Apr 21 2010

Myakka State Park, FL

Making friends with the locals ...Friday – Saturday 4/2/10
Trip: 16.0 miles (plus another 3 mile road hike back to car)
Elevation: 128ft (max) 42ft (min) ~210ft (total accent)
Time: ~8 hours total hiking
Temperature: 85 F
Wind: Light breeze
Conditions: Clear, no precipitation, low humidity
Pack Weight: ~24lbs (overnight load)


Myakka State Park is pretty typical for a South Florida lake/wetland. Full of wild life, flooded during the rainy season and miles of densely packed palmetto scrub brush with the occasional island of mossy oak or scrub pine. Oh and it gets hot. Really hot. And muggy if the humidity is up. Did I mention mosquitoes? But if you’re lucky and you time your trip right, hiking in South Florida can be rather pleasant. Myakka is close to the Gulf so in the spring when the sun starts to set, a nice breeze kicks up keeping most of the evening bugs at bay and provides some relief from the afternoon heat. The only real issue is dodging around days or weeks when the spring rains have flooded the low lands, basically putting everything under 2-3 inches of standing water. We managed to get everything but dry trail so I can’t complain too much about the trip.

As a reminder, Florida has several species of snakes. Some of them more poisonous than others. The 3.5-4ft fellow in the picture above was stretched across the trail sunning and after a long afternoon of hiking through muck and water, they can be easy to miss. I’m lucky this particular snake was paying attention because I wasn’t. I got about 3 feet away before he coiled and started rattling. After a 15 minute standoff, we decided the safest way around him was to scoop him off the trail. We couldn’t safely walk around him because the scrub brush was thick and crowded both sides of the trail – he was coiled smack dab in the middle which put his potential strike range across the entire trail. I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any stretch but I can tell you, facing off against a pissed venomous snake with only a hiking pole and a palmetto leaf is invigorating to say the least.

Typical trail conditions.Camp Panther Pointe under water.  Old fashion manual pump for fresh water.

Elevation Profile
Myakka State Park Day 1

Elevation Profile
Myakka State Park Day 2

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