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Combining Passions


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Thanks to the generosity of a friend...ok, fine she needed the gas money, I was able to combine my two biggest passions a few weeks ago. A buddy of mine and I had decided to go camping with our horses at Hickory Hammock, a beautiful piece of land owned by the South Florida Water Management District. It is located in the South Central part of the state of Florida, about 18 miles east of Sebring, bordering the Kissimmee River. At the last minute Dave decided he could use a weekend in the middle of nowhere too. So my buddy agreed to trailer both horses so Dave and I could ride our bikes. Not a long ride, just about 70 miles or so, but very pretty. And the weather was GORGEOUS. One of those weekends that remind you why you put up with the summer heat.


Anyhoo, got there on Friday evening and stayed through Sunday afternoon. A few really bad pics for you:


Sunset on the Kissimme Prairie



A warning as you enter the camping area. No sucking jokes, boys.



Our campsite. The entire campground is nestled in the Hammock of Live Oaks and Water Oaks, all dripping Spanish Moss...which incidentally my horse thought was delicious.

Notice ther tent recovered from its' beating at Camp Blanding. I might also add if you are a birder, check this place out! I've camped in a lot of different places in Florida, but the song birds at this place were out of this world. So much so they were almost annoying in the morning. Nature's alarm clocks! smile.gif The birds of prey; barn owls, red-tailed hawks. crested cara caras, etc were very plentiful too.



There were several covered pavilions for picnicing...or in our case bike parking.




The barn, where we were allowed to stall our horses, was built by the McArthur Dairy Farm in the late 1940s. The loft was COVERED in owl pellets. Which would be really gross to most, but I enjoyed squishing them open with my boot and checking out the bones.





We headed south on Saturday for about a 3.5 hour ride. In the Hammock the whole time. Words can not describe the beauty. Here's a view from the saddle.



While we were riding Dave rode all around South Central FL visiting a friend for lunch in Bartow and stopping at airports along the way. Here's a cool amphib he spotted.



Stopping to take a beauty shot of the Light Truck on his way back down the 3.5 mile long road to the campsite from the main road.



To be continued......

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After everyone had returned back to camp we all mounted the Iron Horses and headed into town for supplies. Namely, beer. Here's a pic of my buddy Nancy (she rode with Dave) and he inside the drive through Liquour Store in Lorida (Lor-ee-duh).



On Sunday we headed North. This trail takes you alongside the Hammock...literally walking the line between the Oak Covered Hammock and the Flood Plain/Slough. Got a little eerie as we heard someone catching young hogs with dogs (Bark! Bark! Wheee! Wheee!) At least, I hope they were hogs. eek.gif And then watched the mama run out of the Hammock right in front of us. A few minutes after that we ran across two seperate cow skeletons. And did I mention all the Vultures?? We nicknamed it the Killing Fields.




We had to cross a couple of foot bridges Sunday. No big deal for the Bulldozer, aka Mercedes. She's really good about this kind of stuff. I once got her to stomp across an old mattress covered in blue tarp at an Obstacle Trail Challenge, never mind the teeter totter and the Fire Engine WITH working hose.Glad I wasn't wearing a white t-shirt that day.

This was a nice, easy solid one.



This one was not. It looked it, honestly. But half way across it started rocking and rolling. blush.gif



We crossed it so that we could find out what High Bridge was....we saw this sign in camp:



And couldn't resist, wobbly bridge, or no wobbly bridge. Our journey was worth it though, as High Bridge is, literally, a high footbridge over the river. Very pretty and a great view.



We packed up and headed home after the Sunday morning ride. Dave had left for home after we hit the trail so I rode home alone. Weather was still gorgeous and I enjoyed the scenery. A truly wonderful weekend doing my two most favorite hobbies and hanging out with two of my favorite people in the world.

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Thanks for sharing. Nice pictures. . . I guess you didn't get any of the owl pellets?


I used to work at a lake on the Front Range near Denver. We would get sooo excited to see a hawk upchucking a pellet. You probably wouldn't have been able to get me out of the barn. dopeslap.gif

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No, it was too dark up there. Seriously though they were everywhere! We thought they were all bat poop at first before I started pokin'em with a stick and realized what they were. And those guys were eating some BIG rodents too, judging from the size of some of the bones.


We could see them coming in and out of the barn at night as well. And hear them. Very cool. We had no racoons, but several armadillos kept wandering though our camp. I don't care who ya are, but there's nothing funnier than sneaking up on an armadillo (they have really bad sight, and evidently not very good hearing either) and then announcing your presence. They jump straight up and then run like hell. Good times.


Yes, I am a redneck. With a Beemer and a Mercedes. lmao.gif

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Great pictures, love that amphibian !! (better than the other kind that gets around those swamps and what not).

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