Sunday, June 1, 2014

Moccasin Marsh, Wonder Dome, Thunder Dome and Bonus Dome Hike

This morning I joined 12 other hikers at the Oasis Visitor Center to explore a few cypress domes along the Florida Trail.  Because our rainy season hasn't quite arrived yet, the trail was surprisingly bone dry!  It was a nice change even if it was extremely hot.  We left the visitor center around 8 AM and hiked 3 miles north along the Florida trail.

We stopped to look at some oak toads, Eastern Meadow Larks, and various grasshoppers.  We veered off the trail near the beginning of the blue loop and headed into Moccasin Marsh.  Because there was no water, there were also no moccasins this time.  All of these domes were named by my friend Christopher so you won't exactly be able to find them on a map.  

Testing out the panoramic feature on my new phone

We explored this small dome quickly then moved on to Wonder Dome.  Usually the center of this dome is filled with at least 3 feet of water but today this one was also completely dry.  We took a break in the middle of the dome and enjoyed some snacks.

After 30 minutes, we moved on to cross a prairie to explore Thunder Dome.  This one was also free of water except for a tiny mud puddle in the very center.  We sat around the puddle on some logs and took photos.

We were about to head back to the trail when Christopher spotted a 4th cypress dome he hadn't explored yet.  We voted to check it out real quick.  That one had the most sawgrass and we even saw a 3 foot Water Moccasin!  We headed back to the trail and took a quick break to hydrate.  The 3 miles back to the cars were quick since the trail was dry but it was extremely hot out (in the low 90s).  Overall, it was an easy 7.7 mile hike today.

Burnt parts of the trail

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