You guys made the right decision on not camping at Hidden Pond last night. I get there around 7:30am, set up camp, no one around, so I check out the local geocaches, filter my water for the day, etc. About 2:00pm, about 8 hikers come in from Juniper, some of which I've met before. Well, about 3 hours later, 3 guys come from Northbound, unpack their gear and set up on the east side of Hidden Pond. Then they start drinking, Jim Bean and Bacardi, which is fine. They get louder and louder, and then around 10pm, we hear gunshots and laughter from the 3 guys, first just a .22, then something considerably larger in caliber which goes straight through the campsite area. I roll out of my Blackbird onto the ground and then the tree I have my foot end attached to gets hit. I call 911 and talk to the operator. She gives my phone number & location via GPS to the deputy on duty in that area. The deputy calls me back, first telling me there are 4 Hidden Ponds in Marion county, I tell him its the one on the Florida Trail. He says OK, hangs up. Gunshots are still whizzing by throughout Hidden Pond, he calls back and asks what road the trailhead is on, I tell him Forest Road 46, he checks his map, nope, no FR46 anywhere. Then I remember they changed the road from 10 about 2 years ago and ask him is there is a FR10 on his map, he then says, ok, I see that. I asked him if he had my GPS coordinates, he said yes, but his map doesn't have coordinates on it and the Marion county sheriff's office didn't have any sort of GPS reciever. So fine, he says he's on the way to the trailhead. Hangs up, calls me back, asks me which of the two cars at the trailhead are mine, I tell him, and let him know all the other people huddling on the ground in their tents came from Juniper, so the other car, a truck, was most likely the drunks. He then informs me that his Sargent won't allow his deputies to go more than a mile into the woods due to safety. I ask what are we supposed to do? He asked if they had verbally threatened any of us, before shooting. I say no, he says in that case, there was nothing they could do and to just keep down until they passed out or ran out of ammunition. Goodbye. So we waited until things got quiet, packed up around 2am, and quietly hiked out. Not a very good experience.
Maintainer of the Unofficial Trail GPS Map Page(Updated 3-9-15) Now updated with Florida Trail, Lone Star Hiking Trail, Arizona Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.
Hi lilricky, sorry to hear about your experience. A guy on a survival post once stated that when the SHTF Ocala NF would be the largest city in Florida. Just another reason to look for those smaller, less visited locations. One that I would like to check out this fall is the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. Check out the SWFWMD recreation site if you haven't, lot of interesting areas there.
Most of us end up poorer here but richer for being here. Olddog, Fulltime hammocker, 365 nights a year.
Geesh, sorry to hear that lilricky. Ocala NF and the FT are on my to do list for this fall/winter/spring. I guess I'll be sticking to the less accessible camping areas, or stealth sites.
Crap dude, after the the stuff that went down this week in Norway. What blows my mind is the lack of help. Well sir, I will be packing my own help. That;'s just crazy. Also, I will be moving camp when I hear the drinks being passed around. CRAZY!
If it wasn't for the wife's BDay Saturday, I would have been hanging with you.
Glad it turned out as well as it did. Glad we heard the story from you.
It's people like that give rednecks a bad name
I don't consider myself an anti-social type, but I have always tried to camp in the most unlikely locations, in what I think will be the farthest from other human life-forms. Because, it seems the wilderness draws two types of people - nature lovers and hoodlums - and you never know what card you're going to draw.
But mainly, I'm glad you weren't hurt lilricky!
"Life is a Project!"
I am a huge gun fan (just went shooting today) and these people make me so angry. I am very happy to hear you weren't hurt and hope that these guys get a clue. There is no room for that in society.
Look up before you hook up!!
Originally Posted by body942
Me big. Me like hammockgear burrow. Long. Problems no. People good.