Today was forecast to be cloudy with a high around 70. Perfect hiking conditions!
Judy and I got a late start on the trail, heading out from just northwest of Lake Delancy on the trail. It was a gorgeous stretch of trail with pines and lots of palmetto. Judy turned back after 30 minutes to get the car and move it up the trail. I forged on ahead.
One part of the trail had been burned; smoke was still coming out from one hole. I imagine it’s some kind of prescribed burn. It was actually beautiful in its own way — the inky black ground around the trees, with the trail a little ribbon of light. This section ended around Rodman Reservoir, a beautiful body of water complete with osprey nests.
Judy and I hiked a little road section here near the Rodman Dam. There were all sorts of large tree trunks clustered on one end of the reservoir that reminded me of the trees/logs we saw last summer in lakes around Mount St. Helens. They were trees that had been mowed down by the eruption back in the 1980s, and still were in the water today. Well, these logs, we later learned, were from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, i think it was.
Judy drove ahead to Buckman Lock while I hiked there. We learned from Late Start’s trail journal that the locktender is Arthur. We met Arthur, who told us about the trees in the Rodman Reservoir. He said there are lots of manatees that pass through the locks, so they leave them open at night so the animals don’t get stuck. Unfortunately no manatees were around when we were there, nor any boats going through the lock.
In the afternoon I hiked through an area near Caravelle Ranch. It was very sandy, and I got a lot in my shoes. Ugh. There was also some area where people dumped trash. Sad.
After that the trail was phenomenal, especially the area through Rice Creek Sanctuary. It was this beautiful woodsy area that had hardwood but also all of these tropical plants like palmetto and palms. I also crossed lots of boardwalk, including the Hoffman Crossing, an 1886-foot boardwalk!
Looking forward to what tomorrow brings!