Monday, December 31, 2012

Again to CCN

Christmas was bookended by a pair of cold snaps that dusted parts of the Bay Area with frost:

The low temps seemed to invigorate wild animals rather than discourage them, as evidenced by the cries of hawks that frequently pierced the air and the large numbers of sandhill cranes seen milling about:

With that kind of atmosphere greasing the skids into 2012’s final weekend, there was no way I could let the weekend pass without exploring some woods, even if our calendar showed things scheduled. So yesterday morning I made my way to the Cypress Creek North Trail Network for the first time in nine months.

In March I wrote two posts about this network that can be read here and here. The second post mentions a 1½-mile section of side trail that “is crossed by several other trails that lead to…well, right now I don’t know, but hey, that gives me a reason to come back!” Those other trails were my destination yesterday.

Because we are entering rather than exiting winter, the foliage is more scant right now than it was the last time I was here, a fact to which these bald cypress can testify:

To reach the trails I had in my mind, it was first necessary to head east for 1.3 miles on the paved path that serves as Cypress Creek North’s main artery. Almost immediately after using a culvert to pass over the creek itself, the paved path is crossed by an earthen trail onto which I turned right and trod into a forest of mixed hardwoods.

Just under a half-mile later, as that trail begins to emerge into a more open landscape, it encounters a pair of side trails marked by signposts 4 and 8. The first is on the right and plunges into moist-looking woods dominated by oaks. The trail itself consists of deep, lumpy dirt that has the appearance of never being dry anywhere there is shade:

Several steps beyond that, the second side trail turns left and heads into a pine flatwood that is slightly higher and considerably drier:

A quick glance at the two photos above shows just how abruptly one Florida ecosystem gives way to another. As far as beauty and adventure are concerned, the first trail looks more promising; however, I opted to walk the second one because I was wearing tennis shoes instead of my hiking boots and didn’t want to find myself sinking ankle-deep in mud.

The flatwood through which the second trail passes is thick with hip-high palmettos, but it has no canopy because the pines are so spread out. You will find two decision points soon after stepping onto this trail: first at an unsigned side trail branching off to the left, then at an intersection with another unsigned side trail, which goes off in both directions. I kept moving straight, wanting to see how long this particular trail is and hoping it would go far. I learned it does not, however, for it ends at a T intersection after little more than a third of a mile.

While you can choose to go either right or left at the T intersection, it was hard not to notice the barbed wire fence on the other side of the intersecting trail, which told me that any further travel in that direction was probably verboten. Although the intersecting trail is composed of the same sort of deep, lumpy dirt I skipped back at signpost 4, I chose not to skip it this time. Because these woods are sunnier than the ones at signpost 4, I figured the dirt here at least wouldn’t be wet from the prior morning’s rain -- plus there is a wooden observation tower to the left and I wanted to find out if it is accessible.

It turned out the dirt was dry like I hoped, and soft and deep like I expected. Covered with abnormally deep deer tracks, it gave under my weight with a sensation reminiscent of Rocky Mountain snow. Unfortunately, when I got to the tower I found that access to it is denied by the barbed wire, but at least it makes for a nice photo in its own right:

As for the earlier decision points I mentioned, I did go back and check them out, discovering that one-fifth of a mile is a recurring theme. At the first decision point, the unsigned trail on the left travels one-fifth of a mile before petering out at a spot where the flatwood gives way to a mixed forest that is thicker with trees. It was there that I saw these young maples holding on stubbornly to their autumnal leaves:

At the second decision point, you will walk approximately one-fifth of a mile regardless of whether you turn left or right. A left turn takes you to a T intersection with the same deep dirt trail that passes the observation tower, while a right turn empties you back onto the same side trail that brought you here from the main artery. Interestingly enough, the spot where you empty back onto that side trail is one-fifth of a mile past the spot where you left it!

I can not lie: I wish this network of side trails off a side trail would delve farther into the preserve than it does. Even if the barbed wire marks a property line, I could not detect any reason why the trail from “decision point one” has to stop at the maples instead of probing past them into the forest beyond. But it is still worth your time to come to these paths, especially when you consider that they are a decent ways into the preserve, and are but one piece of an extensive network of connected trails that you can explore while here.

