Ross Prairie Trail Head, Florida - March 30, 2008

Ross Prairie Trail Head, Florida - March 30, 2008

IT’S SPRINGTIME IN FLORIDA, AND OUR FIRST TRIP OUT THIS YEAR (2008) WAS TO ROSS PRAIRIE TRAILHEAD JUST OUTSIDE OCALA, FLORIDA.

THE CAMPGROUND HERE WAS SMALL AND FRIENDLY - MAYBE 20 SITES FOR CAMPERS WITH OR WITHOUT HORSES. THE SITES FOR CAMPERS WITH HORSES HAD POLES FOR USE WITH TIE LINES.

THE ENTIRE CAMPGROUND WAS FENCED IN WITH THE ENTRANCE GATE CLOSED AT NIGHT. IF A HORSE WAS TO GET LOOSE AT NIGHT, HE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO LEAVE THE CAMPGROUND AREA. EACH CAMPSITE HAD WATER AND ELECTRIC HOOKUPS WITH A NICE CLEAN BATHHOUSE AND DUMP STATION.

ROSS PRAIRIE WAS ONE OF SEVERAL TRAILHEADS ON THE CROSS FLORIDA GREENWAY. DURING THE 1930’S, A PROJECT WAS STARTED TO BUILD A CANAL FOR SHIPS GOING FROM THE GULF COAST TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. THEY SOON RAN OUT OF FUNDS AND ABANDONED THE PROJECT.

YEARS LATER WITH THE HELP OF MARJORIE CARR AND OTHERS, THE LAND WAS PUT INTO A PRESERVE FOR THE PUBLIC TO USE FOR A VARIETY OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS HIKING, FISHING, SWIMMING, HORSEBACK RIDING, ETC. SOME OF THE DIGGINGS WERE STILL THERE WITH THE SAND PILED HIGH ON THE SIDES.

WE WENT OUT FOR OUR FIRST TRAIL RIDE. IT’S MARCH AND THE WEATHER IS GREAT WITH TEMPS IN THE 60’S AND 70’S. ALREADY SPRING HAD SPRUNG WITH NEW GROWTH ON TREES AND SHRUBS.

A MANTLE OF PINE AND LIVE OAKS OFFERED SHADE AS WE RODE DOWN THE SOFT SANDY TRAILS. SOMETIMES THE SAND WOULD BE RATHER DEEP AND VERY FINE, CALLED SUGAR SAND. ONE OF THE TREES CALLED THE HAMMOCK TREE WITH ITS LIMBS GROWING PARALLEL TO THE GROUND TO THE GROUND AND COVERED WITH A GREEN GARDEN OF FERNS INVITING YOU TO TAKE A SIESTA IN THE AFTERNOON SUN. A LUSH UNDERGROWTH OF PALMETTA PLANTS, FERNS, WILD AZALEAS AND OTHER GREEN SHRUBS GREW AMONG THE PINE AND HARDWOOD SAPLINGS.

OUR TRAIL TOOK US THROUGH WIDE EXPANSES OF LAND CALLED PRAIRIES.    HERE ONLY THE TALL GRASSES BLOWING IN THE WIND AND AN OCCASIONAL SCRUB TREE COULD BE SEEN.

AFTER A COUPLE OF ,HOURS,WE CAME UPON A CLEARING WITH PICNIC TABLES AND A NATURAL SPRING FOR WATERING YOUR HORSES.

WE LEFT THIS QUIET RETREAT AND STARTED BACK TO CAMP. WE WERE HERE FOR A WEEK OF RIDING WITH GREAT WEATHER AND ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE.

ATTACHED ARE A FEW PICTURES WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT ENJOY.

WE WISH YOU MANY “HAPPY AND SAFE TRAILS.”

LARRY AND BOBBIE GREENE
March 30, 2008

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