Saturday December 5th 2020
For a day that began cloudy and gloomy it turned out to be a beautiful day. Around ten or eleven this morning the clouds started to break and a bright sunny low seventies day emerged.
I hiked part of the General James A Van Fleet State trail today. The trail is a paved section of former railroad tracks used for bicycling and hiking. It extends 29.2 miles from Polk City Florida near Interstate 4 to just west of Clermont Florida on state route 50. I explored most of the trail during the winter of 2015-2016. Today I was in the area of the trail without my bicycle and decided to hike a portion of the trail.
Besides the two ends of the trail there are two access points that break the trail into thirds. Today’s hike was along the middle third of the trail north of Green Pond Road. I walked north on the trail about three miles and returned to my car. I was concerned my lack of any recent long hikes would result in two tired feet, but the six mile total was an easy excursion.
The hike started through cattle ranches and continued through swamp land with tall pine trees lining the path. It wasn’t too busy. An occasional biker would pass, but I only saw one other hiker. The sound of birds and dogs at a distant ranch echoed along the way, but it wasn’t until I got to the bridges crossing flowing water that I found any significant wildlife. In a log surrounded by water two large turtles were taking the sun. At the next bridge a family of alligators occupied the shallows. I’m not sure they were a family, but there was one big alligator and lots of little ones. On my return to the car I spotted one scurrying gopher tortoise. Overall it was a nice hike.