Saturday, June 24, 2017
Lake Louisa State Park - Clermont, FL - 6/24/2017
This was our first hike back in Florida after spending a little over a week in the mountains of TN. We were excited to see a new location and explore more of Florida's natural beauty. Having to adjust from the cooler weather of TN to the heat and high humidity of FL was a bit of a struggle. We also learned on this hike that we can not hike as late as we were. During the summer in FL hiking is saved for either sun rise or sun set. We were hiking in the mid afternoon, and it was one of the last times we would ever do this while in the Summer months.
We hiked from marker 21 to marker 35 and back. The trail is a little confusing at first because you see a color coded trail map and a number trail map. However, once you got that figured out the navigation of it was super easy. I would say that this is one of the best marked hiking trails we have every done. It was near impossible to get lost, which made it SUPER nice when you're struggling with the extreme heat and humidity.
An interesting thing to point out is the trails in the beginning were naturally shaped by fire! So it's full of twists turns, and very interesting to walk. But, really neat that it was not just "cut" thru the forest.
After we got to marker 24 the trees opened up to the beginnings of a field. This would've been great, but it's June, in Florida, in the heat of the day. So we were very hot. Our major concern was to just watch our Daughter Jolene and make sure she wasn't getting over heated. Being so small we knew it could happen very easily. As the trail went on it quickly became all sugar sand. If you've never walked in sugar sand before, it's basically like hiking on the beach, but not the hard part where water touches. You literally sink inches at a time in the sand as you walk. And it takes you twice as long to get anywhere not he trail. We tried to walk on the edges of the trail to help out but some areas you had to walk in the sand. Luckily, the views made up for the struggle. This part of Central Florida is one of the only places that actually has "Real" Hills. It's different to see rolling pastures in Central Florida, but a nice change in sentry for sure.
We turned back into a "wooded" area, that had recently gone thru a controlled burn. Most of the ground brush had grown back but the trees still had the charing of the fire. It was really interesting to see just how much control burns help the local forestry in our area. Everything grew back bigger and more lush! Plus there were lots of birds and butterflies in the area, all enjoying the fresh growth.
Walking on we started to hear flowing water. I had to laugh for a brief moment, because we just got back from hiking in TN where when you say "flowing water" it's mini rapids. Here, it's a creek, with a 3 inch tall waterfall, lol. But, it was peaceful and really nice to walk next to for a few minutes. Plus the trees thickened up so it provided some much needed shade from the heat.
But, that was short lived. We were back in the open fields, but this time walking thru very tall grass. I kept my eye out for snakes, but there weren't any. We were still in the middle of the summer drought so most of the snakes would've been back near the water instead of in the open fields of grass. We did however see a little Gofer turtle. It was just unchain on the grass on the side of the trail, we left it alone, and walked by. Jolene was talking to it as we walked by Saying her "ga ga's" as we went past.
After about another 20 minutes of hiking in the open field, with 90+ degrees heat, no wind and high humidity, we hit our marker 35! YAY!!!! It was a definite relief for sure. So at the point we turned onto the path to head back. Which basically was the same way in except for a small short cut we managed to find in the beginning.
Once, we were done with the hike and loaded everything back into the truck we headed over to the actual Lake Lotus so Jeff and Jolene could cool off while I recorded my Live Review for Facebook. I would definitely recommend going to the Lake if you go to hike at this park. It's really nice, has great bathrooms with showers and changing rooms. Also, they have playgrounds and pavilions. It's a great place for families to go.
We will definitely be back, but in the winter time. We want to hike a longer trail, and really enjoy our walk rather than dying from heat, lol.
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Cypress Trees line the banks of the St Johns, and show you what the REAL Florida looks like! #cypresstrees #cypress #stjohns #stjohnstiver #stfrancistrail #stfrancistrailhead #hikelikeawoman #hikingflorida #floridahiking
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