Hiking the Ocklawaha Prairie

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.