World Goth Day

World Goth Day

Did you know May 22nd is World Goth Day?

Goth Day started in the UK in 2009. BBC Radio 6 Music DJs Cruel Britannia and Martin Oldgoth started the annual celebration of goth music and culture.

While not really a goth myself, at least not on the outside, I have enjoyed listening to “goth” music (and its rougher mate “industrial” music) as my favorite subcategories of classic alternative music. I am a longtime listener of Sunday Night Vinyl on Orlando’s 104.1 which plays all of these genres of music.

Below is a sample of some of my favorite goth bands. Please enjoy in a low-key, introspective way.

Joy Division

Joy Division was a relatively short-lived Manchester, England band who released only two studio albums before the singer and guitarist, Ian Curtis, died. They started out known as Warsaw. This song is their best-known release and comes from the Closer album in 1980.

The Sisters of Mercy

Another English band from the same period is The Sisters of Mercy, originally from Leeds. The lineup changed several times with the band producing only three studio albums. I could have chosen almost any song from the 1987 album Floodland, but this is my favorite today.

Peter Murphy

If you don’t know the name Peter Murphy, you might know the band he fronted from 1978 to 1983 called Bauhaus. He’s from Northampton, England (seeing a pattern?). I prefer his solo work, with this song being a standout from the 1989 album Deep.

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Siouxsie Sioux is probably the best-known female goth voice. She was the face and voice of Siouxsie and the Banshees out of London. This song comes from the 1986 album Tinderbox.

The Cure

When most people hear the term “goth” music, they probably think of The Cure. And they were really popular starting in the 1980s. Most people can identify Robert Smith with his unchanging wild hair and makeup. The Cure come from Crawley, outside of London. The band had several later hits, but my selection is from an earlier album, Faith, from 1981. Interestingly, both Smith and Simon Gallup play bass on this song accompanied by drums, but no guitars or keyboards.

The Smiths

Although not technically a goth band, The Smiths were very popular with the goths with Morrissey’s melancholy voice and lyrics and Johnny Marr’s original “jangle pop” guitar sound. The band produced many singles but only four studio albums. This song is from their third album, The Queen Is Dead, from 1986.

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

This is Hike #17 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on May 19, 2019.

I arrived at De Leon Springs State Park just before one o’clock to find the park was full, so I had to join the queue of cars waiting to get in. As cars left, the seven or eight cars ahead of me were let in. After waiting for about fifteen minutes I paid my $4 entrance fee and alerted the ranger that I would be hiking the Wild Persimmon Loop trail.

To reach the trailhead for the Wild Persimmon Trail you first have to walk up a short paved trail. From this trail, the book recommended taking a quick side boardwalk trail to see Old Methuselah, a bald cypress tree that’s more than 500 years old. So I did.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

I rejoined the paved trail, took a left and continued to the loop at the end where the proper trailhead stood. The sign warned of “BEARS in Area” and to beware of venomous snakes, so I was half hoping and half worried I’d run into a bear and wholely worried I’d step on a snake.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

The trail description didn’t mention any exceptional spots, so I decided I’d walk this trail at a bit of a faster pace than normal. So off I went to follow the blue blazes. Although not shown on the map in the book, there were markers mentioned in the text to note your progress.

Less than ten minutes in, I reached the first of several wood plank walkways. Although the trail was mostly dry, these raised boards were useful to keep above the grass and out of the few muddy spots.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

The first marker I noticed was Marker 5 about a mile into the hike. I came to a clearing with a grassy trail going off to the right, but the book said to stay to the left and reenter the woods. I passed a couple of benches, Marker 6 and 7, followed by more wood walkways. Soon I reached the Wild Persimmon Loop trail next to a rustic bench.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

Again, I stayed to the left and hiked into the woods, soon reaching Marker 8. I hiked on nearly walking into a large spider web. Ducking under that one, I soon came across another to the right of the trail. In the center of this web was the empty husk of a large spider, still hanging where it died.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

The rest of this section was uneventful as I passed Marker 9 and 10. The trail briefly became a grassy double-track before entering the woods again before Marker 11. Soon the trail emerged back into a sunlit grass trail (see photo, at top) where it continued for some time. This section was hot and I was followed for a bit by a horsefly or small wasp or something. I had slowed my earlier quick pace but here I picked it up again. I passed Marker 12 and then the first “EXIT” marker. A bit farther in the sun and I reached the end of the Wild Persimmon Loop at Marker 13 and the rustic bench from earlier. Another “EXIT” marker pointed to the trailhead.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

I quickly retraced the trail back to the beginning, crossing again all of the wooden plank walkways. Shortly before the end, I passed one older hiking couple then a group of kids. I emerged back onto the paved trail around three o’clock, completing the recommended hike.

