Eighteen Miles on a Xooter Scooter

This week, I returned to Camp Milton, where I rode my Xooter scooter to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail intersect, turned left, and headed west.

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.

Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, Jacksonville, FL

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.

A place to rest on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail. No restrooms are available, but there are picnic tables, trash cans, a bike rack, and a hitching post.

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.

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail passes through Larry M. Carroll Memorial Park in Baldwin, Florida. The park is located in a residential area.
The Larry M. Memorial Park in Baldwin has a parking lot, picnic tables, a skate park, and a playground for the kids. The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail passes through the park by Baldwin Station.

“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.

I traveled west today, so my journey ended here. However, this is the official starting point of the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail (89 Brandy Branch Road, Jacksonville FL). Mile-markers on the trail start from this point.The Halsema Road and Camp Milton trailheads are between mile-markers 7 and 6. There is a portable toilet at Halsema Road and a proper bathroom at Camp Milton (when it is working).

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.

Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, Jacksonville, FL

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.

Traveling east on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, Mile Marker 7 means you are approaching the trailheads at Halsema Road and Camp Milton. The miles are numbered west to east, starting at the parking lot on 89 Brandy Branch Road, Jacksonville FL.

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.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

2 thoughts on “Eighteen Miles on a Xooter Scooter

  1. Hi, you have to travel into the town of Baldwin to find somewhere to eat. We’ve gone to Everybody’s Restaurant. In fact, a small group of us are headed there tomorrow (Mar 20), meeting up at Camp Milton around 11AM , on a bike outing.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I will try Everybody’s Restaurant when I visit Baldwin for some birding. Just a heads-up — All Jacksonville city parks, including Camp Milton, have been closed due to COVID-19.

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