For directions to the trailhead, please visit the first of the links I included earlier in this post. Happy Trails!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Croom: The Loop(s)

With Tucker Hill Fire Tower looming behind me, the sign at the trailhead presented two options: Turn right to head south or left, across the limestone road, to head north. I chose the former, and saw a rabbit sitting in the middle of the trail as soon as I turned onto it. A couple minutes later I encountered two deer who were also in the middle of the trail, and after eyeing me for a few seconds, they sauntered away without displaying any distress about my presence.

My southward course was chosen only because I wanted to be alone and had seen a group of people start walking north when I parked my car. However, I was inexplicably more curious about what lie to the north than what lie to the south, so after 30 minutes or so I turned around and backtracked -- and found myself on topographically appealing terrain immediately after crossing the road. The trail descended through hardwood forest and passed through dense undergrowth before emerging in a relatively open forest of pine:

So went my introduction, in April 2006, to the interwoven A-B-C loop trails in the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest. I have returned many times in the years since, and trust me when I say that whatever they lack in the way of imaginative naming, they more than make up for by leading into some of the wildest backcountry in Central Florida.

Totaling 14.7 miles, the Exterior Loop resembles an immense cookie whose edges are irregular and southeastern quarter is bitten off. Roughly one-third of the way “up the cookie,” at is narrowest point, a 1¼-mile trail called the B-C Connector bisects it from one end to the other. At another relatively narrow point, roughly two-thirds of the way up, it is bisected once more by a 2¾-mile path called the A-B Connector. These trails subdivide the Exterior Loop into three interior ones, and you can get a sense of the layout by looking at the trail map:

The so-called A Loop encompasses the entire A-B Connector, plus the northern arc of the Exterior Loop above it, for a total of seven miles not including the 0.2-mile approach hike…Meanwhile, the C Loop encompasses the B-C Connector plus the southern arc below, for a total of six miles not including the mile-long approach…And lastly, across the middle of it all is the 9.9-mile B Loop. It incorporates the A-B Connector as its northern border and B-C as its southern, linked together by part of the Exterior Loop’s western flank and a goodly chunk of its eastern one.

With mileage that allows you to log many hours on the trail and geology that allows you to see many habitats, it is hard to imagine a better trail existing in the Tampa Bay Area. Spend time here and you will witness the gamut from tall hills to low bogs, like the one pictured below. There are even a few modest ravines and reforested quarries.

Trees include everything from water-loving cypress to dryland pines, from long-boughed oaks to cone-shaped cedars. A few orange trees grow in scattered places throughout the woods, so if you hike here when they are bearing fruit (usually from November to February) you might be able to pluck a snack right from their limbs.

The understory teems as if refusing to be overshadowed by the canopy. One Labor Day weekend I walked into a thicket filled with blossoms that resembled wild orchids. Lantana blooms almost all year and is a favorite food source of the hummingbirds that reside here in spring and summer. And it seems like every songbird on earth enjoys feasting on the forest’s endless bounty of beautyberries:

Though there are rises and falls all throughout the loop, there is no denying that its northern half is the hilliest and its southern half provides the longest stretches of level land. You will find the tallest hills along the Exterior Loop’s northernmost stretch, and while hiking there you are sure to notice that the hills on the approach are continuous even if they’re not very high or steep. Spending time on this half of the loop, whether on the exterior or the A-B Connector, means you are always on or surrounded by some level of vertical relief:

The exterior route is marked by rectangular orange blazes and the connectors by rectangular blue blazes. These serve as important navigational aids since the loop is intersected multiple times by slender bike trails and also by dirt roads, a.k.a. “forest roads,” which I assume are there so rangers can access the backwoods without having to do so on foot. It is tempting to use the forest roads as alternate hiking trails, but if you do so, be aware that they are not quite as straight as they appear on the trail map, and therefore it is easier than you might think to become marginally lost.

