I love hiking because every day is so different and wonderful in its own way, even if it’s difficult.

So today I started out from the Chuluota Wilderness Area parking lot. I first dropped my car at Soldiers Creek Park, my ending point, where a taxi driver picked me up. He said it was fine to leave my car there.

During our shuttle back to my starting point, I quizzed the driver on those spiders I saw yesterday. He said they are banana spiders, not poisonous, although they do bite. He said they weave ginormous webs (saw those!) and that they’re active now but disappear by fall.

I started off today at 8:30 a.m. Still late, compared to my Ice Age Trail forays. But here it’s different. At least in May. If you start really early, the temps are lower but the humidity is higher. So it’s almost better to start later.

Anyway, I thought the first 2 miles were on Curryville Road, then the trail cut in when Curryville hit a T intersection. Wrong; the trail cut in part-way up to the intersection. But I missed it, because I wasn’t looking for it. Luckily when I hit the T intersection, there was a spur trail onto the FT just up the road. So I got back on pretty quickly.

The morning was warm and humid, yet cloudy with a little wind. So it wasn’t horrible for hiking, yet the humidity definitely slowed me down. The one scary time came when I nearly walked right into a banana spider and its web. It would have been right at mouth level! Thank goodness I saw it in the nick of time.

At 2 p.m. I finished the trails and popped out onto the roads. The rest of the day (until 6:30 p.m.) was on roads around Oviedo and Winter Park, and most of those roads were a bike path. Unfortunately the signage here was sparse, and I got off the trail a few times.

I used my sun umbrella here, and switched to a long-sleeved shirt to protect my arms from more sunburn. The highlight was stopping at a gas station/mini mart and purchasing a small ice cream cup AND a cup of ice for my water bladder. Cold water helps so much on hot days!

This trip I also made up a few gallons of Chrystal Lite lemonade. That has worked well for me; I drink it in between the water.

So I got back to Soldiers Creek Park at 6:30 p.m., excited that my lodging for the night was just 8 minutes away, and that I had ended at 6:30. But then I saw I was locked in! The county park had closed, and both exits were barricaded. I called the police, who notified the sheriff. A deputy came out and said they did not have keys to the locks, and the park officials would not let them (or the fire department) have keys for emergencies. I said, “I’d think you could just demand keys!” and he said, “Yeah, you’d think!” Luckily he found a bike path wide enough for me to drive on and I escaped the locked parking lot after 30 minutes.

Hiking is always an adventure.


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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