The Florida Trail – Goal 6 Complete!

I completed goal number 6 on my 101 in 1001 goal list today! To recap, this is a list of 101 goals that I want to complete in 1001 days. My sixth goal was to hike a portion of the Florida Trail. This trail stretches from Fort Pickens in the Gulf Islands National Park in Pensacola all the way down to Big Cypress National Preserve, nearly 1300 miles away.

Hiking in Florida is very different from hiking in Washington or Alaska. There are no mountains or hills (or elevation, for that matter). Up in the panhandle we seem to find ourselves walking through sand a lot of the time. It can be pretty beautiful, though!

Spencer came back from a training exercise this weekend, and brought a nasty cold along with him. We’ve spent most of the time since he’s been back sitting in the house, watching movies, and spreading the germs amongst ourselves. I’ve been taking preventative measures to keep it at bay, but I think I’ve caught it. He says the third day is the worst (which is tomorrow for me). Ugh.

I figured if tomorrow was supposed to be bad, I should probably take advantage of my Saturday! We had a cold front move in overnight, and it brought 60 degree weather and sunshine. The first cool day of fall? Time for a hike! And why not knock out a goal while I’m at it?!

After looking at the Florida Hikes website, we decided to start our hike at the Juniper Creek Trail in the Blackwater River State Forest, about a half-hour north of our town. We started out by crossing over the Blackwater River, and turning into the forest. There were quite a few wooden bridges, though they were more like planks over boggy parts of the forest. Ellie, our sweet dog, would sometimes walk on them, but mostly liked walking in the mud. Silly girl.

If only she'd stay on these and keep herself somewhat clean...silly girl!

If only she’d stay on these and keep herself somewhat clean…silly girl!

We decided to walk an hour out and an hour back, since Spencer was still coughing up a lung. It was fun to get out in the fresh air after being cooped up in a germ-filled house all weekend.

Adventure time!

Adventure time!

Isn't she sweet and well behaved? (That Gentle Leader works like magic, I tell ya! Magic!)

Isn’t she sweet and well behaved? (That Gentle Leader works like magic, I tell ya! Magic!)

With my trail mate, Ellie the dog!

With my trail mate, Ellie the dog!

Sign for the Juniper Creek trail. Apparently it's beautiful in the spring!

Sign for the Juniper Creek trail. Apparently it’s beautiful in the spring!

Posing on the trail with an infamous orange blaze!

Posing on the trail with an infamous orange blaze!

On the way back, we ducked under a branch we passed on the way out and saw this humongous spider. I don’t know how we missed it the first time. I used my hand for scale, though I have admittedly small hands.

So huge! Looks like someone left their Halloween decorations out. Only in Florida...

So huge! Looks like someone left their Halloween decorations out. Only in Florida…

We stopped at the river on the way back so our dog could clean her paws. Of course, we crossed paths with a beautiful deer, and Ellie tried so very hard to chase after it. Thankfully, her Gentle Leader collar prevented her from taking off, and taking my arm along for the ride.

Sorry darlin'! No deer for you!

Sorry darlin’! No deer for you! (Note the muddy paws)

She would have stayed in that water all day if we would have let her.

She would have stayed in that water all day if we would have let her.

It was a great hike, and a dog-friendly hike as well. I’m glad we went, and I’m so happy to have completed another one of my goals. Maybe one of these days I’ll complete a the whole trail, or at least a significant section of it. But for now it’s time to let my sickness take over. Wish me well, and I’ll blog again after this bug leaves my body 🙂

Sweetie pooch knocked out cold on the way back. In fact, she's snoring under the coffee table as I type :)

Sweetie pooch knocked out cold on the way back. In fact, she’s snoring under the coffee table as I type 🙂

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