Posts Tagged ‘Riverbend Park’

With recent rains, I hesitated to attempt the next section of the OTL Trail, not wanting to wade among the muck and other creepy crawly things that might live in any standing water. However, if not now, then when? The rainy season is here to stay for a while! Worse case, I thought, I might get a couple miles in and decide to turn back. Ankle high water, I don’t mind, but thigh high? Ehhhh

So, I set out from Riverbend Park at 10:15 a.m. and immediately came upon three hikers heading in the opposite direction as I (and obviously, much earlier risers). They appeared geared up for camping and had passed through my destination that morning—and they reported a dry trail! Good news for me.

Entering the Wooded Trail

What I loved about this portion of the OTL was the diversity in my surroundings beginning with the easy stroll-like hike through Riverbend Park (dang, those trails are nice!). Once I left the park, the trail changed, and I passed through a shaded, winding, wooded, and often narrow trail until I emerged onto a sandy open and brutally hot road along the canal—causing me to be thrilled when I entered the woods once again. Wild boar had torn up portions of the woodsy trail, and I became adept at maneuvering around the ruts. As with the first section I hiked in January, this trail was well blazed—although I managed to get off track a couple of times and found that the AllTrails app did not always agree with the trail blazes.

Hot, Sandy Road Beside the Canal

Here’s why I prefer to hike alone—I have a better chance of seeing wildlife. I was on the trail for seven hours, and by mid-hike, I began to see signs of life. A couple raccoons scurried along the trail on their short little legs, two hawks and a heron flew above me, a wild turkey trotted across my path like a character in Alice in Wonderland with somewhere important to go, and a spotted fawn seemed as startled to see me on the path as I was to see it. Several miles into my hike, I finally came upon some welcomed benches and a lovely spot for lunch.

After lunch, in the middle of nowhere, I spied a wooden tower with steps to the top, and I dragged my tired butt up the stairs to see what I could see—a lovely view! A brief pause, and I continued on the trail (a total of 10.5 miles), finally emerging from the trees and onto Beeline Highway. I had left my car at Riverbend Park, thinking it might be an out and back hike. If I made it to the Beeline, I planned to call an Uber for a lift from the Beeline parking to Riverbend Park. (I know, city girl thinking for a country girl) Apparently, my location was a bit too remote, and I gave up waiting for a driver to grab my request after fifteen minutes. Thank goodness for family and back up plans. I thought I had read that there was new parking at the trailhead, but the Beeline Highway parking lot—one and a half miles east of where I emerged, seemed to be it. My tired legs and I were ready for a cold beer, but I took the Beeline stroll and arrived at the parking lot just about the same time as my daughter.

Beautiful View from the Tower

Next up on the OTL for me—Beeline Highway to the Youth Conservation Camp—about a five-mile hike one way.

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Having spent the last two months moving and renovating my new condo, I have not had time to take my usual summer paddling vacation to the far corners of Florida. However, I have made a couple return trips to some of my favorite paddling destinations closer to me—one of them Loxahatchee River in Jupiter, Florida. This time, I brought along a good friend, Barb.

Barb Paddles Riverbend Park

We’ve had a rainy summer in Florida this year, and the rain started as Barb and I drove I-95 to get to the park. We vowed then to paddle rain or shine! Magically, the sun poked through by the time we arrived at the park, and the rain stayed away for the next few hours. All this South Florida rain did have its benefits, though, as the Riverbend trip is not always open at the park as it relies on the higher water level.

What I like best about the Riverbend paddle (besides the beautiful scenery and safe location) is that the scenery changes every few minutes. It’s a 5.5 mile paddle that begins and ends in the Loxahatchee River but travels through various sections of the park in between. It passes through fun-sounding places such as Picnic Loop, East Slough, Cow Pond, West Lake, Hunters Run and South Pond. Within the paddle are two portages—easy enough. Along the way, we spotted bikers, walkers, and even a painter! We stopped along West Lake for a stretch and a snack before moving on. I had looked forward to our paddle through the large culverts and the cypress knees, but dang if we made a wrong turn somewhere and ended our trip without passing through them!

Even without the culverts and the knees, we had a great paddle and a fun day at Riverbend. We ended our outing with lunch at Guanabanas in Jupiter—what could be better?

(Outfitter: Riverbend Rentals in Riverbend Park. 9060 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL 33478. https://www.jupiteroutdoorcenter.com/riverbend-park/rentals/. (561) 746-7053).

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