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Posts Tagged ‘FloridaHiking’

I have explored Riverbend Park many times over the years—mostly to kayak. I love this park. It’s close by and has several great paddle trails as well as easy walking trails. The purpose of my visit on this day was to find the trail that connected with the Ocean to Lake Trail (OTL), part of the Florida Trail System. I wanted to hike the 9.4-mile section that starts just east of Jonathan Dickinson State Park at Hobe Sound Beach and needed an end point where I could park my car. However, there is not a car park at 9.4 miles, and Riverbend appeared to be my only option.

Trail at Riverbend Park

Riverbend rocks trail signage, and in addition to the cross trails being labeled, each cross trail includes an Exit sign. I love that being lost is never really lost. So, I can’t really blame the Riverbend folks for ending up at the wrong end of the park when searching for the OTL. I just got caught up in enjoying the journey and wasn’t paying attention.

In the end, I walked nearly three miles to find the OTL Trail which turned out to be less than a mile from the parking lot. However, getting a bit lost now and then certainly has its “ups.” This park has great trails for walking, hiking, biking, and paddling. Its website brags 680 acres and 10 miles of interconnected trails as well as 7 miles of equestrian trails and 5 miles of canoeing/kayaking trails. As I searched for the OTL Trail, I enjoyed the gorgeous afternoon and beautiful scenery, and, with the exception of the man who walked behind me with his earbuds in and talking to someone on his phone as if he was in a New York deli, I enjoyed the sweet serenity of the park and did not mind getting sidetracked at all.

Beautiful Views at Riverbend Park

The good news is the OTL trail is very close to the Riverbend parking lot, but the not so good news is that ending my hike at Riverbend adds five or six miles to my trip from Hobe Sound Beach making it closer to 16-miles. However, I accomplished what I set out to do, and I have set plans for my next hike!

(Riverbend Park. 9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33478. (561) 741-1359. Website: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/pages/riverbend.aspx)

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I completed the White Loop Trail at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on New Year’s Day and enjoyed it enough to bring me back for more! This time, my bestie, Barb, joined me, and we hiked the 4.9 miles of the Green Loop Trail in just under two hours.

If you come from almost anyplace other than Florida, you will find the Florida trails different. Mainly flat and often sandy, in many cases, there is little or no shade, but dang, you are out in nature in beautiful sunny Florida surrounded by the Florida scrub and who knows what else.

Sugar Sand Pathway of the Green Loop

This was a Monday holiday, so there were others around the park on bikes and on foot. The campsites were full. We hiked the Green Loop Trail, going counterclockwise. On the east side of the trail, we trudged through sugar sand as we headed north with the sun at our backs. The trail was narrower on this side with some shade and even some ups and downs!

Our View from the Wooden Bridge

We walked along the railroad tracks on the west side of the trail—the same tracks that bordered the White Loop I hiked on New Year’s. This trail was wider and paved in areas. Although this made the hike faster, we enjoyed the narrower sugar sand path and the added work it required more. Heading south, we started to see mountain bikers flying along their trails to our east but very little wild life other than that. The south end of the trail brought us to a lake and some welcomed shade—a short break for us before we ended our hike.

A Bit of Cool Shade Before the End

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