But this day was different than the others. Changing the pushing-foot on my scooter came naturally – and switching feet regularly increased my endurance.
I also carried a lightweight backpack, which contained a sweatshirt, water, trail-mix, and other assorted items. To keep the bag from bouncing as I pushed off, I looped the belt of my belly bag through the bottom of the straps, which secured both packs in place – the belly bag in front and the backpack behind.
I passed the Halsema Trailhead on my left, which is immediately adjacent to the trail on Halsema Road, just north of Camp Milton. (Camp Milton is located at 1225 Halsema Road North, Jacksonville FL.)
Less than a mile from this, I discovered a pullout with picnic tables, a bike rack, and a hitching post for equestrian riders.
The Timucuan Parks Foundation web site suggested having lunch in Baldwin, so this was my plan. I was disappointed when, after traveling six-and-a-half miles, I reached the Baldwin trailhead and found myself in a residential area.
“Perhaps,” I thought, “there are restaurants at the end of the trail?”
I continued two additional miles to the trail’s end, but there was only a parking lot and a portable toilet. I was glad I’d brought the trail mix.
From Camp Milton to the end of the trail was 8.8 miles. I saw many birds along the way, most during the final four miles. I also saw a raccoon.
This stretch of trail passes by a lake and crosses some small rivers, which provide fresh water to wildlife.
I plan to return to the west end of the trail for some birding, but this time I will start at the trail’s official starting point (89 Brandy Branch Road, Jacksonville) or at Larry M. Carroll Memorial Park in Baldwin (850 Center Street North).
During this outing, I took several 5-10 minute breaks to snap some pictures, watch birds (no binoculars this time), or swig water. However, this time, I didn’t have to walk my scooter until the last mile of travel. Then my legs started to complain and I had to alternate riding and walking.
I admit I was glad to see the Mile 7 marker, which told me I was nearing Camp Milton. But I was even happier that I’d gone so far; and had come so far since getting my scooter a month ago.
My mileage tracker recorded 17.8 miles. Today’s travel speed averaged 17 minutes per mile, which included breaks and last-mile walks. It took roughly five hours to cover the distance at a relaxed pace.