Saturday, November 18, 2017

Upper Hillsborough Tract, Zephyrhills, Florida, 11/6/2017

Linear Route, Upper Hillsborough Tract, Upper Hillsborough Preserve, Zephyrhills, FL, November 6, 2017,

Mileage:  10ish miles (RT, up and back)

Trailhead: This hike starts at the north entrance: County Road 54, directly across from Berry Road, Zephyrhills (2.1 miles east of intersection of CR 54 and Chancey Road). North entrance parking does not have a driveway. Across from Berry Road there's a clearing with fence and trail sign.  Parking is free. 

Hiked with Lindsey today. We were itching to get out and begin our hiking season (Florida hiking season typically begins in October and runs through April - later depending on how well you tolerate the heat).  

Parking area is a clearing, no driveway.

There's a map at the kiosk.

It was a beautiful day, starting out on the cooler side but warming quickly.  

Blazes are frequent. We followed blue, orange and yellow blazes, assuming they all took us to the south trailhead (they did). Right at the beginning we missed the trail and got a little turned around. We quickly backtracked and found our way.

There are blue, orange and yellow blazes to follow. 

Terrain is typical for this area: flatwoods and fields.  Today it was particularly pretty, we were just glad to be on the trail.  

Scrub is quite pretty.

During the trek we saw two snakes, a tortoise and several banana spiders. Right at the beginning something bit my leg as I went through tall grass (there are several grassy areas) and Lindsey found a tick on her pants, so I recommend long pants and sleeves.

Lots of double blazing on this route, which in this case means a turn in the trail.  This is very helpful in scrubby spots where the trail wasn't real evident to us.  

Two blazes placed like this means trail goes left.

We crossed a few old roads and came to...train tracks!  

Love crossing over tracks!
Love those witch brooms!

We could hear planes as we got closer to the south trailhead (Zephyrhills' airport is off of Chancey Road). When we arrived at the kiosk it was blank, nothing on it. 

Southern trailhead (nothing on board).

The trail continues but for us this is the turnaround.  We stopped and had something to eat on the picnic table, watching the skydivers.

Parking lot at south end.

Back into the woods we go!

On our way back we stopped at the primitive camping area - 1/4 mile in from the main trail.  Pay close attention to the blazes on this stretch. 
The way to the campsite is sketchy in spots - Look for blazes.

Love their sway!

It's a cute campsite, and we found a geocache!

The hike back to the main trail and to our cars went quickly.  A good out-and-back! 

Our route (I erased our wrong turn - at bottom here).