Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ready To Go

Though it is not yet cool, our weather has started to become different than it was at the height of summer. Early mornings have recently been pleasant, and several days ago temperatures were in the sixties when I left for work, so I am ready to resume hiking and blogging about hiking.

My preferred method of satisfying my outdoors appetite during the dog days is to head to the mountains, but obviously I can not do that every weekend, and therefore I often resort to riding my bike. At least pedaling creates your own wind to take some of the bite out of the Florida heat.

Biking in these parts is good on many of the same forest paths that are good for hiking…

And is also good on country roads...

Before I take to reviewing a new slew of hiking options in the Tampa Bay area, I feel like dedicating this post to those rural roads, since they are just as overlooked and underappreciated as our hiking trails. And come to think of it, they are good for a certain kind of hiking because there is nothing stopping you from walking down their shoulders while chewing on a piece of grass (to borrow a line from that old song “Ventura Highway”).

I am not here to recommend any specific roads. I just want to point out that they are all over our region. If you want to experience one, all you need to do is drive out into the country and find what’s there. You will see all kinds of landscapes, from the flat tomato fields of southern Hillsborough to the rolling hills of northern Pasco. You will find that man’s marks are integrated into the landscape rather than imposed upon it:

You will see large animals both wild…

And domestic…

Even if you don’t get out of your car, rolling down the windows (or taking down the top if you drive a convertible) will have you feeling the wind in your hair and feeling eager to spend more time outside in the coming months.

My first trail review of the new hiking season will be coming soon. Until then: Happy Trails!

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