Are We Hiking or Walking?

May 7, 2010


Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often on hiking trails…In the United States and United Kingdom, hiking refers to cross-country walking of a longer duration than a simple walk and usually over terrain where hiking boots are required.
— Wikipedia–

They are called hikes.  Online, in guide books, on maps, in brochures.  But if they are on flat, wide open paths large enough for a car or truck, are they still considered hiking trails? And am I hiking if I walk them?  Hiking boots are rarely required and I usually end up wearing my beat up Vasque Trail Runners.   

Trail or path? Hiking or walking? Whichever or whatever they are, two of my favorites in Florida so far are found at designated National Wildlife Refuges.  

Cruickshank Trail, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, is a 5 mile loop trail.  The trail is named after Allan D. Cruickshank, a wildlife photographer, writer and naturalist.  It is located at Stop 8 along the Black Point Wildlife Drive.  The first time we hiked this trail we rounded a bend just in time to see a large otter crossing the path from one waterway to another. 

Cruickshank Trail

Rest Stop on the Cruickshank Trail

The nature trails at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs are more like wide footpaths.  A small part of the trail meanders through a pine forest to a secluded waterway.  A great walk of up to five miles or more.  Also a great location for viewing alligators on the banks sunning themselves.   

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Trail


Free Alligators

April 19, 2010

Why pay to see alligators when they will pose for free?

Why pay ticket prices at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm?   Viewing alligators is a freebie in this state.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, just northeast of Orlando, is a new discovery.  A six mile hike revealed 16 alligators sunning themselves on the banks.  Unlike at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, this time I didn’t have a car to jump in if the alligator looked my way.   I felt uneasy, particularly around the two larger ones. From snout to tail, they were all of 9 feet and 10 feet long.   

Meet Big Boy, as I unaffectionately titled him.  I do however like the addition of the flowers to his back.  Maybe he’s a she, and she’s in love, or just worn out.  It is Spring mating season after all. 

Toward the end of the hike, I spied this Fat Boy, looking completely worn out and unable to heave his fat body anywhere, much less my way.  Did he just eat one of those big Sandhill Cranes, or a small pony perhaps?


Copyright 2010 Barbara von der Osten