Saturday, June 20, 2020

Off the Beaten Path in Jacksonville

One of the trails at U.N.F.
e of the trails at U.N.F.

One of the keys to success in any business endeavor is making good decisions. Making good decisions requires clear thinking. One of the things that helps me to keep my thinking clear is taking long walks in the woods. Long walks are one of the best things I do for myself. I believe that long peaceful walks are good for anyone who is able to take them.  

When people visit Jacksonville for the 2020 Republican National Convention or other events, some may want to stray off the paved and beaten paths. There are several excellent places for a nice hike that are just a short ride from downtown Jacksonville.

Note: If you go out walking in Jacksonville in August, it will probably be hot, even in the morning and early evening. The heat can cause people to sweat profusely, and it doesn’t take long at all to become dehydrated. Believe me, you don’t want to be a mile from your parking spot when you start to feel overheated. Bring a bottle of water.

Also, there are lots of insects in Florida and many of them bite. That’s especially true at the Timucuan Preserve. For that reason, it’s a good idea to either apply some insect repellant before starting a walk.

Jacksonville Arboretum

The Arboretum is operated by a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. It’s a nice example of what a group can do when they pool their efforts. It’s only a ten-minute drive from downtown. There’s a paved walkway around a lake and several miles of unpaved trails through the woods. There’s also an award-winning Loblolly Bay Tree.

Nature Trails at University of North Florida

The trails go around a lake, through woods, and through a swamp. There’s a lot to see, including gopher tortoises grazing on the vegetation at times. There are also exercise stations for sit-ups, pullups, and walking on a balance beam a few feet off the ground.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

The Timucuan Preserve is part of the National Park Service. There are two entrances to miles of excellent hiking trails.

Theodore Roosevelt Area, 13165 Mt. Pleasant Road. 

The Theodore Roosevelt Area is one part of the preserve that has several miles of unpaved trails through the woods. One trail leads to an observation tower looking out over a salt marsh. And unlike most other parks in Jacksonville, the Timucuan preserve has one trail that’s a bit steep and moderately challenging. There’s not a lot of parking space, but there is a bathroom near the parking lot.

Fort Caroline Visitor Center, 12713 Fort Caroline Road. 

Another entrance to the same trails is across the street from the Fort Caroline National Memorial. There are more parking spaces than there are at the Theodore Roosevelt Area, but there’s no bathroom. There are facilities at the Fort Caroline National Memorial, but you may need to plan ahead if that isn’t going to be open when you visit.

To reiterate a very important point, bring some water for your hike and some insect repellant.