I’m heading into the stretch for my hike preparation. I now have eighty some odd miles on my boots and I’ve hiked as far as ten miles at a time. But…I still haven’t done the kind of elevation gains that the REI folks recommended. Other than flying somewhere, I think that I am not going to find a 2000-foot elevation gain in Florida, or in Southern Georgia, for that matter. But the authors of the Florida Trail Guide (the Florida Scenic Trail is Florida’s version of the Appalachian Trail) put together a listing of hilly portions of the Florida Trail.
The stars aligned! Last week the Suwannee Spring Reunion music festival, an annual event, at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park popped up on my calendar wish list for the same weekend that I wanted to do a long hilly hike. (I had wanted to visit the park for a long time) And….the trailhead for two Florida Trail hilly hikes happened to be just across the river on the other side of Suwannee Springs. About a 3.5 hour drive, this clearly was an overnight trip and I gave it two nights, with Sunday at the festival. Monday and a few hours on Tuesday will be for hiking. Camping at the park or motels in Live Oak are options, but need to be reserved well in advance of a festival.
The Festival was well worth the visit with some amazing Americana music (bluegrass, blues and country). Great for listening and photography. Sunday has two active stages; thus, you move back and forth…no downtime between bands.
Bring your own chairs. Vendors sold food, much of it even healthy and there is also a café on site. The Festival Park hosts a huge number of campers during events and many people stay for all three days.
I think they might want to call this hippy fest if the name hasn’t been taken already. More tie dye here than probably existed during the 1960s, both for sale and on people.
After I finished listening, I headed over to Suwannee Springs across the road. The ruins of the Suwannee Springs spa, which existed before the Civil War, remain as well as those of an old train trestle. A closed car bridge crosses the river to the trail. Tomorrow looks to be some fun climbing. I can’t wait!