There are two trailheads from which the loop can be accessed directly, both of which are on Croom Road. The western one, Tucker Hill Trailhead, is also the most conspicuous because of its large parking area, picnic tables, full-service restrooms, and fire tower:

To reach Tucker Hill from Brooksville, drive north on U.S. 41, turn right on Croom Road and continue for two miles. To reach it from practically everywhere else in the Bay Area, drive north on I-75 to exit 301, go east on State Road 50 for approximately one mile, then turn left on Croom Rital Road; four miles later you will pass the entrance to Silver Lake Recreation Area on your right, and eventually you will come to the trailhead several miles beyond that, after the road has turned west and changed from pavement to limestone and switched its name to just Croom. There is an unmanned pay station where you are expected to deposit a $2 day use fee, or $10 overnight fee if you plan on going backpacking and staying at one of the trail’s two primitive camping zones.

On the other hand, the eastern trailhead is located shortly after Croom Rital Road turns west and changes its name. There are no facilities there, but then again, there is also no pay station. Because this trailhead is not specifically marked, be sure to keep an eye out for the small Florida Trail signs that appear on each side of the road where the path crosses.

I have enjoyed these loops many times by myself, and twice in the past few months have brought Sarah out to introduce her to them as well -- so obviously, I encourage everyone to do the same whether alone or with friends and family. Go here for a downloadable copy of the map. Happy Trails!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sawgrass Lake

In New England, maples grow on lakesides that are home to moose. In Florida, they grow in swamps that are home to alligators, including this young one I happened upon yesterday:

We are fortunate that one of the largest maple swamps on Florida’s Gulf Coast is found in Sawgrass Lake Park. Given its location, and the 1.1-mile boardwalk that winds through it, this maple swamp also ranks as one of the state’s most accessible for people on foot:

But there is more to Sawgrass Lake Park than swamp, as proven by the hammock forest that covers the higher land of its northern segment. A trail loops through the hammock under a canopy that is lovely as can be:

Meanwhile, the westernmost boardwalk ends at an observation tower overlooking Sawgrass Lake itself (which, admittedly, is more pond than lake):

In addition to abundant populations of reptiles and amphibians, all variety of waterfowl can be seen in this preserve. Birds of prey are also plentiful, from fish-eating ospreys to mammal-eating owls. Described as “one of the premier birding sites in Florida” by, this is a designated stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Botany buffs are sure to enjoy Sawgrass Lake just as much as birdwatchers, for in addition to multiple species of maple and oak, you are able to get close-up views of aquatic plants like duckweed and spatterdock. In many places the forest is lush with ferns:

You have probably seen this place even if you’ve never paid a visit, because its eastern boundary abuts I-275 as you enter St. Petersburg from the north. You would recognize it as that big spread of woods, fronted by tall cypress trees, that sits on the west side of the interstate immediately south of the Gandy Boulevard exit.

I have long felt that Pinellas County maintains one of the best county-run park systems in the nation, and Sawgrass Lake solidifies that opinion. For starters, the park preserves a wild oasis in the middle of the state’s most densely populated county…On top of that, its wetlands serve both man and beast by functioning as a natural cleaning system for water flowing to Tampa Bay…Plus, they act as flood protection for the surrounding city…And most importantly, the park provides people of all ages and abilities with convenient access to a place of natural beauty.

Establishment of the park came to fruition in the bicentennial year of 1976, when a cooperative management agreement was reached between the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Pinellas County Parks & Conservation Resources Department, and Pinellas County School Board. The reason for the latter to have a seat at the table becomes clear when you see the John Anderson Environmental Education Center, which is located here and includes a laboratory, classroom, and taxidermy displays of local wildlife; it hosts a myriad of educational programs for elementary school students, plus some for grades six through twelve:

To get here, turn north on 25th Street from 62nd Avenue North and continue to the end. Admission is free. Happy Trails!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Croom: The River Trail

If the Bay Area’s weather is like a broken record, with heat and storms dragging it down rather than skips and scratches, then Thanksgiving weekend was that spot where the needle drops right into the groove and generates glorious music.

With overnight lows in the forties and fifties…and even some thirties in the usual cold spots around Brooksville…and daytime highs in the seventies…and the sky a cloudless arc of robin’s egg blue…it would have felt criminal not to be outside:

So on Sunday I rounded out the weekend by putting Parker in the car and driving us to Croom. Parker is 17 months old and with Erika and Sarah enjoying a Mommy-Daughter Day, it seemed right to take him hiking for a Daddy-Son Day. He is usually happiest when he is outdoors, and Sunday was no exception:

When I closed my November 19th piece by saying I expected to post my first review “of specific hikes in Croom…by the end of this month,” what I had in mind was for the first review to be about the massive loop that is accessed by a few trailheads in the northwestern quarter of the preserve. After all, I have walked on that loop about 15 times and could probably write about it in my sleep. It’s just that those visits were all before I started this blog, so I never bothered to take many pictures during them, and therefore I wanted to go back and snap some more before publishing anything.