I wasn’t yet tired, so I chose to walk one of the short “other hiking options” for this hike in the book. Just a few yards down the paved trail was the trailhead for the Monkey Island Trail

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

This turned out to be a busy half-mile total out-and-back walk that ended at bench sitting a muddy patch. I circled the bench and headed back.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

I still had one last section to hike just before reaching the trailhead. So at the fork I turned right to follow the trail a short way before it ended again. This is where you can see the remains of the original Monkey Island which was home to monkeys and part of a jungle cruise in the 1950s and ’60s.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park

Leaving the Monkey Island Trail I turned right and followed the paved trail down to De Leon Springs. The swimming area was crowded and loud so I just took a quick walk around the springs, across the bridge, and behind the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Since I hadn’t carried any water, I bought lemonade and a bottle of water and headed to my car.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park Route Details

Post-Hike Beer

Persimmon Hollow wasn’t directly on my drive home, but I was passing by downtown DeLand so I motored a few miles out of my way to enjoy my traditional post-hike beer(s). This was the hottest day of hiking so far, so the cold wheat beer was most welcome. The bartender there recognized me and my book from a previous trip and we got to chatting about hiking again. He was moving north soon and planned to do some hiking in his new place. I also started looking forward to my next hike.

50 Hikes: #17 De Leon Springs State Park Beer

Google Featured Snippet

As you may have seen elsewhere on my website, I created and maintain a library technology website called Library Technology Launchpad. On that site I write about various topics relevant to librarians such as websites, online resources, open access, and others. My most popular series is the Basics and Resources Series. In this collection of articles, I have covered topics such as APIs, Discovery Services, Linked Data, OAI-PMH, proxy servers, and more.

While searching for some sources for an article posted today, I was pleasantly surprised to see my own work as a featured result. I entered the search terms “library discovery services” (without the quotes) into Google and got back a screen of search results. There at the top as the “featured snippet” was a description from, and link to, my Library Technology Launchpad website.

Google featured snippet for library discovery services

So from a search that resulted in 324 million results, Google selected my article as the top source for the topic. In order to see whether Google was basing this ranking on my searching or browsing history, I asked a colleague to perform the same search. She confirmed that she also got my website as the featured snippet.

Anyone who posts articles to the Web hopes to get listed on the first or second page of Google search results. Although I’ve frequently found posts or pages from my Library of Motoring website high in Google results, this is the first time that I have had, to my knowledge, an article featured on Google. That it is a professional library article makes it more satisfying. Hopefully this inclusion indicates a high search ranking for my Library Technology Launchpad site as a whole.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

This is Hike #19 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on April 22, 2019.

This hike was supposed to happen on Easter Sunday but it was changed to the next day. The thought was the trail might not be as crowded on a Monday. This turned out not to be the case. The Black Bear Wilderness Area trail is a single loop trail of 7.1 miles near Sanford, Florida. It’s recommended to hike the loop clockwise, saving the best views for the last half.

All of my previous hikes from the book had been solo. My companions on this hike were A. and her dog Freida.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

Soon after leaving the trailhead we came to the first boardwalk. This is where the loop began and we took the left-side trail. After a brief hike, we crossed a small bridge and then soon arrived at Boardwalk 14. (Because we were hiking the route “backward” the boardwalk numbers and mileage markers counted down.)

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

The trail took a slight right, then headed straight towards the western boundary of the park to where it meets the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. Veering right again, the double-track equestrian trail followed along a stream to the left side. After about a half-mile, the trail became narrower as we climbed up to hike on a small levee. Walking the trail here was tricky with slopes, ruts, and tree roots.  We took a brief rest on the bank of the stream where we saw wading birds and examined many large snail shells. We continued along the western edge of the park, crossed Boardwalk 13, and reached the St. Johns River. At this northernmost point, we turned right again to hike beside the river.

