I got tempted this week, while traveling on business across Alligator Alley and swung into the Recreational Access site on westbound I-75 near milemark 70. I was in black street shoes, slacks and business long sleeve shirt :). No problem, headed through the first and second gates and out about 1/4 mile, it was dry and firm in the Pines, and night quite as dry in the cypress. Had a cool breeze and no bugs. If my phone would have not gone dead, I might have just called in to the office with a case of swamp fever right then :)!
So that spurred planning a hike up the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) from the I-75 Rest Area at mile marker 63 within 3 weeks. From what I read the Nobles Grade road is usually dry.
Does anyone know what are the conditions on the side loops that are at natural ground elevation? They are shown on the attached google map photo with the BCNP .kml routes plotted.
What is a reasonable estimate for hiking speed, 2 mph? 1 mph?
Hunting season is over January 1. How often do you hike in September thru December?
Dale, I like to start hiking/backpacking late October when water levels still up and it starts to cool down somewhat. Our first group trips start in November - mid April. Some keep day hiking late in the season and into summer. Personally I find it way too hot to be enjoyable this time of year.
As to hunting, the only time I really know for sure I won't hear guns going off is first few weeks in February starting 25th you have turkey season 'till Mar 8th. I've got friends that do hunt quail Nov - Mar and wild hog all year up in Hendry.
Regardless of what I think, the addition lands will be open to hunting and ORV use. And I totally agree with you on the Indians but that is also a losing battle. Plus, this is not the forum to argue these matters.
I do enjoy reading your posts and the knowledge you share through your experiences in the Big Cypress. In the end, we all want to protect and manage this public land for future generations to enjoy. IMHO this is the common cause we share.
I can understand not wanting to hear guns. Its the duck and quail hunting that can be annoying. There are not much quail in the Big Cypress anymore. Maybe up in the Addition Lands, I dont know.
I wouldnt worry too much about deer hunters. Target practicing is severely frowned upon. Many hunters never fire a single shot all season. Private land may be the exception. I think turkey season is always in March and goes to April 4 usually ends on a Sunday and centerfire rifles or anything but birdshot is prohibited. January and February should be the best time for you.. There is also a 3 week period before Novenber 10 that has no hunting. Hog can only be hunted in deer season if there are any left. Deep Lake is Archery only.
I would suggest getting out and away from the main trails. There are many places I hike during hunting season in hunting areas and never see another human or hear a shot. Its your right to hike as well as it is theirs to hunt.
I think your hiking trails will be off-limits to ORV.. I havent been in the Addition Lands much except out past Rat Camp but Ill bet its pretty. Im worried that the NPS will limit primitive camping to designated sights like it is in Bear Island even though nobody wants it.
Im not always right but I am outspoken. I hope we can all find common ground. The Indians need to start acting like everybody else when it comes to hunting. Indiscriminate killing of pregnant does is just not moral. This is not 1974 when they needed to hunt for survival. Their PR is good but I think public opinion can be changed. The pen is mightier than the sword.
Yea this isnt the forum to talk about some of these these things perhaps but I figure its all going to disappear very soon when we transfer over to the new site.
Bill and all:
I just completed the last section of a cool bike or hike through from mm63, up Nobles Grade (4 miles), across a trail my buddy Dennis calls "campfire trail" to Bundschu Grade (6 miles), then 2 miles down Bundschu to an old Jeep Trail (I refer to as Charlie Billie for the camp on it), then west 8 miles into Bear Island Car Campground.
It would be a weekend trip hiking or a full day biking.
If anyone is interested in doing this in April, let me know.
Here's a link to the trail conditions: