Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hiking the Little Big Econ Trail

Our niece and nephew from the Northwest are in town and one of the things that was scheduled was a hike in the Little Big Econ to show them some Florida wilderness. I have a lot of photos to share so bear with it.

We stopped at a local restaurant to eat before our trek and then headed to the trailhead and get in a few (nearly six miles) hours of discovery.

Trailhead Sign

We made our way through the small wooded area and emerged along the trail and approached the Econ River.


The kids headed straight for the water's edge and I took in the view at our first stop.

Econ River

We continued along and I made a glance back to where we first touched the water. It is interesting to think of how we just left the parking area not long ago and were now in the depths of an Old Florida vista in just a few minutes.

Econ River

The boys were ahead of us and were suddenly interested in something in the palmettos.


Don't know how they spotted it, but a nice, fat Cottonmouth was sunning under the vegetation and just sat and watched as we moved along. Zoom lenses are as close as I need to get today.


We continued to follow the Orange blaze and watched our step.

Econ River

I was looking hard to find any plants in bloom but they were few and far between. I finally found some Tickseed in one sunny spot.


We made another trip down the banks and then tried to figure out how to get back up and out.

Which Way to Go?

I love seeing the views of the rivers in Florida but the trail made it more difficult than I had hoped. I had to take some side routes to get through the plants and lean out for some nice shots.

Econ River

I was mentioning that we needed to remember to get a shot of all the cousins in a shot when they decided to stop along the trail and got all bunched up perfectly. Hard to beat Christmas Eve in Florida while most of the country deals with cold.


While the group continued down the trail, I stepped down for another shot of the river as it made yet another bend.

Econ River

My main goal, however, was to try and see what was making all the racket in the trees. Best I could find was a Tufted Titmouse busily feeding in the branches.

Tufted Titmouse

One of the many wooden bridges we crossed along our route.


Reaching the end of the stretch of this trail, everyone took in the scenery before we had to head back.


Of course, I had to scale the banks and get another shot before continuing.

Econ River

Not too much to see on the way back but I found this moss interesting.


Hiding in the shadows, an Orchid has gone to seed but still grabbed my attention. I have only seen this species a couple of times over the years.


The kids were well ahead of me and David when I heard rustling in the scrub. I stopped and explored for a minute and found what I expected. A Black Racer was slinking through the bushes and waited for me to get a nice close-up.

Black Racer

We made the turns back up the trail and enjoyed a few more spectacular scenes as we tried to catch up to the cousins who were making a good clip back to the lot.

Econ River

Back to the start as the Sun drops lower in the sky.

Econ River

Turns out that our visitors wanted to see an actual American Alligator and Uncle David knew that there were some at Black Hammock not far away on Lake Jesup, so we headed over for a look.

Black Hammock

American Alligators are a normal part of life in Central Florida but here we could only view the ones in captivity.

American Alligator

The wind was really whipping now and as we looked out over the lake we spied a Lesser Scaup feeding not too far away before the next airboat tour headed out.

Lesser Scaup

Time to head home. In the parking lot, a Raccoon was busy raiding the dumpster near the cars.


Overall, a great day for a hike in the woods and excellent to have so many family members sharing in the fun. Tomorrow is Christmas and we will see everyone again before some head back to the chilly confines of the Seattle area. This was my first trip to the Little Big Econ Trail and I hope it will not be my last.

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