However, during a Saturday bike ride I saw something in Croom’s far south that captured my attention. While standing near the restrooms at the Withlacoochee State Trail’s Ridge Manor Trailhead, I looked across a meadow strewn with pine straw and noticed a signboard on the opposite side. It is easy to miss because it does not face the trailhead directly. With my curiosity piqued, I walked across the meadow and when I got there found an opening in a fence next to the following sign:

That piqued my curiosity even more, so it is where I went with Parker on Sunday. Based on my general knowledge of the area, I figured that the trail would reach the Withlacoochee River in a not-too-long distance and perhaps follow it north along its western bank. Since toddlers slow down any hike on which they themselves are walking, I placed Parker in our jogging stroller and off we went.

The River Trail’s opening stretch slips through a stand of young longleaf pines. Their presence tells me that a tree farm once stood here, and that these trees were its final planting:

Before long the pines thin out and are joined by other flora, with a more natural appearance taking over. The terrain in this section of Croom is nowhere near as hilly as it is to the north and west, but it is also not pancake-flat. It is obvious you are at a high point when you emerge into this big field that is dotted with scrubby oaks and mature longleafs:

As I entered the field, I thought to myself that it was perfect habitat for gopher tortoises and wondered if one would show himself. No more than two minutes later, this fella obliged:

In the middle, a blue-blazed side trail called the Windmill Loop branches off to the left, but Parker and I stayed on the River Trail, which is marked by orange blazes. After taking you across the field, the River Trail penetrates the tree line and heads downhill, which is where things got dicey for us because wild boar had recently scoured this section of woods and left behind wallows that covered the trail off and on for some distance. Pushing the stroller through those wallows felt like mogul skiing because we were greeted at each step by a jarring bump -- and on top of that, instead of continuing to move after each bump, we were often brought to a stop because the stroller’s tires kept getting mired in the tossed earth.

So I decided to abandon the stroller and soldier on by carrying my little guy. However, after we made it beyond the wallows he started squirming in my arms and insisting on being let down to handle his own ambulation. When I consented, he engaged in a little bit of true forward progress:

And a whole lot of stopping and turning around. Plus, he kept pausing to lift and inspect whatever he found on the forest floor:

It became apparent that Parker and I would not reach the river in good time, nor would we reach it with anything resembling mutual satisfaction, so finally I scooped him up and sprinted back to the stroller. Once he was strapped in, I pushed him back to the beginning of the trail and let him run around in that original meadow.

Therefore, I can not give you a blow-by-blow account of everything that awaits you on the River Trail. However, I can tell you that according to the map posted on the signboard, the trail is more than five miles one-way and ends near the campgrounds in Croom’s Silver Lake Recreation Area. I can also tell you that it does come to the Withlacoochee River like I expected, then follows it north like I hoped.

And regarding that blue-blazed side trail called the Windmill Loop, the map on the signboard shows it being a straight-line short-cut rather than an actual loop. From the spot where it and the River Trail diverge, it tracks east-northeast while the River Trail tracks south before curving east to meet the river. At some point after the River Trail begins its northward route, the Windmill comes to an end by emptying back onto it, and therefore the two paths can be used to create a loop I estimate would be about 3½ miles long.

To get here, take exit 301 from I-75, drive east for one mile, and turn left on Croom Rital Road. The Ridge Manor Trailhead is obvious. Simply walk across the meadow that lies beyond the restrooms and picnic tables, and you will find the start of the River Trail waiting for you. Happy Trails!

Monday, November 19, 2012


I don’t take it lightly when I say that the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest is arguably the crème dela crème of our area’s wilderness.

Sprawling mostly across the eastern reaches of Hernando County, it sits within a microclimate that is notably colder than the rest of the Tampa Bay area. Winter temperatures frequently drop into the thirties and sometimes the twenties. The Withlacoochee River flows through Croom and takes on a spectral appearance when vapor drifts over its surface on those freezing winter morns:

But the cold does not stop the land from erupting with wildflowers in February:

Croom encompasses a smorgasbord of landscapes, from flat cypress heads beside the river to hilly uplands away from it. Marshes fill some of the "non-cypress lowlands" while a mixture of hard- and softwood forests covers the hills.

