Last Sunday I explored in the SE part of San Felasco Hammock State Park that lies north of Millhopper Road. I parked in the hiking parking lot and rode my bike 1.5 miles east along Millhopper, darted into the woods and hid the bike. The day’s goals were to explore the highlands-karst transitional zone in sections 7 and 8, T9 R19. As usual, I found clear water streams fed by seeps, sinkholes and feral pigs. Following one stream northward to Blue’s Creek, I then turned ESE and followed Blue’s to Fox Pond, a recent addition to the park.
The total hike was about 7.6 miles, and I gotta tell you that I am soooo glad I pedaled 3 miles or I would have had to walk over 10. I have been ranging further and further from the trailheads, both hiking and biking, and am nearly at my sore feet’s limit. There may be places in San Felasco that I never get to see. Oh, the sorrow!
I am calling the first creek I walked down Needle Palm Creek in honor of the large, glossy, abundant palms at the toe of the feeder seeps and along the first quarter-mile or so of the stream. Here is a pic of Needle Palm Seep with attendant palm:
These seep streams join other seepage discharges to form a second order streams. This is where I ate lunch beside three log bridges:
I ran across several sinkhole ponds containing water, buttonbush and graminoids that were evidently just right for cricket frogs (Acris gryllus) and spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) to form mating choruses. Man, were they loud! I flushed a few deer along the way, including this one-antlered male that patiently waited until my camera was ready. He then he let me take exactly one picture before he bounded off:
The pigs I encountered were not too afraid of me. My current MO is to pretty much ignore them as I walk by so they will neither see me as a threat to attack nor a hunter to fear. My plan is to be able to get close to them without fear of injury so that one day if/when I get permission it will be easier to cull them.
If you want a walk of solitude, I can assure you that these SE creeks are rarely visited. Along the shoulders of their ravines are game trails that you can easily find and walk. Oh, it won’t be a cake walk – there is plenty of brush, fallen logs and vine tangles, but for the most part, it is wild and pleasant.