Monthly Archives: January 2017

First Day Hike – the New Year means more hiking

The New Year started with a good first day hike

The first day of 2017 found me crossing the state on Highway 60 east of Lake Wales before reaching the Turnpike. While driving east, I noticed the familiar brown colored sign indicating another Great Florida Birding Trail location was around the corner. It was getting a late in the morning but I still decided to checkout the property. I was hoping to take a couple of quick photos before getting back on the road. The place looked interesting and the map on the information board indicated a couple of short trails. There was a trail leading to a campsite and another ending in an observation deck over a wetland. When water is near, things can get very interesting quickly.

A French company ran a logging operation around here a century ago

The site was named SUMICA. It stands for Societe Universelle Mining Industrie, Commerce et Agriculture which is the French company that had timber rights to the land. The town of SUMICA was established in 1917 and logging operations went on for 10 years. After logging was no longer viable, the town was abandoned in 1927. The hiking trail follows an old railroad bed raised above the surrounding wet prairies. The hike started on a wide open trail. Halfway into the trail, a canopy of trees turned the landscape into a great looking trail that I have not seen in South Florida before. Maybe it was the unseasonal warm temperatures or the bright sunlight of the late morning but there were not many birds around. Definitely a place that I want to explore again.

Hiking trail to the east. Campsite trail to the west.

Hiking trail to the east. Campsite trail to the west.

Trail starts open and wide.

Trail starts open and wide.

Tree canopy provides shade for the next half mile.

Tree canopy provides shade for the next half mile.

The end of the trail invites more explopration.

The end of the trail invites more exploration but the brush gets thick.

An observation deck is located at the end of the hiking trail.

An observation deck over a wetland is located at the end of the hiking trail.

I was not ready for these sandhill cranes flying over while I was trying to capture a landscape image.

I was not ready for these sandhill cranes flying over while I was trying to capture a landscape image.