Let’s Go Take A Hike!


From the top of the sink hole

From the top of the sink hole

Even the most humble of us expect to leave some sort of mark on the world when we die. It would be slightly depressing to think that around 100 years after your death the house that you built and the land that you owned were gone with no trace whatsoever except your gravestone. This is exactly what happened to the Long Family. They established a home in what I would call the Florida wilderness in the late 1800’s. They had a son who adopted a fawn and their story was the inspiration for Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s book “The Yearling” which was also made into a movie. The site is still there and even though it isn’t accessible by car, it certainly is accessible by foot.

I’ve hiked back there a few times and each time I’ve been amazed that anyone would ever want to live back there. It is extraordinarily beautiful, but extremely isolated!

The trail is well-marked with numbers and you can find details of the hike on the Florida Hike’s website. Here’s a couple of tips from someone who has been there before. Take water and a snack/meal. Make sure it’s portable and won’t melt or go bad before you eat it. It can get pretty hot out there even in the winter. If at all possible go in January or February or wait until the first hard freeze in December. Why? Bugs! All kinds of bugs that bite and make you miserable. Bug spray, long pants, and long sleeves can help slightly with this, but it’s good when some of the bugs are dead. Also in the winter months it’s a little cooler, but even so sunscreen is recommended. Also bring some toilet paper along. There are no restrooms on this hike, but if you finish all five and a half miles and drink your water so you don’t get dehydrated you most likely will have to go to the bathroom before you make it back to civilization. I also recommend bringing a tall person or a stick of some sort. Spiders don’t care if they create their masterpieces over the trail and either a stick waved in front of you or a tall person walking in front of you will take care of that problem!

Cattle Dip

Cattle Dip

The hike starts out on a sandy dirt “road” which is in the sun. You could see any kind of wildlife along here although they are mostly scared and run off when they hear you. I’ve seen rabbits and snakes and other bugs that I didn’t stop to check out. It’s not the easy part of the trail because it’s hard to walk in the sand and I’ve gotten sand spurs stuck in my shoes several times. Once you get past that to the trees it is easier. My favorite parts are the sink hole, the cemetery, and the cattle dip.

A hike steeped in history with some physical challenge is a fun expedition. What about you? Do you have some favorite low/no cost day excursions you enjoy participating in?


One response »

  1. I often pay tribute to the early settlers in Florida. I don’t think I am made of such strong stuff. It is a good hike. I saw a large turtle one time. And I went to the bottom of the sink hole once, too.


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