Permanent Vanlife is still about one year away, so I decided to get a feel for it, by planning multiple one-week trips in the van, throughout the US Southeast. This time I visit South Florida.
I decided to add an extra day to my weeklong trip, so today I’ll visit a somewhat hidden, yet old cemetery and do a 5 mile hike through a Florida hammock with thick patches of palms, oaks and other native trees.
Bull Creek campsite
Last night I arrived at Bull Creek Hunting Campground for another free overnight stay. I was lucky, as was made clear to me that the campground was closing tomorrow for the season.
I had it all to myself, but the campground and its surroundings have no outstanding features, except the old cemetery, which I would be visiting the next morning.
Bull Creek Cemetery
I had a good night’s sleep in my van and the next morning I took the time to eat, clean up and take a stroll with Joey through the campground. It would be a slow day, after the extensive hiking of yesterday.
At a short distance inside Bull Creek, an old cemetery was preserved. Amid overgrown brushes, an attempt was made to clear quite a few graves and gravestones from the 1800s until very recently.
After a short walk and some meditation, I returned to the van and proceeded to the main event of the day: a 5 mile hike through (not so) pristine Florida marshland.
Taylor Creek Trailhead
The Taylor Creek parking area is a bit difficult to find without a GPS location, as it is directly located on a main highway, fenced off, without signage or an actual access road. Once there, you have to open and close the gate to enter a spacious parking area, from where the loop hike starts.
I followed this 5 mile long trail first alongside the highway only disturbed by the highway noise, but as soon as I turned south and away from the road, things changed dramatically. The noise vanished soon and was replaced by the occasional bird song and by the wind blowing through the trees.
The landscape turned into a primeval Florida hammock with sometimes a high density of trees, while the forest floor was covered with a multitude of branches, leaves and palm fronds. As the trail is largely unmaintained, except for the blazes on the trees, I periodically loose the trail and I have to backtrack, to find my way again.
At roughly halfway, a lonely picnic table offers relief from the hot midday sun with some shade and a place to rest. From here I take a short spur to the actual Taylor Creek, but I will soon find out that the trail disappears and the creek is not to be found, likely only to be a trickle at this time of the year.
I return to the main trail and continue mostly north, back to the parking area. This is mainly over an old (logging) road through a very open forest landscape and by now, the hot summer sun is wreaking havoc on me and Joey. Suddenly, the riding horses that pass me by, seem to me a more attractive alternative, than hiking alone.
Ultimately, I reach the van and take some time there to eat and recuperate, before I continue to the next boondocking campsite.
Tosohatchee WMA Campsite
Tosohatchee is a large nature area and has only three campsites (with online reservation). It is a short drive from Taylor Creek and after a short stop at the campsite, I decide to first explore the wildlife area by car, before I settle down for the night.
This wildlife management area is quite large and offers access to the Florida trail. Throughout you’ll find many access points to short hiking trails, where you can explore in greater detail.
After I return to camp, I enjoy a simple evening meal, do some work on the computer and go to bed, for an early start of the last day of this trip.
- Bull Creek campsite ➜ 28.0829, -80.9622
- Bull Creek Cemetery ➜ 28.1015, -80.9466
- Taylor Creek TH ➜ 28.3742, -80.9043
- Tosohatchee WMA Campsite ➜ 28.4775, -80.9588