Green Swamp East

Green Swamp East

HI EVERYONE,

LONG TIME, NO HEAR FROM. WE’RE BACK TO TRAVELING AGAIN.
WE TRAVELED AS FAR DOWN AS ORLANDO, FLORIDA TO FIND SOME WARM TEMPERATURES. THE WINTER OF 2009 HAS BEEN COLDER THAN NORMAL UP AND DOWN THE EAST COAST. DAYTIME TEMPERATURES IN THE 60’S MAKE FOR GREAT RIDING IN THE SUNSHINE STATE.

ONE SUNNY MORNING WE TRAILERED A SHORT DISTANCE TO A TRAILHEAD IN THE GREEN SWAMP. THE GREEN SWAMP PRESERVE COVERS 560,000 ACRES OF WETLANDS IN CENTRAL FLORIDA. GIANT CYPRESS TREES WERE LOGGED OUT OF THIS SWAMP IN THE 1900’S. IN 1974 THE STATE OF FLORIDA STARTED RECLAIMING THIS LAND, AND ALREADY IT IS RECOVERING WELL.

WE PULLED INTO A NICE LARGE PARKING AREA, AND THERE WERE 6 OTHER TRAILERS, EARLY BIRDS!  THE RIDERS AND THEIR HORSES WERE OUT ON THE TRAIL ENJOYING THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER. WE SADDLED UP OUR STEEDS AND HEADED OUT. TRAIL MAPS WERE PROVIDED AT THE KIOSK ON THE TRAILHEAD.

THIS WAS OUR FIRST TRAIL RIDE SINCE ARRIVING IN FLORIDA, AND WE WERE EXCITED AS WE STARTED DOWN A SANDY TRAIL AMONG LIVE OAKS AND TALL LONG LEAF PINES,  A LUSH UNDERGROWTH OF PALMETTO PLANTS AND EVERGREEN SHRUBS GREW WELL IN THE MOIST SOIL. SAPLINGS OF LIVE OAK AND PINE TREES WERE ALSO STRUGGLING FOR THEIR PLACE ON THE FOREST FLOOR.  THE TERRAIN CHANGED TO A PLANTED PINE FOREST WITH A DEEP SANDY FOOTING MAKING IT MORE STRENUOUS WALKING FOR THE HORSES. AGAIN THE TERRAIN CHANGED AND THE TRAIL FOLLOWED ALONGSIDE A SWAMPY AREA WITH CYPRESS TREES’ ROOTS REACHING OUT INTO THE WATER LIKE FINGERS.  TALL SWAMP GRASSES WERE WHISTLING IN THE BREEZE BLOWING THAT DAY.  SUDDENLY A SAND HILL CRANE UNFURLED HIS WINGS AND FLEW TO THE TOP OF A TALL PINE.

WE MADE A TURN IN THE TRAIL TO HEAD BACK TO OUR TRAILERS, AS THE AFTERNOON SUN WAS GETTING WARM ON OUR BACKS. WE PASSED A LARGE PRAIRIE WITH ITS PANORAMIC VIEW OF TALL GRASSES WAVING IN THE WIND. A HAWK WAS FLYING OVERHEAD SCANNING THE AREA FOR “WHAT’S FOR DINNER”

THE TRAIL LED US BY THE HORSE CAMPING AREA. IT WAS A GREAT SPOT WITH LARGE LIVE OAKS SHADING THE CAMPGROUND. WATER HOOKUPS WERE PROVIDED. CAMPING WAS FREE, BUT YOU HAD TO CALL TO MAKE RESERVATIONS AND GET A PERMIT.
THERE WERE 40 MILES OF UNMARKED TRAILS, A GPS WAS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
WE ARRIVED BACK AT THE TRAILHEAD PARKING LOT. WHAT A GREAT RIDE!
 
WE WILL HAVE SEVERAL MORE FLORIDA RIDES TO  SHARE WITH YOU.

UNTIL THEN “WE WISH YOU MANY HAPPY AND SAFE TRAILS.”

BOBBIE AND LARRY

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