Goodbye Kansas, Hello Florida! Juniper Creek Trail Day Hike
We finally made it from Kansas back home to Florida! It’s great being able to see our families and friends and escape the Kansas cold. The logistics of the move were a little stressful (as they always are), but we’ve managed to get all of our stuff into storage and start the van shopping process (!!!!!!).
In the meantime, we’re splitting our time between Troy’s hometown in the Pensacola area and my hometown, just outside of Tampa starting North and heading South.
Because we’ve been looking for ways to soak in all of the Florida sun we’ve missed and because moving put us a bit behind on our 52 Hike Challenge for 2017, we figured a great way to kick off being back in Florida would be to hit up the nearest state park for a day hike.
In fact, we love our Florida State Parks so much that we asked for an annual pass to all of the state parks for Christmas and my parents amazingly granted our request. Annual passes for parks save so much money if you go to the parks I think like five or more times in a year? I’ts crazy. If you’re a frequent flyer at state or national parks, it’s 100% worth it to look into getting a pass. Having the pass made this trip super convenient.
Since the Florida State Park pass allows up to eight people to accompany one pass holder, we invited two of our good friends along to hike a portion of the Juniper Creek Trail at Blackwater River State Park with us. In the very early days of staring this blog, I wrote about a trip I took to Blackwater River State Park, but that time we just hung out by the river instead of exploring the trails. This time, we decided to take on a section of Juniper Creek Trail.
This trail is part of the Florida Trail which I would LOVE to thru hike one day. The Juniper Creek portion is about an 8 mile stretch beginning in Blackwater River State Park and ending down at Red Rock Road in the Blackwater River State Forest. Since this trail wasn’t a loop, we decided to just walk about 2 miles in and 2 miles back, but it still would’ve been a doable day hike if we had decided to park one car at either end.
One of the best parts of this hike was we took our two dogs and our friends took their two dogs and we basically had our own pack on the trail. It was glorious. A lot of Florida State Parks are dog friendly, but always remember to double check before heading out if the plan is to bring the pups.
Here are some pictures of the second hike in our 52 Hike Challenge, our first post-Kansas hike, AND a very pupper friendly adventure on the Juniper Creek Trail:
Most of the first section of the trail that we hiked was beautiful pine flats.
Some of the trail got a little muddy when we got into the titi swamp sections.
I’ve never really been the one to mind getting my feet a little muddy 😉
Most of the muddy parts have a thin boardwalk to keep you from doing too much wading. If you’re Chewy, you’re happy your paws stay mostly dry. If you’re June Bug, you take off into the water and get eaten by bugs and don’t learn a damn thing in the process.
Eventually, the trail dries out again and returns to flatwoods.
The dogs definitely had a ton of fun on this trail – watching the dogs be dogs is probably one of my favorite parts of hiking with them.
Chewy carried all the dog supplies in our favorite pack by Ruffwear.
He eventually got sick of posing for pictures and wanted to get back to his walkies.
Following the blue blazes on the trees, we continued on the trail until we decided it was time to turn around.
At the trail head, there’s a little spot with access to the river, so we let the dogs cool off before heading home.
Juniper Creek Trail/Blackwater River State Park was such an awesome adventure to welcome us back to the Sunshine State. If you’re ever in the Pensacola/Milton area, definitely go to Blackwater River. Support your state parks!
Anyone else go on any fun, outdoor adventures this week? I’d love to hear about what you’re up to in the comments or tag #BarefootTumbleweed on Instagram to share pics of your adventures!