Today’s destination was the exotic US 129. First, I drove myself to the parking spot by Highway 41 just outside of White Springs. Next, I hiked about one-third of a mile, only to realize I had left both my sunglasses and hat in the car. That would not do. So, I hiked back and got them, then headed back out.
Despite the heat (about 88 for a high), today was a fantastic day on the trail. The Suwannee River section is gorgeous. The trail follows the river a bit to start, then takes you through White Springs, a very pretty town. Next, you go through Stephen Foster State Park, known for its carillon. I enjoyed listening to the carillon’s bells, although all I could hear in my head all morning was the famous song, “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River.”
Of course, I had to head down to the Suwannee River and touch the water, just to say I had done so. About five minutes after I did that, I came upon a big sign warning about the alligators in the river. Yikes! The one thing you’re never supposed to do if there are alligators around is bend down near the water, since that makes them view you as small and edible.
Heading to US 129
Shortly after touching the river, I nearly stepped on a snake! Luckily, it wasn’t a “red on yellow kills a fellow” snake. Things settled down after that, and I enjoyed a true trail along the river. It was singletrack – often hugging the edge of the river bluff – and wound up and down and all around. It was the most strenuous hiking I’ve had on the entire trail to date.
By the way, the river is very interesting. It looks a typical blue in many places, but is also very brown and tea-colored from the tannins in the trees, I think the sign said. In many spots, wide expanses of very white sand line the shore. It was very pretty.
Near the end of the day, when I was .2 miles from my shuttle pick-up spot, the trail disappeared! There were no more blazes, and my app map said the route was through scrub. No way! So I hiked on the one path I did see, which spit me out on the highway about .3 miles north of where I should have come out. Not sure what was up with that!
P.S. I fell not once today, but twice. Both times I slipped on very deep piles of leaves.