Showing posts with label Exploring Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exploring Florida. Show all posts

March 28, 2021

Some Recent Florida Hijinks

Catching up on Lost Time...

Hadn't posted in a little bit, but we've been active here in Northeast Florida. Not necessarily fishing all the time, but all in the outdoors vein.

A Walk in the Woods

Two weekends ago I spent some time walking around the Timucuan Trail in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. That's a quite a mouthful I know, we just call it "GTM" around here.

GTM is where I'd often launch my kayak, when I did that sort of thing. That being said, I haven't in a while, but I thought I'd return to take a nice walk around some of the trails. It's a winding sandy path with a few different loops... most of it is fortunately in the shade, but there are some open marshlands as well as intercoastal coastline that it also parallels.

In all, it was quite a nice outing. One I'd like to do again in the future. I did the middle loop, but there's quite a bit more to explore to both the north and south, as well as what looked like some primitive camping opportunities.

A Little Pond Fishing...

Since last I posted, I also did a little bit of fishing... messing around in one of the local retention ponds. I used my Tenkara USA Sato along with a new floating line from Tanuki. It was really a nice casting line that I'll probably write a little more about over at Tenkara Angler

Anyway, this was the first outing where I REALLY started to notice that the mosquitoes were back, so that was a bit unfortunate. I guess I'm back to sun screen and bug dope before any future fishing outings...

And Some Cleaning Up...

Last weekend, Lilly & I got up early on Saturday morning do participate in the St. Johns River Cleanup. She went to get some community service credit for school and I went just to get outdoors (plus, somebody needed to take her and it wasn't going to be my wife!)

I'll give the kid credit, she did a great job metaphorically rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty. She was picking stuff up left and right, wasn't afraid to climb through the brush in pursuit of trash, and even handled the "gross" stuff well. We got four big trash bags full of trash, and also picked an old tire out of the woods.

The one thing we didn't pick was this guitar case and machete. There's a few homeless people that live in the park we were at, and we just didn't want to disturb something that was purposely left behind. Also didn't want to take what was potentially somebody's night time protection. We did tell the organizers and showed them what we found though and decided to leave it in their hands.

Outside of that, Lilly has fun observing some of the feral cats that also live in the park. It's evidently a community of about a dozen or so that are all "fixed" and that the neighbors have permission to feed... so they do. A few raccoons also assimilated themselves into the cat posse, which Lilly was very entertained by witnessing... and photographing.

Anyway, that's about it for now. That being said, I do have a few fishy things on the horizon that I'm sure I'll be mentioning in short order. So hopefully, not so quiet in the future. I'm already well ahead of last year's blogging pace, so I'm feeling good about my efforts to revive Troutrageous! so far. Guess we'll see how long it lasts...

Oh, and here's a bonus picture of a squirrel from the backyard patio. Not the best table manners on this one, huh?

January 4, 2021

Wandering Through the Woods

 A Walk in the Park...

Sunday morning was nice and cool in Jacksonville. It was overcast, a bit misty, and in the low 60s. Just a lovely temperature to be outside. Yes, I could have gone fishing, but I didn't. Instead, stretching the legs felt appropriate, and I took a leisurely hike on the sandy trails of the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve about ten minutes from my house.

One of the nice things about living in an area that's being (perhaps too rapidly) developed is at least they've been good about keeping greenspaces open for recreational activities. This little cache of nature is bordered on most sides by shopping centers and residential neighborhoods, but once your inside, you'd never know it.

Here are few photos from the five mile loop I took. Unfortunately, didn't see much wildlife, but it's not uncommon to see tortoises, turkey, or deer back there.

Related Suburban Development Note:

When I moved to Jacksonville and got a kayak, the first place I broke it in at was the Durbin Creek, which is part of the Bartram Canoe Trail, as mentioned in this post from back in the day. Well, back then, the creek was accessible down a gravel road that ran right off the main road down to the water. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, that gravel road is gone as there's now a fancy overpass going over the creek and each side is gated off.

I was pleased to see that after investigating retention ponds for fishing opportunities in the parking lot of the giant shopping center they built nearby, that they actually did maintain access to the creek. Although you can't drive down to the launch, they built a nice little boardwalk down to the water where there's a little floating dock. 

It's not exactly the most convenient way to access the creek with a kayak or canoe, but it can be done, so I thought that was pretty great. I thought the access was lost forever. 

I'll have to do a little more exploring in future days to see if there's an easier, nearby spot to "put in," perhaps accessible from the other bank; my guess is that there is, I just need to find it.

March 4, 2019

Exploring Florida: 2019 Ididahike on the Florida Trail

This past Saturday (March 2nd), I decided to join about 150 other hikers on for the 2019 "Ididahike," an almost eleven mile hike on the Florida Trail as it runs alongside the Suwannee River. I found out about the hike via a local REI events email and impulsively signed up. The annual hike is one the Florida Trail Association's larger fundraisers, so it seemed like a good cause.

Heck, I didn't even really know there was a Florida Trail, but I suppose there is, all 1100 miles worth between its two termini in South Florida (Tamiami Trail) and Pensacola in the western panhandle. Not as sexy a thru-hike as the Appalachian or Pacific Crest, but still, that's a lot of ground to cover.

Anyway, there was what seemed like a good turnout, and everyone was in positive spirits despite some pretty nasty Florida thunderstorms all morning. Much of the hike was in a downpour, but it's Florida, so while it was wet, it was still plenty warm.

As for me? My phone said I completed the hike in a little under four hours. I probably could have finished sooner, but I lost a half an hour at the multiple checkpoints along the way stopping to talk to many of the other hikers... one guy was all the way from Ontario! I was also somewhat surprised how sandy the banks of the Suwannee were. If the weather was nicer, it could have been a beach day.

Heck, I'll even toss in an unsolicited recommendation, Altra makes some damn good trail shoes (Lone Peaks). I was a bit achy after the hike, but my feet felt great!

In any event, here are some photos and a little video.

Here's a map, we hiked along the river starting in the bottom right near where it makes that last bend toward I-75, northwest to the upper left where the river crosses Route 129 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park Campground.