Everglades Exploration Network

I have a mind to try and reach Robert's Lakes Strand from the Gator Hook Trail on the Monroe Station leg of the Loop. I know the Fl. Scenic Trail runs through the Strand on the eastern end but I have yet to hear of anybody coming in from the west. The first couple of miles of the old Gator Hook logging tram that runs southeast off the Loop has been cleared, but it's all wild after that. The line of the tram is still evident after the cleared path runs out, and I was able to follow it for about another half-mile but it gets pretty boggy in places. Anybody else have any info on this route?

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I just looked on Google Earth and wasn't able to detect any path even if I went back to older photos.  It looks like the original buggy trail followed the old Florida Trail from Loop Rd to Frog Hammock Camp where it then veered east.  I don't think it'd be do-able in a day since bushwhacking slows you down.  Just doing Gator Hook to Oasis or even Loop Rd to Oasis takes the better part of a day.  

Someone got lost on the Gator Hook Trail again.  It appears they were rescued just past the center of the "W".  http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/state/man-goes-missing-in-fl-preserv...    Its very thick in that area and can be confusing. The trail, which follows the old logging tram, will need continuous maintenance to keep from disappearing anywhere past the center.

I was out there Sunday and the trail was hard to follow in some places.  The bench camp looks good and the area is all cleaned up.  

A cypress knee bench 

I found an old zerox copy of the logging tram with my hand written notes from the late 80s.  The T's are treestands and I have them numbered just for this discussion. We had our own names for places so we could identify them in conversation; such as: Larry's Gator Hole, Snake Dance, Cross Roads, Turn NW etc.  Of interest here is the word "Pump" with an arrow.  Obviously this is the lost pump island but keep in mind this was before public use of GPS and my pump location is only a best guess estimate at the time.  This was late 1980s and I did not discover the "Center of the W" until 25 years later.  So there was no known landmark nearby. The trail went to the pump island camp where I could get water and cook and that is where I usually turned back.  I had been there many times but one day it just vanished.  I just couldn't find it. Left behind are pots and pans, some tools, large seashells and a green plastic bucket over the wellhead. 

Most of these treestands were built before it was a preserve and at least one remains today.

1- in Clyde's Dome; probably removed

2- rotted away many years ago

3- Larrys tree stand rotted and fell.

4- this stand still remains today as a curiosity; may have been built in the 50s or 60s.

5- crossroads; may still be there but I cant find it.

6- the lost pump island camp

Let's go,Swamp hunter! When will you be back on your feet for a hike through there?

i dont know. ... not this month.  Im on my feet fine but cant do any long hiking.  I just thought I would add the old paper I found it might help somebody locate a cool place.  I dont think its that far east though but its in there somewhere

shawn beightol said:

Let's go,Swamp hunter! When will you be back on your feet for a hike through there?

Im worked about Keith.  Im not able to get in touch with him.

Let's try to find it after hunting season.

Sure best time is after hunting season.  I notice I have a mark just north of the tram marked "W CAMP" not sure what that is and I crossed it out.    W for water?  As far as I remember, I had not even realized the tram was in a huge W shape.  Keith was first to mention that.  And Im absolutely sure I had not yet discovered that turn to the SE we now call the "center of the W" until many years later.

The trail ended at the pump island so maybe I thought that was where it ended.  And I must have meant W for water but wasnt sure of its location so I crossed it out

Also it says TURN NW because I was coming from the opposite direction when I discovered that point. I was trying to find a quicker route to the camp from Oasis but I gave up on that.  It was not easy before GPS.

It was not easy to judge distance.  

i found my old GPS that I purchased in the 90s to mark the location of the pump, along with my old grid card overlays, notes and tool kit. But unfortunately the trail to the pump island had already begun to disappear and I was never able to plot my position on the map or save the waypoint..

 However there may be some waypoints on this unit that would be helpful. i would imagine i marked something.  If I was smart, I would have saved some waypoints on the trail to the pump or where I thought it was.. This GPS is very basic and has no map whatsoever and Im trying to get it to power up. Its worth a try.  I bet there is something useful on this old GPS besides all the old tree stand locations..

Swamp Hunter, I can help power it up if you can't get it to work.  Dont throw it out!

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