Lake Minneola Scenic Trail/Clermont Trail

What a nice surprise this morning, as ten riders assembled at the Winter Garden Station for a ride on the West Orange Trail and the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail/Clermont Trail. The recent weather pattern had whittled away at attendance for many of our riders, so having this many turn out today was quite a treat.
After a busy meet & greet, we aired up one reluctant tire and launched our entourage westward through downtown Winter Garden. Deanne, Carol, Shelton, Janice, Alice and Rodney were balancing on two wheels, while Steve, Phil, Paul and I managed the horizon from our trikes. The trail was fairly busy this morning, so additional care was needed to insure everyone enjoyed a safe outing. Early in our trip out we saw a half dozen triking friends from the central Florida who had started at the County Line Station for their ride east.

From the County Line Station, you may now travel west to Clermont on the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail/Clermont Trail over some gentle hills through a nicely rural area. There are a few crossings which demand diligent attention, but the trail is very nicely maintained. The southern shore of Lake Minneola is simply beautiful and is directly adjacent to the trail. Click the photo above or visit the photo gallery to see today's shots.

On our return trip we stopped for a few minutes to visit with our friends going the other way which produced a large assembly of recumbent craft including no less than 10 trikes!

By the way, even though their website implies the trail is paved for only 3.1 miles, it is actually paved all the way to the West Orange Trail so our trip was a total of 31 miles.

Trail condition: Excellent
Facilities: Excellent


Withlacoochee North

This morning turned into a regular trike fest, as I was joined by friends from the central Florida area. Phil and Paul on their brand new Trice Qs and Steve on his trusty Catrike Road emerged from the Shamrock in downtown Floral City after breakfast, right on time for a ride to the north end of the Withlacoochee Trail.

Setting the tone for a morning of surprises were the enthusiastic Ah-oooooh-Gah horn sounds heard at our first intersection where we encounterd a veritable parade of antique cars. Just moments later a ponderous squirrel nearly lost it when Phil made a sudden pass around the pack. Unlike my ride on Saturday with so many clouds, today's clear skies and holiday brought riders, walkers, and skaters out in force. Wonderful barbecue smells wafted across the trail and picnics were getting under way.

Mark joined us at the northern trail head and rode his bike south with us for a while before turning back for home. We were all beginning to consider that requisite afternoon nap that awaited.

While the north half doesn't have the Croom Forest and is closer to more development, it still maintains that rural charm that really enhances any outdoor experience. The trail is very well groomed and in excellent repair and I'll now be able to add its track to our Feet First Trails Guide. If you'd care to see the photos from today's ride, just click on the photo above.

After loading up, we retired back to the Shamrock for drinks before heading home.


Withlacoochee South

I started at the gazebo in Floral City this morning, on heels of an early morning rain shower that had flooded the area. A puddle bridged the trail right in front of the gazebo and the pavement was wet all the way down to I-75. After that the surface was dry and the sun came out and warmed up the butterflies who busily lined the trip. Click this photo to see the rest of them, or go to the photo gallery.

There are always surprises waiting out on the trail, but you never know just what to expect. Today I saw the largest bald eagle I've ever seen, then remembered my camera when it was too late. Also watched in awe as a bare-footed, helmet-less, cyclist with a fresh head injury performed craftsman quality, wheel truing using nothing but a pair of small trees that had the decency to have grown close together alongside the trail. A little while later down the trail, I was actually overtaken by this athlete as he safely returned to his vehicle.

Made it to the south end, just below Trilby, FL and back without rain. 46.6 miles for the day.

GoogleGeekers: I noticed on Google Earth you can count up to 26 cyclists on the Withlacoochee Trail, south of FL 50.

See you back in Floral City on Monday.