Not that I should have been surprised. After all, we were in the subtropics and walking through what is known as a floodplain forest. Realizing it probably wasn’t a good idea to have left the marked trail with my seven-year-old daughter in tow, I guided Sarah back to the footbridge from which we had hopped down into this gully (creek bed?) and we resumed our original course.
The Main Trail winds 20 miles through Lower Hillsborough Wilderness and along its route links up with many other trails. Sarah and I stepped onto it at the spot where it departs from the west shoulder of
From here the r
Because Lower Hillsborough Wilderness is a continuous preserve whose separately named sections are not partitioned, there is no way to tell when you officially enter
Rather than a carpet of leaves beside the trail, the flatwood offers up a carpet of pine needles. On the day we were there, it also offered up proof that wild hogs are common in the preserve. Check out these wallows that hogs made right on the trail:
A little more than a mile after departing
Because Sarah had to go to the bathroom and did not want to pee in the woods, we hoofed it to the visitor center. After she used the ladies room, we sat at a picnic table and ate some of the food that was stashed in my backpack. Along the roadside between the trail and the visitor center we saw some autumn foliage:
Walking with Sarah slowed me down because she kept stopping to look at tracks (both real and imagined) and she wanted to inspect every nook and cranny of the woods to figure out what animals live there. But I was not about to complain because it is awesome to see her enthused and curious about the outdoors. And it was adorable when she decided to fashion a palmetto frond into a natural parasol:
The Main Trail is easy to follow, partly because it is marked by numbered signposts. Along the portion we hiked are two side trails, one of which goes west and eventually intersects with the paved trail mentioned above. The other one goes south to points that are unknown to me.
Our slow pace, coupled with my knowledge that we were needed at home to help out with my five-month-old son, kept us from exploring the side trails that morning. But I (or we) will return and do that before long, and you can expect a report when that happens.
The reach the trailhead we used, take I-75 to the