The Florida Trail
Hiking the Florida Trail through Seminole State Forest, January 2023. There is a 7.5 mile segment of the Florida Trail throught this forest. This forest is gated and locked so you have to plan ahead to gain access. First order a permit, second pay an entry fee online and get a QR code, 3rd, when you arrive at the forest use the gate code from your permit to gain access. The Florida Trail is well-marked but I like to deviate from the trail and explore all the sulfur springs in the forest. I've found at least 30 springs and seeps by following Sulfur Creek and the Blackwater Creek off the main trail. Pictured above is the area near Moccasin Spring along the Blackwater Creek. Below is a Hickory Tree that for me marks a spot above Blue Algae Boil Spring. From here I scale down a steep escarpment to the spring located along Sulfur Creek.
Notice the orange trail marker on the Hickory Tree above. Stay with the markers to stay on the trail. Down below in the dense swamp-hammock it is very easy to get lost or even worse to get stuck in the thick quicksand-like muck. There are also plenty of black bears and allgators around so make a lot of noise as you traverse this thick transitional forest.
Below is a video of me kind of blazing a trail from the Florida Trail down to Blue Algae Boil Spring. Perhaps the most popular spring in the forest is Sharks Tooth Spring a few hundred yards to the south of this Hickory Tree, but I prefer some of the hidden springs that often sport bears and alligators. Blue Algae Boil is one, further to the north is Green Algae Boil Spring which has been lost to me since the hurricanes of Fall 2022. I will find Green Algae Boil again, but for now the treefall in that area has been difficult to traverse.
Below, another video of Blue Algae Boil with a resident alligator that was in the spring from 2017 to 2020.
Below, Moccasin Spring on a clear water day. A lot of times when I visit here the water is black and no discernable boil is visible.
Below, a scrawny Mom bear and cubs. I took this photo from some distance using 400 mm lens. The bears were near Shark's Tooth Spring on the road adjacent to the Florida Trail. At Shark's Tooth Spring area the trail comes very close to the dirt road that runs through the forest. This is also the area with the worst chiggers I've ever encountered hiking in Florida. As a preventative I often wear rubber knee boots and douse myself in deep woods off, then tape the boots back to my jeans. Still, every once in a while I'll get a chigger along this section of the trail.