coming home to find an unwelcome house guest.
2-Blue Heron threatens intruder
First the heron flew in with a threatening posture.
3-Blue Heron sparring
Then he landed and started sparring with the anhinga
4-Blue Heron winning
It didn’t take long for the anhinga to get the point that his presence wasn’t wanted

5-Intruder flies offAfter only a few moments, the anhinga flew off leaving the heron as the victor.

This is another nice trail and is a great afternoon ride in the winter.  There’s not a lot of shade on this trail, so morning or evening would probably be nice during the summer.  The trail is covered with hard packed clay/sand with no soft spots to bog down tires, but it is a little bumpy.  If you head out this way, make sure to bring a camera and be ready to stop for some great views.

The full photo album is on Shutterfly

Powered by Wikiloc

  Tina & Andy-1

No comments: