Ocala National Forest

Discussion in 'Florida' started by ArcherMike, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. ArcherMike

    ArcherMike Scout

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    Okay well it seem most of the people don't want to go out hiking or camping during the heat as it can get in the 100s somedays during summer so i say when it gets a little colder maybe in oct or nov we will have too pen point the day/days we will be getting there but start posting when u could make it or whats up as i know most people here will be hunting during oct idk ( i know i will)

    just try and find a middle for everybody


    Mike
     
  2. LetsRock

    LetsRock Scout

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    Is this the agreed upon meeting place for a Florida (or SouthEast) Gathering? I was there last February. I liked it. It seems a happy-medium meeting place (as I'm one of the few who's not near the Florida panhandle).

    Probably need to clarify some expectations, though. Like where to stay (in the forest). What's everyone's creature comfort limits. People can stay in the forest for free if you go off in the woods just about anywhere, but there's no running water, bathrooms, etc... They do have campsites, but they're like $18 a night. My suggestion is go the least-common denominator route. Go with a campsite area, if folks plan to bring wives and kids then going a primitive route isn't gonna be as enjoyable. Especially, if folks are less experienced. Those who chose to go more primitive can do so anywhere.

    I'd think meeting on a weekend would be good, like Fri night - Sun afternoon.

    Have little or no hiking to the destination so precious time isn't wasted traveling to get to the group. There's lotsa forest roads there so it should be easy to pick a place where it's quick and easy to get together somewhere. I stayed at Hopkins Prairie which might be an option as it's easy to get to by car.

    The forest Rangers were very helpful with all my questions (over the phone and at the Visitor's Center) before I got there. This website was where I got most of my info about the forest. There's a free on-line map (pdf) there as well.

    Ocala National Forest

    Apparently, there's also a couple other nearby wildlife areas that could be options as well:
    Osceola National Forest
    Apalachicola National Forest
     
  3. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

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    Check out the thread "Let's get together"
     
  4. Guy

    Guy Founder Staff Member Administrator Vendor

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    Is camping in the end of November to December good in south Florida? If I can get things worked out, I want to do the Florida Trail this winter. I know it goes through Ocala NF, as well as several others. I have the Disabled Veteran Access Pass, for any federal lands, so the fees are at least 50% off, if any at all.

    If anyone is a disabled vet, all you need to do is take proof (your VA compensation letter) to a Ranger Station, and they will give you a plastic card, usable on ANY federal lands (BLM, NP, NF, etc). Also, some states have the same thing, like Georgia, for state parks, hiking trails, etc.
     
  5. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

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    Yes! It's still shorts weather all the way up to GA, and USUALLY the nights are comfortable. I've been in the Keys at X-mas and seen it in the low 40's as well as the high 80's at night. so do throw a long sleeve top and pants just in case. Comfortable camping normally breaks around or a little before Thanksgiving around ONF. There are no fees for primitive camping in ONF nor along quite a bit of the FL Trail. Of course, fees apply at org. camps like Juniper springs and Alexander springs. Some of south FL hiking along the trail will require wading at times, but north of Orlando it's pretty dry barring heavy rainfall.
     
  6. 2nd Chance

    2nd Chance Scout

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    take your pick on the florida trial, it goes from all the way in big cypress near the everglades to all the way passed pensacola....a big section of it runs through the appilachicola nat forest as well....and what madmax said i remember days were i was wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts in winter haha....that was miami but panama city is a little different, it can get a bit chilly haha....this last year we were just as cold as you guys up in alabama and georgia... i still think appilachicola national forest would be a good bet for a florida meetup....its between panama city and tallahase and the largest forest in the state so plenty of places to mess around......plus i think itd be a bit easier for poeple to get to from the north....but in october and november type months wed be stuck to defined campsites and maybe hunting camps....itll be hunting season after all
     
  7. 2nd Chance

    2nd Chance Scout

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    late summer early fall wouldnt be that bad either, may be hotter than what most are used too but its not a 100 degree weather that i just hiked in the other day...that was fun haha
     
  8. Guy

    Guy Founder Staff Member Administrator Vendor

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    I didn't mean to hijack your thread. I have been reviewing it online and received the pack from the FT Assoc, and wanted to see what you guys knew of it. I know that the FTA says you can't carry firearms, but unless they became part of the judicial branch, and override state and federal law, I think I will just ignore them.
     
  9. ArcherMike

    ArcherMike Scout

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    Yea where ever we go im most likly gonna have my m9 in my bag somewhere for just in case
     
  10. ArcherMike

    ArcherMike Scout

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    Yea well while chance said something about hunting camps ect im a hunter have been since a little kid. so if anybody trad bow hunts during this oct im going too be going up too my moms place in north florida too get some whitetail. so if anybody wants too come ur more than welcome just no firearms just trad bows
     
  11. 2nd Chance

    2nd Chance Scout

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    well the problem with me is i cant travel to far for a meetup...the farthest i can go is like osceola and some place in georgia and alabama.
     
  12. ArcherMike

    ArcherMike Scout

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    Yea and i would rather camping during the winter. as making the fire and sitting around the fire with a group of friends is the best part of camping too me
     
  13. earl54

    earl54 Scout

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    cool weather is good,bows are good,building a fire and hanging with new friends is good,pick a spot-i am in.
     
  14. crashdive

    crashdive Banned Member Banned

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    I've done a bit of camping in Ocala National Forest. I've taken a few pictures of some of the areas if it's helpful - just let me know and I'll post a few.
     
  15. Roob

    Roob Scout

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    I am headed into Ocala NF next weekend to do some miles up the Florida Trail. The weather is unpleasant right now to be sure, but if you try to plan around the weather in Florida, you'd only get outside a few times a year

    If you guys are looking for a nice spot for families and groups to gather, Alexander Springs and Juniper Springs both have nice camp grounds and facailities from full hookup to primitive campsites and you can find a spot outside the campgrounds in the surrounding forest easily.

    From Juniper you can hike north to hopkins prairie or south to the naval bombing range. If memory serves, there is a parking lot on SR19 that connects to the Florida trail, and Juniper Springs is a short 12 miles north up the trail (for those who dont want to pay to park at juniper).

    I may try and meet you there, weather permitting ;)
     
  16. crashdive

    crashdive Banned Member Banned

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    There is one caution (if I remember correctly) that during hunting season you can only camp in established campgrounds.
     
  17. goosefacer

    goosefacer Guide

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    Post 'em up, bro!
     
  18. lowcard1

    lowcard1 Guide

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    I took the family down there about a month ago I got 2 real good maps of the forest and you are right about camping during hunting season. I have never camped there but will be going after hunting season.
     
  19. crashdive

    crashdive Banned Member Banned

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    Here are a few from Juniper Springs.

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    Here are a few from Alexander Springs.

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    My wife thought she saw something move (with binoculars) from the branch overhanging the water, so I zoomed in a bit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. lowcard1

    lowcard1 Guide

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    Crashdive those are some nice pics thanks. Where in Florida do you live.
     
  21. crashdive

    crashdive Banned Member Banned

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    Jacksonville......
     
  22. lowcard1

    lowcard1 Guide

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    Thats where I live. I live on the Northside .
     
  23. crashdive

    crashdive Banned Member Banned

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    Cool......
     
  24. verticalgain1

    verticalgain1 Tracker

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    I'm in the Green Cove Springs area, not very far from the National Forest.

    ETA:

    For those of you with USGS or other topographic maps of the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area, what specific map(s) cover it?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  25. lowcard1

    lowcard1 Guide

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    Green Cove in the house.
     

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