Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some Time Outside

This past Sunday morning, Sarah and I welcomed fall by walking a few miles on a trail in the Withlacoochee State Forest. It is Florida and still September, so the temperatures were not what I would call cool, but at least they were not hot.

Some of our hike was spent passing through dense hardwood forest:

But most of it was spent in a drier, more open forest of slash pine and turkey oak:

Thanks to a plethora of wildflowers, there was plenty of color to be seen:

Much to my delight, all of our walking was done on hills -- sand hills, to be geologically precise. They were not extremely high or steep, but were quite continuous. We spent a couple hours on the trail and there was not a single moment when we weren’t either on or surrounded by some level of vertical relief:

When it came to animals, we were treated to the sight of a red-bellied woodpecker hammering away on a pine branch. The other creatures stayed hidden but left their marks nonetheless:

I must say, it was a good way for a daddy and daughter to spend the morning!

The Croom Tract is the specific part of Withlacoochee where we were. Located in eastern Hernando County, Croom is arguably the creme dela creme of our area’s wilderness, and over the coming months I will write detailed reviews of some of the many hikes that can be taken within its broad borders. For the purposes of this post, however, I will just say that the route Sarah and I took on Sunday went north from the trailhead at Tucker Hill Fire Tower, and we stayed straight on the orange-blazed path rather than turning off on the blue-blazed A-B Connector.

To reach the fire tower, take exit 301 on I-75 and go east about one mile. Turn left on Croom Rital Road and continue past the entrance to Silver Lake Recreation Area, which you will see after four miles. Croom Rital eventually turns back to the west, changes its name to Croom Road, and goes from being a paved road to a dirt road before arriving at the tower several miles after the Silver Lake entrance.

There is plenty of parking at the tower, along with restrooms and a picnic table, along with an unmanned pay station where you are expected to deposit a $2-per-person fee for visiting the forest. Trust me, it is worth it.

Happy Trails!


  1. sounds pretty near perfect, i'd say - especially with your little hiker companion.

  2. Your Florida trails are very pretty and a nice way to enjoy the outdoors with your daughter. I love that last wildflower photo.

  3. Such beautiful trails to explore with your daughter. Lovely wildflowers and footprints in the sand.