These landscapes offer a stunning variety of recreational opportunities from which to choose, including more than 30 miles of hiking trails and 50 miles of mountain biking trails -- and that does not include the multi-use Withlacoochee State Trail, a portion of which passes through Croom. Within the tract you will find two named recreation areas; four developed campgrounds; two backcountry campsites you must hike to; and two more you must paddle to. Plus, there is a 2,600-acre area set aside for ATV’s and motorized dirt bikes, and at least three designated spots from which to launch a canoe or kayak into the river.

No matter what recreational endeavors you pursue, be on the lookout for scenes of nature both big and small. You are sure to be impressed by how tall the magnolias grow here, but don’t let that stop you from noticing the small bunches of grapes that ripen in late summer:

All manner of wildlife can be viewed in Croom. Although I have hiked in many states across America, this is the only place I have ever seen a bobcat in the wild. When it comes to birds I have seen everything from the heftiest to the tiniest, since bald eagles make themselves visible year-round and ruby-throated hummingbirds make themselves visible in spring and summer. Canoers should keep their eyes peeled for otters frolicking in the river.

What really stands out, however, are the woodpeckers. I have never come here without seeing some, and over my years of hiking here I have encountered every single species known to live in Florida. Even the rare red cockaded woodpecker has a stronghold in the tract’s pinelands.

Like I alluded back in September, as this hiking season unfolds I will intermittently post reviews of specific hikes in Croom. The first of those reviews should be up by the end of this month, so please say tuned. However, if you can’t wait until then to check out the tract, just make your way to Croom Rital Road, which is the most conveniently located place for entering the tract. Turning north from State Road 50 about a mile east of I-75, it leads to main trailheads at Silver Lake Recreation Area, which is almost four miles from State Road 50, and Tucker Hill Fire Tower, almost six miles past that. And between them are several well-marked spots where paths cross the road. Happy Trails!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Withlacoochee State Trail

For those who love spending time outside, the rails-to-trails movement is one of the most positive developments of the last quarter century. And fortunately for us, our region is home to one of that movement’s crowning achievements.

The Withlacoochee State Trail starts in Pasco County and runs north all the way through Hernando County, continuing into Citrus County before coming to an end after 46 miles. Bicyclists are its most common users, seeing as how it is twelve feet wide and paved with a mixture of asphalt and recycled tire rubber, but hikers should also make a point to get out and enjoy it. One of the trail’s main assets is that it takes you through every aspect of rural Florida -- not just deep woods, but also the open, rolling countryside that is home to cattle ranches and small towns:

The beginning is in Trilby, a Faulkneresque dot on the map (population 419) where the trail passes beside this quaint post office:

After about five miles the Withlacoochee utilizes the bridge pictured below to cross over State Road 50. On the opposite side sits the extremely popular Ridge Manor Trailhead.

Three miles further north, the trail passes the entrance to Silver Lake Recreation Area and proceeds to enter the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest. Many users consider Croom to be the prettiest and most tranquil section of the entire trail. Here are a couple pictures I took while walking there last Sunday:

Wildlife viewing can be very productive on the Withlacoochee. In the morning, late afternoon, and evening it is common to see deer munching on trailside grass, and in spring and summer it is almost impossible to spend any time here without seeing swallow-tailed kites soaring overhead. Back in 2003, I incorporated Withlacoochee walks into my recovery from surgery, and on almost every visit during that time, I saw the same barred owl perched in one tree or another just north of the Ridge Manor Trailhead.

Trailside amenities, which include covered picnic tables and clean restroom facilities, are another positive feature of the Withlacoochee. Most people will agree that relieving one’s self in the brush is much less ideal than doing so in here:

I have not walked the trail’s farthest miles north of Hernando, i.e., the ones that extend beyond what most people would consider the Tampa Bay area. Those miles are surely worth experiencing, but from what I understand, some of them run fairly close to U.S. 41 and therefore might not seem as wild as the Pasco and Hernando sections. It is also worth noting that the northernmost miles pass through the towns of Istachatta, Floral City, Inverness, and Citrus Springs. An alluring sign in the woods just south of Floral City states: “Shamrock Inn – Good Food – Cold Beer – Next Left.”

