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  1. #1
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    FL, ONF, Presidents' Day: It's My Party And I'll Hike If I Want To

    So, my birthday this year falls on Presidents' Day. I am intending on doing a Sunday night overnighter on 2/19, in Ocala National Forest, at Hidden Pond, and I figured to open it up to anyone who wants to come.

    As of right now, the plan is to drive down Sunday morning to the Pat's Island trail head, hike in on the Florida Trail, set camp, and enjoy an evening in the back country.

    Depending on whether I can convince the wife to come, I may actually give up the comfort of the hammock . It would be a major coup if I could get her to go, but we'll see about that as the date approaches. She has her doubts about back country camping, so...

    I'll still be bringing the hammock for lounging, either way. Anyway, I thought I'd make it official for everyone if they want to come on out.

    For those of you who haven't been to Hidden Pond, it's a fairly easy three mile hike in, through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area. There is a spring-fed pond at the actual campsite, doubling as a water source (it still needs to be treated, but I'll have my gravity filter with me if anyone needs a hand) and swimming hole. There are not any toilets at the site, so be prepared for that. Bear bagging is a must in this portion of the forest; I've personally seen three black bears within a quarter-mile of trail less than ten miles from the site.

    There are two trail heads, one at the Juniper Springs campground to the south (this one is behind a gated entrance and costs, I think, $10 a night if memory serves), and one at the Pat's Island trail head to the north (free, but not gated or monitored). Both directions are about the same distance and elevation change.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!

  2. #2
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Tell the wife that snakes are on the ground, so hammock camping gets her up off the ground, about table high for a bear - oh, NEVER MIND!
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  3. #3
    Senior Member samsara's Avatar
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    Mind if I post this to the Florida Hangers Facebook page? It's mostly forum folks anyway but there are a few non-forum people too. Normally I just go ahead and post but since this is your birthday hang I thought I would ask first

    Dave
    The best things in life aren't things. -- Art Buchwald

    The Florida Hangers Facebook page

  4. #4
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsara View Post
    Mind if I post this to the Florida Hangers Facebook page? It's mostly forum folks anyway but there are a few non-forum people too. Normally I just go ahead and post but since this is your birthday hang I thought I would ask first

    Dave
    No, not at all. Go right ahead! I'm not trying to make a big deal out of my birthday; it's more an excuse to get out there than anything else.


    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    Tell the wife that snakes are on the ground, so hammock camping gets her up off the ground, about table high for a bear - oh, NEVER MIND!
    Heh...yeah...we'll see of she's up for it. I'll hopefully have an answer by the week before as to whether she's going.

  5. #5
    lilricky's Avatar
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    I have to be back at work on Monday, but I'll be out there Saturday-Sunday. Hope to see you out there.

  6. #6
    Duffy's Avatar
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    I'm going to Torreya on that weekend. Shoot! Maybe next time.

  7. #7
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilricky View Post
    I have to be back at work on Monday, but I'll be out there Saturday-Sunday. Hope to see you out there.
    Sorry to hear about work, lilricky. I'd try to meet you Saturday, but I have to work that day. Hope to see you Sunday morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
    I'm going to Torreya on that weekend. Shoot! Maybe next time.
    Sorry, Duffy. Wish you could make it.

  8. #8
    I am new to the forum but I live in Ocala and I am going to do my best to show up!

  9. #9
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbobshinigin View Post
    I am new to the forum but I live in Ocala and I am going to do my best to show up!
    You're more than welcome! I hope to see you there!

    ~~~~~~

    So, right now, it's looking like Mrs. FLRider won't be making it . However, this also means that I'm not tied to the short hike in.

    Depending on who else from Gainesville winds up wanting to go, I may wind up parking at another trail head. If I wind up with a lot of folks from work and others around here, I'll probably stick to the short hike in; most of 'em aren't real familiar with backcountry camping.

    However, if no one from here (or if only the one guy I work with who does hike on a regular basis) winds up wanting to go, I'm currently toying with the idea of parking down at SR 19 and then hiking in from there. That would be about a twenty mile day, give or take. Which is right at my limit for hiking right now, considering my gear and conditioning.

    Would anyone be interested in a twenty-miler? I figure on it taking about nine hours, and as long as we started around 07:00, we'd have a good buffer against dark.

    The other option would be to park up at Hopkins Prairie, off of Forest Road 50. That would be about a five-miler or so. Which is definitely enough to stretch your legs, without it being grueling if you're not used to all-day efforts.

    Essentially, right now, it's up in the air. Any input?

  10. #10
    lilricky's Avatar
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    Looks like my boss is going to let me take a personal day on Monday, so I'll be hanging out at Hidden Pond Friday night through Monday! A twenty miler eh? That will definately stretch your legs! I think I'll just park at Pat's Island Trailhead, although I'll do my usual loop around the Yearling trail on the way in. See you guys when you get there!

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