Hiking in Winter… in Florida

Winter is not one of the “prettiest” months to hike in Florida – but the weather is perfect! If you know where to look there are small surprises everywhere!

Winter Mushroom

During a recent hike at Brooker Creek Headwaters Preserve we found a number of flowers in bloom. Toothpetal False Rein Orchids (Habenaria floribunda) were popping up everywhere under the pines. We was dozens of them!

Toothpetal False Rein Orchids (Habenaria floribunda)

Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaris) were starting emerge from the damp earth and the abundance of them is much greater than in years past. Another month or two the ground should be covered with them!

Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaris)

The biggest surprise for me was seeing how the Hooded Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia minor) are spreading – they are all out in the middle of the trail/road now when once they were hidden and very limited in numbers. I am hoping they do not take them out when they mow the property! Hooded pitcher plant is listed as a Threatened Plant in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act. This is defined as species of plants native to the state that are in rapid decline in the number of plants within the state, but which have not so decreased in such number as to cause them to be endangered.

Hooded Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia minor)

We were also pleased to see many Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea) coming up along the wetlands portion of the trail.

Orange Milkwort (Polygala lutea)

As the Pine Lilies from Late Oct. faded away along the scrub, we searched for another beauty and found plenty of Sabatia (Sabatia brevifolia)

Sabatia (Sabatia brevifolia)

“This property includes a mosaic of forested swamps, floodplains and low-lying uplands. The uplands include pine flatwoods, xeric oak hammocks, and mixed hardwood and pine prairies. Since 1993, Hillsborough County staff has performed a number of resource inventories that identified an abundance of wildlife and vegetation, some of which are considered threatened or endangered. For this reason, recreational activities on the property are limited to walking and hiking.”

When hiking these trails please remember that many of the trails that are noted as “seasonally wet” are oftentimes under water. There are not restrooms or water so come prepared! It is very important to practice the principles Leave No Trace when hiking this very special place.

Dogs are permitted ON LEASH ONLY! You must clean up after your pet for everyone’s enjoyment.

To learn more about the fabulous selection of endangered and native plants visit http://naturecoast.fnpschapters.org/

For a guided hike please contact Jeanene at Not a Clue Adventures http://www.notaclueadventures.com/

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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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