To reach the Withlacoochee’s southernmost access points, take exit 293 from I-75 and drive east for 2.6 miles. Then, turn left onto Pasco County Road 575 and continue six miles to Trilby. This route is so winding and hilly you might find yourself wondering if you got transported to Northern Georgia or Western Maryland or some other non-Florida locale.

In Trilby, there is parking for a few vehicles at the spot where the trail crosses the road next to the post office pictured above, about a mile north of the trail’s actual beginning. If you want to start from the actual beginning, keep driving past the post office, turn right at the flashing light, and continue until you see the trailhead on your right.

To reach the Ridge Manor Trailhead, take exit 301 from I-75, drive east for a mile on State Road 50, and turn left onto Croom Rital Road. The trailhead will be on your right and is very obvious because of its ample parking lot. FYI, its facilities are considerably more immaculate than those at the first two trailheads.

For what it’s worth, however, my personal favorite place to hop on the Withlacoochee is at a spot on Croom Rital Road several miles north of the Ridge Manor Trailhead. If you just keep driving, you will enter the borders of the state forest and come to my preferred trailhead at a spot where the road turns left and is crossed by the trail. There is parking for a few cars both before and after the crossing.

Happy Trails!

Update, 11/19/12: Less than two weeks ago the "facilities" at the trailhead by the Trilby post office consisted of a port-a-let. But yesterday, when I walked from there to the Ridge Manor Trailhead, the port-a-let was while Ridge Manor continues to be kind of a lap of luxury with flush toilets, hot water sinks, and multiple picnic tables, the Trilby post office trailhead has gone from being one of modest facilities to one of no facilities. I will let you know if that ever changes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weedon Island

Everyone raised in St. Petersburg has heard of this 3,700-acre expanse of green along the western shore of Tampa Bay, and has seen at least that part of its shoreline which is visible from Gandy Bridge. But most people are not aware you can hike on it, and who can blame them? Since Weedon Island’s recreational reputation is built mostly on sea kayking and shallow-water fishing -- and mangroves make up all of its plant life you can see from afar -- it would be logical to wonder if it even has any dry land.

For any non-Floridian readers out there, mangroves are estuary trees which grow in areas that are, more often than not, submerged in salt water anywhere from several inches to several feet deep. They sit atop above-ground roots, as you can tell from this picture that was taken when the water level was lower than normal:

The shallow aquatic world around mangrove roots is home to crabs and crayfish and provides a steady food supply for droves of raccoons. Herons also come here to feed:

There is much more to Weedon Island than mangroves, however, for its interior is home to upland fields and woods:

That interior is teeming with a variety of wildlife, including endangered species like the gopher tortoise. 4½ miles of hiking trails thread through Weedon Island, leading to two inland ponds, three viewing platforms, and a 45-foot tall observation tower. They are dirt in some areas, paved in others, and where necessary (i.e., mostly around the perimeter) they use boardwalks to ensure you stay dry while slipping through the mangroves:

Although it is called an island, Weedon is actually a peninsula, tethered to Pinellas County’s mainland by a small isthmus of land south of Gandy Boulevard. A two-lane road across that isthmus is what takes you there. When I was a child, the road was dirt and dead-ended near a dock. The bulk of Weedon was known as Weedon Island State Preserve, but unless you had a kayak in tow, there was really nothing to do here.

These days the land is leased to Pinellas County and known simply as Weedon Island Preserve -- and man oh man, has the county ever upgraded things! In addition to blazing the trails and paving the road, it has built a cultural and natural history center to honor Weedon’s rich human history. Archaeological excavations on the island have unearthed a plethora of tools and pottery, plus a canoe that has been carbon-dated to be more than 1,000 years old. Many of these artifacts are now on display in the center.

To reach the preserve, turn south onto San Martin Boulevard from Gandy Boulevard, or east onto 83rd Avenue from 4th Street, and follow the signs. Admission is free. Whether you live in the Tampa Bay area or are simply visiting, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you fail to visit this wild spot in the midst of a metropolis.

Happy Trails!