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  1. #1
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    (This is a fairly detailed trip report as it is also my record of the trip)
    I did a 2 1/2 day bicycle tour up to Jupiter/Hobe Sound to check out some of the remote areas to the west of this region.I stealth camped just west of Jupiter the first night after taking the coastal route up there stopping frequently at various beaches on the way in particular Palm Beach and Jupiter . Self-contained bicycle tourists draw a lot of attention and it seems that beach babes dig them too but that is another story.However it seems that touring cyclists have it rough these days because everyone while outwardly gasping at the idea actually expects nowadays to hear you are headed to some distant destination such as Ca. or Tierra de Fuiga etc.For example I stopped at the Yankee Trader a neat fruit /vegie mart near Juno Beach for some fresh squeezed juice and the lady asks how long I'm travelling for.I said just for the weekend but apparently that wasn't the answer she wanted to hear as she commented oh a week long trip(I guess I do a good job of acting like a world traveller lol).
    Anyway I frequently in the past have done long day rides up to Jupiter/Hobe Sound and back but as this is 120-130 miles round trip and I don't always like to push for distance particularly when touring I have had plans to find a good steath camp site in this area to use ocassionally or even perhaps set up a permanient camp somewhere really remote.I have once before stealth camped near Hobe Sound but that was not a site I would camp again but this site was very nice in fact on to the west there would be quite a few good camping spots as I kind of figured.Prior to finding this site I checked out where a new spur of the Fl. trail called the Ocean to Lake(Okeechobie)trail will cross the main road(when complete early next year)but this was all on fenced and posted govt land so I kept going.
    The next morning I set off to explore the backcountry(much of which is govt. land or land they intend to acquire.I would have to say this area rivals Big Cyprus and the remote areas along the southern boundry of the Ocala N.F.(ONF itself is too managed to be pretty imo) in shear beauty for remote Florida backcountry.In particular I wanted too check out some of the hiking/backpacking trails in the Hungryland/Pal-Mar area(ie water mngt. district lands).Soon after I turned north into this area I saw my first wild pig and heard another(this proved useful later as you will see). At a canal/levee where you can hike I stopped and abruptly heard a splash into the water.You guessed it soon the beady eyes of an alligator surfaced.Continuing on I soon reached the hiking trails proper and got some useful info from an outdoor type who was just leaving as I got there.I hiked the eastern section which was about 2 miles roundtrip noting the westerly
    trail went considerably farther.
    From there I headed around to Hobe Sound including the WMA at the beach then headed south to Jonathon Dickenson S.P. A cute ranger chick confirmed you could backcountry camp if you backpacked 9 miles in along the Fl. Trail spur to the designated camping area.Heading on southward I took a more westerly route back ie. out along the everglades and farming areas(what hasn't been turned into housing developements in that area yet anyway.At nightfall I found a stealth camp in some neat pine forest land.After a few hours I began hearing noises that sounded strange but vaguely similar to the noises I had heard earlier in the day.Then I began hearing movement almost like human footsteps and I was briefly concerned maybe some homeless types inhabited this area but I was well enough concealed no human would find me and the noises were a dead giveaway there were wild pigs in the area moving very close to my campsite(I'm pretty sure thats what they were anyway).Well after much flashlight shining didn't seem to move them away just made them very quiet I decided I would let out a roar like a lion lol while just in case grabbing my bicycle pump.Well that along with a lot more flashlight shining seemed to make them keep there distance though I heard their noises periodically thoughout the night as while I got plenty of rest didn't really fall asleep.Now I did have my food with me in the tent though I had done no cooking and I guess I should have followed the tip I got about using a metal tin to store food in in areas where its difficult to hang food.Oh well live and learn though I did kind of actually enjoy the encounter and definately enjoyed the peace and tranquity and various forest noises through my tent mesh.I wonder how dangerous those things are though? I do plan to check it out on the internet. Anyway next morning was a rather uneventful ride the rest of the way.
    It was a very enjoyable tour in spite of the heat and the camping temperature was fine once I cooled down from all the cycling.And both camp sites were basically bug free a real plus.I already have my next tour destination decided Wauchula along the Peace River and it will be sooner rather than later probably a 4 day trip.I have toured Okeechobie,Arcadia and Sebring areas I will cover on this tour as well but mostly on main roads without the time to expore the backcountry areas north of Arcadia and west of Sebring.An acquaintance on another internet group originally gave me much info on this area as he has a place out that way and use to be a Fl. backcountry guide.When we camped in Arcadia on a prior tour I went several miles down the backroad to this region and it was very nice.
    Last edited by RWTD; 06-28-04 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    sounds like a great weekend, thanks for takin the time to share
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
    there are no bicycles in the valley, the only bicycle you find in the valley is the bicycle you ride down there.
    Ride in the front, this space is available to anyone that wishes to take it-jjmolyet

  3. #3
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    At a canal/levee where you can hike I stopped and abruptly heard a splash into the water.You guessed it soon the beady eyes of an alligator surfaced.

