FFf Eclectic Red Barn: Hiking in the Ocala National Forest

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hiking in the Ocala National Forest

Yesterday, my daughter and I decided to take the dogs and hike one of the trails in the Ocala National Forest. 

Here is an image of the forest to the right of the trail showing the sand pine scrubs.
Ocala National Forest - hiking

The Ocala National Forest is located north of Orlando and is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest.

The Forest has more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, including three first-magnitude springs where visitors can swim, snorkel, and dive in their crystalline waters year-round. Water temperatures usually stay at 72 degrees.

This particular trail did not have any lakes close around it. Although the day was quite warm, it was well shaded in the forest.  The path was very narrow in most places, only enough for one person to walk. 

The dogs started out great, clipping along. Sand lined the base of the trail, which made it easy for them to walk. After a mile or so, we came to a sandy road that we were going to cross, but we meet some volunteers that were trimming trees and brush. We thought the chain saws might be too much for the dogs, so we headed up the road a bit to see if there was another path to take. We walked and walked and no path. We decided to turn around and head back the way we came. 

At one point my two dogs found some shade along the road and deep sand and just laid down. They were content to just lay there. I wish I had taken a picture of them, it was funny.

They would slow down some and then speed up again. Despite drinking water, their tongues were hanging down. 

We did not see any special wildlife and we hoped we would not see any bears. Fortunately, we didn't.

There was this moss that seemed to be everywhere. In my first picture you could see it as it almost looked like snow. It was tiny little mounds of moss - like puff balls.
Moss on a trail in Ocala National Forest
It was a great work out although we did not walk very fast coming back. We managed to go a little over 3 miles. The dogs drank some water, had a biscuit, then climbed into the back of the car and were sound asleep the whole ride home.

Those little dachshund feet had a work out. Since all three of them are long haired, they were sweeping the floor of the trail with their tails. What a tangled mess. 

They were ready for bed early and slept well. I hope to build up their stamina so we can do the full trail that is 6 miles. 

Do you hike with your dogs? How far have you gone with them?

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