First Day Hike

January 1, 2014

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Our family has a tradition to visit a Florida State Park on New Year’s Day for a family hike and we always pack a picnic lunch.  We have done this for four years now and we all enjoy seeing the vast lands of Florida.  Some of the State Parks have guided tours with the ranger, you can check with their events calendar.

Our day started out to be a dreary, cloudy and rainy day but our family likes adventures so we took on the challenge.  To kick it up a notch we brought the dogs.  We had two parks in mind and chose one that had more walking trails as we decided to go kayaking at the other park later on in the month.

So we sprang into action, at least me and my husband but the girls decided to leisurely get ready.  I took care of packing our picnic lunch while my husband got the car ready.  I have a mini-van and we all know how much stuff a family mini-van can carry at all times.

As we drove to the park the day continued to be cold and have that light drizzle, it reminded me of the late fall days in Chicago while growing up.  We arrived at Colt Creek State Park, in Lakeland, FL and once we got to the park to our surprise it is an unattended ranger station.  We have a Florida State Park pass which is a great investment for a family, we just referenced our pass# on the tag and deposited it in the slot.  The cost for the year pass is $120.00 for up to eight people in a group, there are some restrictions with Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs, but still worth the cost, Florida State Park Annual Pass.

The park has a lot to offer, there is a boat ramp for access to Mac Lake where they only allow, canoe/kayak or electric trolling motor boats. If you like to camp there are two sites available one is a youth site or a second site can be used for primitive camping.  The park offers 12 miles of hiking or horseback riding trails, bring your own horse, sorry we don’t have one of those.  We chose a small trail for our hike as the day wasn’t really suited for the 12 mile hike, we’ll have to come back for that one.  If you like to Geocache the ranger has a list but we chose to use the app we have on our phone.  We found a small cache that had many things.  Unfortunately, my husband chose to take the Australian Shepherd into the brush and came out not only with the find but the sticky burrs all over the dog.  A quick trim with a leather man cleaned up all the sticky things.  Throughout the park you’ll find a few picnic pavilions, one made a great spot for our picnic lunch.
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The rain continued so there wasn’t much more for us to do.  We packed everything up and decided to leave for the day.  It was a short trip at the park but was another great day with the family.  Looking forward to the next visit.

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