    I'm a native Floridian transplanted to New Jersey a long time ago. I'm interested in doing some hiking/biking/camping in Florida. In NJ I hike, bike, canoe, and kayak in an area known as the Pine Barrens. It's a large pine and cedar forest. In fact it's the largest undeveloped area along the east coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Many compare it to areas of Canada. It's a very nice area to get away from all the sprawl and it's hard to believe a place like this could exist so close to mass civilization. Yet it does.
    In the pine barrens humans are the top of the food chain. If something is rustling in the bushes the biggest thing it could be is a deer. If something slithers by it's most likely a non poisonous snake as the rattle snakes in the area are far and few between and stick to their habitat. In the water the biggest thing you will encounter is a beaver. In other words, it's a very safe place to camp, hike, bike and swim. Unlike Florida where the local wildlife can be hazardous to your health. My question to you is this, how do you protect yourself while stealth camping?
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  4. #4
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    Hi I just got back from a 6 day tour (5 nights stealth camping)up to Wauchula(on the Peace River).Did much riding on both remote roads and the dirt levees (around Lake Okeechobie and through the Everglades).Had so much fun and will try to do some kind of trip report.

    But to answer you question humans are not on the food chain of many(if any)animals.Alligators,wild pigs ,poisonous snakes etc. will all head to safety on site of humans of course its smart for humans to do the same.I have heard small children and yapping dogs will draw alligators but otherwise they will do like the one in that report jump into the water and then scope the situation submerged except for their eyeballs.On this more recent trip I camped near the canal down from the levee that runs around Lake O and heard a few gators splashing during the night but they did not bother me .While alligators are not reportedly drawn into your camp by food smells(and that was my experience as well) other animals are and while most of the danger is to your food supply it is a good idea to hang your food bag from a tree away from camp or use a ursack if no suitable trees are available.Having said that some parts of no. Fl. have bears and they are drawn into camp by food smells and I have heard in some situations this can be dangerous to humans.The wild pigs I heard in the woods I will have to research more on but I saw another one this last trip and it took off running just like the one I saw on the previous trip.One situation you should definately try to avoid though is to not get between any mother animal and her young and also keep alert to avoid getting into a situation where you startle,corner or trap a wild animal(ie stepping on a poisonous snake is not smart).Just be alert use common sense and you will learn to enjoy rather than fear the wild kingdom(I still jump a mile though when I see poisonous snakes though lol)

  5. #5
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    (I still jump a mile though when I see poisonous snakes though lol)[/QUOTE]

    I jump a mile when I see any snake! Thanks for the info.

    Here's a funny story. As I said I've been going back into the pine barrens for years. And for years I've tried to convince my wife that it's a safe place to swim. She won't swim anywhere where she can't see the bottom. Well, I finally convinced her to go with me. We loaded up the canoe and paddled an hour to a great swimming beach. There were a couple of guys fishing at the beach so we decided to let them fish awhile before we scared all the fish away. A few minutes after we got there one of the fishermen started yelling "look at this !" and pointing to a large snake in the water. The snake, we think it was a Black Racer, worked its way up the bank and then about six feet up into a tree. My wife looked at me and said "Are you kidding me? You were going to let me swim in there?" I assured her it was safe, that the resident snake had gotten out of the water to let us swim. She didn't buy it, of course.
    ,
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  6. #6
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    I will say you should choose your swimming holes very carefully in Fl. as many inland lakes and particularly canals are infested with alligators and they have too much of an advantage in water over humans.On some trails in Fl. during the rainy season some people hike in up to waist deep water through swamps(such as at Big Cyprus) but that is not for me I usually prefer dry land to water. When I lived in the Appalachians I did use to swim in a lake by my cabin and there were sometimes beavers that would start swimming around along me.It was kind of neat but I was always a little cautious because those things have some nasty teeth.
    Last edited by RWTD; 07-12-04 at 03:48 AM.

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