Blue lake just outside of Billies Bay Wilderness surrounded by flat terrain with one tree in the foreground.Today’s goal was Billies Bay. The temperatures started off in the mid-40s, which was a little cool since I had shorts on. I did have gloves, but wished I’d had a headband, too. And my toes were frozen. But that only lasted an hour, max. Soon the temps climbed up into the 80s. Luckily, the humidity was low, there was a nice breeze and it was sunny. So it was a lovely day for hiking.

In addition to having good weather, today was enjoyable for many other reasons. First, I was in a beautiful forested area for much of the day. I’m sorry I’m not that into plants, so all I can tell you is there were lots of pine trees, palmettos and a prairie.

Second, I passed about five groups of people out hiking. I’m usually out here alone, so it was fun to see others. I’m sure the reason I ran into people is that I’m in the Ocala National Forest, which is a popular spot. It’s also the place where the Florida Trail was birthed. 

Avian Highlights in Billies Bay

Some of the day’s other highlights came when I was jogging a stretch and startled an enormous turkey in the brush right next to me. It flew up in a great fluttering of wings and scared the heck out of me. But it was still cool! I also saw an eagle on the drive in, and several lizards. 

All day, I kept thinking I heard a wild hog rustling in the vegetation. Florida and Texas have big issues with wild hogs, so they were on my mind. But nothing was there. I don’t believe there are alligators in this part of the state, but there are black bears. I got a tad nervous when I realized it’s spring – what if I somehow got in between a mama and her cub? But I saw no bear skat, no bear prints, nothing. 

Oh, there was also a lovely scent in the woods here. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it’s sort of like cedar. Yet not quite. Anyway, it’s lovely.

Sand Isn’t Fun

The only negative to the day was that the entire path was made of sand. Much of the way was easy walking, but there were some spots where the sand was deep and it was difficult. Oh, and this area has some hills. Nothing much to most people, but for Florida (which is a very flat state) they were definitely hills.

Had one huge blister today by the only toenail I lost during January’s hike. It had just grown back in, and obviously wasn’t tough enough yet for a hike. The toenail itself is fine – just got a blister on the toe. 



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