We love to hike, but living in Florida the concept of real hiking is a distant dream. Not to say there aren’t trails here because there are hundreds but they are more the ‘nature walk’ variety than an actual hiking trail. This does not stop us, though, the outdoors calls us every weekend and we try to find somewhere new to explore and let Copper our dog run (he is a natural born trail dog). This past weekend we ventured further than what we normally do and to a whole new part of the coast in search of a trail, we read about online. This adventure led us to a nature trail in Tarpon Springs, FL smack, bang in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, with the whir of a highway nearby and the deep hum of massive power lines overhead. Anclote River Nature Park.
My instant reaction was ‘where in the world are we??’, the restrooms were out of service due to vandalism, there were no other cars in the parking lot and the picnic benches were chained and bolted to nearby trees. This truly was mother nature in an urban jungle.
We set off on what we thought was the trail, as it was signposted “Trail” however this only lead us in a small loop past a dead end and to the parking lot again. We re-grouped and followed the second path this led us along a crushed shell walkway towards the water. Along the way, we met two women with two dogs asking us where the beach on the trail was. Beach??? Yes, Tarpon Spring is on the coast, but this trail was not. In their hands was a plastic bag with moldy bread which I am guessing was to feed seagulls? Where in the world are we?
The trail was advertised as being 2 miles long, and we really maximized those 2 miles, weaving in and out of each new trail head that took us to another dead end or small viewing platform on the water. Was this the best trail we’ve been on in Florida? No, will we come back again? Probably not. Did we have fun? Of course! It’s always good to be outdoors and moving around plus the dog always has a good time, which means we have a good time and it was definitely an adventure.
We ended the journey by venturing into nearby downtown Tarpon Springs, a predominately greek neighborhood with great food and a roaring sea sponge trade (if that’s even a thing). We found a restaurant with outdoor seating, unlimited greek bread and 2 for 1 Stellas. Happy days!
I have a bunch more hiking trail stories and recommendations for Florida (not all are crazy like this), where do you like to hike? Please comment and make me jealous about all the wonderfully scenic places you live and hike.