Sunday, January 29, 2012

Croom Tract, Loop B

Well, we did our 10-mile hike today.  I think we’re all pretty tired tonight.  The ice cream really helped get us home.  After Tony had had his blizzard at DQ, he allowed as how he could have done another quarter mile with no problem.
Redbud are starting to bloom

We got an early start.  There was a little nip in the air this morning with temperatures in the 40s.  We could see our breath.  We were not deterred, however.  Our trailhead was at the Tucker Hill parking lot; the same as the Loop C hike we did last week.  There were several cars there this morning and we saw several hikers on the trail including 8 backpackers.

We did our hike around the loop in the clockwise direction.  The trail wound its way through longleaf pine and live oak thickets.  Some areas had recently undergone controlled burns and were open, while other areas were covered in scrub oak.  We also passed areas of prairie and one dry swamp.  Looking out over the area from a distance it looks flat, but there is a gentle roll to the land and we hiked up and down short hills all day.

Another dry swamp.
At about the 3-mile point we came to an area which at first appeared to be a sinkhole.  As we got closer, we realized it was a ravine which appeared to have been dug out and the soil piled at the edge.  The map shows an old rock mine near this area.  Perhaps these ravines were somehow connected to the mine operation.
One of the ravines we passed.
Near the halfway point we came upon a backcountry camp site.  The site was huge, with room for many, many tents.  Sand pits had been dug for fire rings.  Because of the drought conditions, there is currently a fire ban in Florida.  There was a picnic table which became our lunch spot.  A great campsite if it only had water.  There are many forest roads which crisscross the entire Croom tract, so it would be possible to cache a water supply at road junctions if you wanted to backpack in the area.
White banded trees identify the camping areas.

Lunch spot for today
There are trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horses within the Croom tract.  Each group has their own trails so there’s no sharing.  The trails are clearly marked and well maintained.  Every forest road we crossed (and there were several) was identified.  With the free map available at the trailhead, it is easy to plot and follow a route for any of the loops in the Croom Tract.

I can't find this yellow flower in my book,
 so I don't know what it is.
We kicked in the afterburners for the second half of our hike.  Could we smell the ice cream?  The last couple miles were along trail we had hiked when we did Loop C.  We zoomed right along not taking much time to look around.  I think we were all pretty glad to see the car.

That’s it for today.  This tired puppy is going to bed.  Thanks for tagging along.

1 comment:

  1. I was pretty pooped the other day after hiking 5 miles in Chain O Lakes State Park two days in a row...of course it was only just above freezing in Illinois! Florida looks much warmer, get out there and enjoy all those beautiful days and keep the pictures coming so those of us that are snowbound can pretend for a few minutes that we're somewhere else!