Lake Louisa State Park - Clermont, FL

Lake Louisa State Park - Clermont, FL

AS MORNING BROKE GIVING WAY TO A NICE SUNNY DAY, WE AWOKE WITH THOUGHTS OF WHERE TO RIDE TODAY. WE DECIDED ON LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK AS IT WAS ONLY A TWENTY MINUTE DRIVE TO THE TRAILHEAD.  LAKE LOUISA IS PART OF THE FLORIDA STATE PARK SYSTEM WHICH HAS WON NATIONAL AWARDS TWO YEARS IN A ROW.  THE PARK IS LOCATED IN THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF THE GREEN SWAMP.

AT THE TRAILHEAD PLENTY OF PARKING WAS AVAILABLE WITH WATER FOR YOUR HORSES, TIE RAILS AND PICNIC TABLES UNDER THE CANOPY OF A LARGE LIVE OAK TREE. THE KIOSK HAD TRAIL MAPS AND INFO ABOUT THE PARK AND ITS FACILITIES.

THERE WERE OVER 20 MILES OF EASY WELL MARKED TRAILS WITH PLENTY OF SHADE ALONG THE WAY.

 

THE SANDY TRAIL MEANDERED THROUGH STANDS OF LONG LEAF PINES THEN CHANGING TO HARDWOODS. MILES OF SHADED TRAILS LOOP THROUGH MASSIVE LIVE OAK TREES DRAPED IN SPANISH MOSS HANGING FROM THEIR LIMBS. RIDING ALONG WE ENCOUNTERED SEVERAL DEER ON THE SIDE OF THE TRAIL.  AFTER SPOTTING US, THEY DISAPPEARED INTO THE WOODS WITH THEIR WHITE TAILS BOUNCING THROUGH THE FOREST.

 

THE TRAIL CONTINUED ALONG TILL WE CAME TO A TRAILSIDE PARK WITH SEVERAL LARGE OAK TREES AND PICNIC TABLES OVERLOOKING A SMALL LAKE.  WE DECIDED TO TAKE A BREAK AS THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TIE RAILS FOR THE HORSES.  A SHORT PATH LED TO A SMALL WOODEN LANDING WITH A BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF THE LAKE. WE SPOTTED 2 OSPREYS WITH THEIR HIGH PITCHED CRIES ECHOING THROUGH THE TREE TOPS. THEY HAD A NEST ATOP A TALL DEAD PINE TREE AND THEY WERE FLYING HOME TO TEND THEIR YOUNG.

 

BACK ON THE TRAIL AGAIN OUR HORSES SUDDENLY RAISED THEIR HEADS WITH EARS POINTED FORWARD, EYES WIDE OPEN AND NOSTRILS FLARING ALERTING US TO GREAT DANGER AHEAD.  WE BEGAN TO SCAN OUR SURROUNDINGS TO FIND WHATEVER IT WAS THEY SAW.  COULD IT BE A BEAR OR ALLIGATOR?  AH, THERE IT WAS, AN ARMADILLO ON THE SIDE OF THE TRAIL, AND AS HE SCURRIED INTO THE PALMETTO BRUSH OUR HORSES TRIED TO TURN AROUND AND GET OUT OF DODGE.

THE TRAIL BEGAN TO TAKE US BACK TO OUR TRAILERS, AND AS WE ROUNDED A CURVE A WILD TURKEY WAS CROSSING. AS SOON AS HE SPOTTED US HE TOOK FLIGHT AND VANISHED INTO THE TREES.

 

WE ARRIVED BACK AT OUR TRAILER AND REFLECTED ON WHAT A GREAT RIDE WE HAD AND ALL THE WILDLIFE WE ENCOUNTERED.

THE PARK HAD A PRIMITIVE EQUESTRIAN CAMPGROUND AVAILABLE WITH WATER FOR HORSES ONLY AND SEVERAL COVERED STALLS.

 

WHAT A GREAT RIDE!  JOIN US AGAIN ON THE TRAIL.

 

UNTIL THEN “HAPPY AND SAFE TRAILS TO YOU.”

BOBBIE AND LARRY

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