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  1. #1
    Great White's Avatar
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    Solo overnight at Crooked Sapling Pond in the Ocala National Forest

    This past weekend, 2/4-2/5, I decided to go hammocking solo in the Ocala National Forest. I wanted to hike into an area, spend the night, then hike back out the next day. I decided to try something different for a change. Instead of hiking to Hidden Pond and setting up in its general area, I made the decision to hang just south of Crooked Sapling Pond. Crooked Sapling Pond, is a large pond just south of Hidden Pond and usually is camped along its northern shoreline. What attracted me to this location was the abundance of Hydric Pine Flatwoods, which according to the Saint John's River Watershed Management agency, stretched wide along the southern shore.

    On Saturday afternoon, I packed my pack and headed for Pat's Island Trail Head and began my hike to the south. I encountered a few hikers on their way out and made it to hidden pond in 1 hour and 30 minutes. There were a few people already there around Hidden Pond. Some of whom where Rainbow People, and a few hammockers. I found my way along the shore line and finally narrowed the location to hang may hammock.

    I have to admit, that finding a place was hard, due to the over abundance of excellent hanging options.

    (My photos below where taken the next morning, so the fog has not burned off yet and my lense was dirty. Please forgive the quality.)




    [The pine stand, with plenty of locations for a hammock.]

    I finally set up my hammock as the sun was setting and opted to use two fallen branches as tarp poles to pitch the tarp in front porch mode. It was outstanding, I have never tried this mode before due to not having any hiking poles.




    [My setup for the night]

    The temperature was predicted to plunge down to a bone chilling 58 Degrees F. As I slept, my legs began to sweat. I had to strike a balance between insulation and cooling, but I managed. I awoke to the sound of rain drops on my tarp, I thought it was odd since the weather prediction did not state that rain was expected. I quickly determined that it was condensation falling from the trees above. There was enough condensation to form a rain puddle on my tarp, that I had to dump at least three times before the sun got high enough to raise the temperature and burn off the fog. The fog made the whole area look eery, the woods looked and felt like a rain forest and I could not see the pond, it was covered in white. When I fetched some water, that morning, I lost sight of my tarp due to it's thickness.


    As I sat in my hammock and as the day warmed up, I was surrounded by woodpeckers and misc song birds darting among the trees. It was nice and peaceful. It made me forget about the world for a little while at least.


    After I packed up and started the hike back to my car, I encountered a flock of Florida Scrub Jays. It was an awesome sight to see those birds. I will send you out with the only good photo I could capture of one.




    [Florida Scrub Jay]

    Happy Trails!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Good trip....pitch the porch mode at a slight angle to let the water run off. One corner a wee bit lower than the other.
    Piney woods for sure.
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  3. #3
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    To me the piny scrubland of the Ocala is abs. beautiful. Even though just there a couple weeks ago I never tire of it.
    Several years ago I did a section of the FT in the Ocala, afterward at a local diner some local hears my hillbilly, knows I'm not from there and asked what I was doing in fl. I told him hiking and he asked where-told him on the FT in the Nat. Forest..his reply 'that ugly scub land!' I guess it's all in the eye. Thanks for posting the beautiful pics.

  4. #4
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    That really is hanging paradise. No trouble having a gathering there.
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

    www.birchsidecustomwoodwork.com

  5. #5
    SamyK's Avatar
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    Nice report. Need to get out myself.

  6. #6
    Great White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbiraman View Post
    That really is hanging paradise. No trouble having a gathering there.
    Yes it would be a great place for a gathering. However, it is about 3 miles from any trailhead, so it would have to be a hiking orientated hang. (No duch ovens).

    I was surprised about the location myself. It was perfect. If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be the fact that the water is about 100 meters away.

  7. #7
    samsara's Avatar
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    Glad you got to go out since you can't make it to our hang. Looks like a nice spot! Hope to get another hang together this spring and maybe you can make it.

    Dave
    "Laying and swaying in a hammock is like a steady morphine drip without the risk of renal failure" - Dale Gribble

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  8. #8
    BlazeAway's Avatar
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    Fantastic place to hang. Thanks for sharing.
    Blaze

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Great report, GeeDub! What are Rainbow People?
    "Pips"
    Mountains have a dreamy way
    Of folding up a noisy day
    In quiet covers, cool and gray.

    ---Leigh Buckner Hanes

    Surely, God could have made a better way to sleep.

    Surely, God never did.

  10. #10
    Great White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsissewa View Post
    Great report, GeeDub! What are Rainbow People?

    Rainbow people are basically modern hippies. I identified the people I saw by their large rainbow flag they where flying from a tarp. I believe the annual gathering in Florida is 2/10 - 2/26 near Alexander Springs. This group might have been either hiking down to it our just camping until the big one starts up.

    I said hello to one in passing and he responded. They didn't bother me at all. Some members of their community have been known to be shady people. But those folks seemed okay.

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