Tate’s Hell State Forest – High Bluff Trail

Tate’s Hell Hike

October 23, 2010

After a wonderful morning spent at St. Marks checking out the migrating Monarch Butterflies our small group decided to drive about 45 minutes over to Tate’s Hell State Forest and hike the High Bluff Trail. It is part of the Florida State Forest Trailwalker Program  – http://www.fl-dof.com/forest_recreation/trailwalker_index.html

Jeanene at Tates Hell State Forest

It was a hot day to start a hike in the middle of the afternoon and not much shade on this trail but we were pleased by all the beautiful wildflowers and wild rosemary growing along the trail.

Not far from the first mile marker, Barbara pointed out he first Pink Sundew that I had ever seen. It is quite a beautiful plant, low to the ground and about the size of a dime. It was growing right in the middle of the trail!

Pink Sundew growing on trail

Soon we were realizing how this trail got its name and we were heading up a very high bluff. To our surprise we were soon right in the center of the rarest habitat in Florida, a Florida Rosemary Scrub. The bushes were huge some over 6 feet and very rarely seen at this size. They were amazing to see, some had to be near 100 years old and this is rare as they are very prone to burning.

Barbara photographed next to ancient Florida Rosemary Bush

We saw many tracks on the trail, showing a wonderful variety of wildlife is still enjoying this wild protected place. We saw tracks of bobcat, coyote, turkey, deer, wild hog and bear!

Gulf of Mexico as viewed from the trail

 

Tate's Hell State Forest

 

There were lots of bear tracks (and scat) up near the 3 mile marker on one of the higher bluffs overlooking the estuary.

Size of bear tracks next to my boot

We found 2 varieties of beautiful red flowers that we still can’t identify and many other beautiful fall flowers serving up precious nectar for many insects and birds preparing for winter. As the day got cooler and the sun started sinking lower in the sky many songbirds came out to greet us. We spotted Pine Warblers, Wood Peckers, Tufted Titmouse, Blackbirds, Sparrows, and many others I cannot remember.

Fall is such a wonderful time to get outdoors and I look forward to many other hikes before the weather turns too cold.

Yellow Drumhead on trail

 If you are interested in this hike or for joining us on others please visit the following links:

Tate’s Hell State Forest: http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/tates_hell.html

Not a Clue Adventures: http://www.notaclueadventures.com/

Additional photos taken on this hike: http://cid-d8481b2b188e8808.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Tate%5E4s%20Hell%20-%20High%20Bluff%20Trail

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About notacluegal

Jeanene was born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a young child her family was very active in the outdoors. Things changed when her parents decided to travel down different paths in life and with that decision so went many of the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Being lucky to live in the suburbs Jeanene always had a backyard to play in and loved being outdoors. As the years passed she took every opportunity to be outdoors. She bought land in Tennessee and as a single mom moved her young daughter to the mountains. The were many life lessons learned on that mountain. There was no plumbing on the property – or even a house, but that did not stop her. She learned to live off of what was available and built her own cabin from the trees on her property. Those were rough years but the most rewarding. Now Jeanene resides in Tampa, Fl. and works as an office manager full time….but still yeans to be outdoors. Jeanene started “Not a Clue Adventures” to teach everyone she could how wonderful the outdoors are! That camping and fishing and hiking can be done by everyone and at many different levels. Single mom’s no longer have to be afraid to take their sons and daughters outdoors. By working with young couples, single parents and even seniors, she gets to teach others about her love for the outdoors and hopes to open their eyes to new adventures. In 2009, Jeanene completed certification as a Leave No Trace Instructor. She also works closely with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the Florida State Parks. Jeanene is also certified in First Aid/Adult CPR.
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