Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Until Next Time...

When I started this blog last August, I wrote that I would do “most of my writing during…the cooler months starting in late fall and running through the winter into early spring.”

Although our weather remains surprisingly pleasant given the mild winter we just experienced, there is no doubt that the hot season is right around the corner and that Florida’s hiking season is nearing its end. Over the last month I have already switched my exploration from hiking to off-road biking. So, I will not be writing any more on this blog until the fall comes back around.

Still, I want to end this season by publishing some pictures that I did not include on the posts I wrote. Pictures like this one from Cypress Creek Preserve, showing a section that looks so swampy it is easy to imagine Yoda toddling through it:

And pictures like these, which show that you can see vivid signs of animals’ presence without seeing the animals themselves:

And the next one, which shows that you don’t need to wait for the sun to rise before stepping on a trail. Those streaks are mist reflecting in the beam of my headlamp.

From September through March I wrote twenty posts covering trails in multiple areas. However, I did not review any of the eleven state parks in our region that have hiking trails. Nor did I write about the Withlacoochee State Forest, which I consider to be our region’s greatest wilderness. Nor did I write about the Green Swamp, which lies at the edge of our region and has the kind of wilderness credentials that will cause some people to think it surpasses Withlacoochee. These facts make me even more impressed about our region’s hiking bona fides, and even more eager to start writing when next fall rolls around.

Having already posted two pictures about animals leaving signs without showing themselves, I will leave you with two more showing that even animals with PR problems have their own kind of handsomeness. After all, who would have thought that a venomous snake and an insect associated with Biblical plagues could be so colorful?:

If you have liked what you read on this blog, you may want to visit my long-neglected travel blog over the next several months, for I will be using it to publish reviews of hikes in the Southern Appalachians.

But as always, and no matter what: Happy Trails!

And finally, I leave you with a hiking partner for the ages: my seven-year-old daughter Sarah, proudly hovering over tracks she discovered in Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve: