Yesterday, Saturday, we drove over to Lake Kissimmee State Park to walk the Buster Island Trail. At seven and a half miles it’s a nice hike. We started about 9:30 and took the left side of the loop over open pasture. All the rain we’ve had this summer has made the area green and lush. It took us an hour to cross the open area. That’s why we like to start on that side-so we can finish the hike in the shade.
Most of the trail is through old oaks, pine, and palmetto. The primitive campsite entrance is at 2.9 miles. We stopped there briefly to check it out and have a drink of water. There is only one fire-ring now where there used to be three. The site seems smaller, too, as underbrush has gotten thicker. It almost makes me want to get the big packs out and camp overnight. It’s been a long time since we’ve done that.
Right after the camping area is a pine flat-woods, but it looks more like a bone forest. The dead remains of pines stick up above the palmettos and gleam white in the sun. I saw few living pines in this area. We passed one or two dead, bone-white live oaks still standing here and there. I need to find out what killed these trees, because I don’t remember. Fortunately, the trail goes back into living oak forest for the last half of the hike.
We saw four deer during our walk, and a couple of armadillo. Hog damage was extensive in areas, both on the trail and among the trees. I’m very glad we did not meet up with one. We did pass six people who were on their way to the primitive campsite to spend the night. I think I was a little envious.
An ice cream sandwich from the shop at the marina was a nice finish to our hike. Next Saturday, we plan to walk nine miles, but that’s another story.