The plan for Saturday morning was to hike through the Ocklawaha Prairie to a boardwalk for what we hoped would be a morning of photographing wildlife.
John had a backpack loaded with a spotting scope, binoculars, tripod and camera and we started out for the boardwalk trail along the Ocklawaha River.
An incredible magnolia tree meets hikers just across from the trail head where we picked up a map. We’ll have to make another trip in a couple months just to see this enormous tree in full bloom.
Construction on the bridge caused a change of plans since the boardwalk trail was inaccessible.
While the trail was mostly dry, there was one area where we had to cross a small steam. Too wide to jump across, several pieces of downed trees had been fashioned into a bridge by previous hikers so we could cross without plodding through the water.
We followed the white diamonds indicating a multi-use trail for hikers, bicyclists and those on horseback. It appears this is a popular trail for horseback riders, evident by the need to keep your eyes on the trail to avoid the gifts their horses left behind.
We were even surprised to find a campsite with a picnic table, fire pit and well on the river for campers willing to backpack in from the trail or by boat.
Our new plan didn’t result in any wildlife sightings, but the five mile hike was a good way to start the day. Only a few minutes from home, we’ll definitely be back.
The Ocklawaha Prairie is located at 7910 SE 137 Avevue Road, Ocklawaha, FL.
Warning: While we had no problem with mosquitoes on a warm March morning, this place looks like it will be mosquito heaven in another month or so.