Path through forest of tall, skinny pine trees near Florida Hwy. 331Today’s destination: Hwy. 331. My day started off with a 5.6-mile road walk north of Bruce, continuing from yesterday’s road walk along Hwy. 20. But after I’d been walking a while, following my paper map, I realized my app map showed a different route – on a trail. Hmm. Turns out, a new trail segment was developed in December 2016 that replaced this road walk. So the maps are outdated – the maps I paid $100 for! They could have at least put a sticker on that page and said there was now a trail to replace the road routes.

Oh, well. It was too late to go back. So I finished the road walk and then hopped on the trail at the Nokuse Plantation, a private pine plantation. (The name is pronounced NO guh see.) The trail here was great, winding through some beautiful pine forestland. I love pine forests! The ground is so cushy with the pine needles, and the trees are beautifully and symmetrically lined up.

But then the trail wound through some kind of grassy meadow. And then suddenly I was in some swampland, and then passing several creeks. There was such a wide variation in the scenery and terrain, and that was a lot of fun.


Boondoggle En Route to Hwy. 331White, sandy hiking trail blazed orange running through open meadow near Florida Hwy. 331

I was enjoying myself immensely, when I looked at the map again and got confused. It looked like I had many more miles to hike than I thought. Long story short, I missed jotting
down one trail segment on my itinerary, so I had 3.7 more miles to hike than I’d planned. This meant I’d end up hiking in the dark once again.

Luckily, the last few miles of this trail were in pretty open land, and it takes about an hour from official sunset for it to get dark. I hit the trailhead at Hwy. 331 just as the sky turned inky. But the trailhead was on a busy highway that was under construction, and I couldn’t see Judy’s car. And she’d arrived at dark and couldn’t see where the trailhead was, so she’d just pulled over on some random spot along the highway. It took us about 10 minutes to find each other, but we did it. Phew!


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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