Here we began to look for alligators along the bank of the river, which was separated from us by a small canal. Shortly after Boardwalk 12, I spotted a very large alligator partially hidden in the bushes about 30 yards away to our left. I backtracked a few feet up the trail to take a few photos and point it out to A.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

Hearing our voices, the gator turned its head to look directly at me. Not knowing how deep the stream was between us and the gator, we moved quickly up the trail as to not provoke him to come after us or the dog. After putting a little distance between us and the gator, we stopped at a bench for lunch.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

After lunch, we continued down the scenic trail between the river to our left and a cypress marsh to our right, crossing Boardwalks 12 through 10. I photographed several types of colorful wildflowers here.

Soon after, we spotted a less-intimidating animal sunning itself on a fallen palm tree.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

This scenic part of the hike followed the bends of the St. Johns River with several boardwalk crossings affording clear views of the water (see photo, at top). We crossed Boardwalks 9 through 3.

We had one scare when Freida waded into the shallow canal and we had to chase and call her to come back to the trail, hoping she did not encounter a hidden alligator. Just when we thought we might have to go in after her, she bounded out covered in mud and debris.

Nearing the end of our walk along the St Johns River, we spotted our second alligator. This one was much smaller but also enjoying the sun on a grassy bank across a wider and deeper canal. A large wading bird (possibly a Limpkin?) was perched on a log nearby, unfazed by the small gator’s proximity.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

At the northeast corner of the Wilderness Area, we turned right onto the Boardwalk 2 bridge which afforded a view straight down the canal. Here we did pass several other hikers enjoying the river views.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

We left the river and hiked inland towards the trailhead. Shortly before reaching Boardwalk 1 we saw this bit of amusing nature graffiti. Can you spot the lizard in this photo?

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area

(Hint: The figure’s left arm is reaching towards the lizard.)

We crossed Boardwalk 1 and walked the short entrance trail back to the trailhead, reaching the end of our 7.4-mile hike in exactly four hours.

This hike was, by far, my favorite of the six I have done from the book. The day provided sunny weather, interesting trails, scenic views, dangerous and harmless wildlife, colorful wildflowers, and excellent company. Although we didn’t encounter any black bears, I highly recommend Black Bear Wilderness Area.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area Route Details

Post-Hike Beer

Afterwards, A. had to take Freida home and run errands. But I didn’t, so after a quick shower I walked next door to McK’s Tavern for a couple of cold German wheat beers.

50 Hikes: #19 Black Bear Wilderness Area Beer

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

This is Hike #46 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on April 14, 2019.

My wonky left knee was bothering me before this hike, so I chose to make a short one. The book said the suggested hike in Lyonia Preserve was only 2.1 miles. It is a home for the Florida scrub-jay, the only species of bird endemic to Florida, so my goal was to spot (and photograph one). Another bonus was that there was an Environmental Center and the Deltona Regional Library at the trailhead.

I set off down the trail which passed behind the Environmental Center. At the first loop trail, I turned left onto the Rusty Lyonia Trail (orange blaze). Almost immediately I passed a den of Cub Scout Webelos coming the other direction. I worried there would be lots of others on this suburban trail, but they were the only people I passed.

After a short hike on a sandy trail in the scrub, I turned left again to continue on the Red Root Trail (red blaze). There were a few instances where I thought I should turn around because my knee might not handle the walk, but I pushed on. Quickly I reached the longest loop trail, the perimeter Blueberry Trail (blue blaze).

After a slight climb, I spotted my first Florida scrub-jay. Just to the right side of the trail about head-high I spotted a blue and grey bird in its nest. It didn’t move as I approached. I snapped a few photos and started to continue my walk when I spotted a second scrub-jay, apparently on the lookout. Again I was able to approach closely and get a few close-up photos (see photo, at top).

I continued up a slight slope and the scrub opened up where I could see across the preserve to the high point. The day (at this point) was mostly sunny, though not hot at this time of year.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

I continued up, across the open preserve to reach the highest point and approximately the midpoint of the hike. Much of this section was spent observing small insects which would rest in the trail until I disturbed them and sent them leaping and sputtering to a point 15 to 20 feet further, only to repeat the process as I approached again.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

At the “summit” there were only a few signs that I was in the middle of a residential area: such as power lines, one rooftop, and the sounds of airplanes and a melody playing from an ice cream truck. Soon I plunged down into thicker scrub and approached the prairie with a small pond in its center. On the way I saw several cactus plants with spines that looked like silver nails, much to my surprise.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

I noticed the sky was getting cloudy when I reached the intersection of the Red Root Trail. However, my knee felt fine so decided to extend the hike a little by turning right and taking it across the middle of the preserve and back. I started down this cross-trail but only got a hundred feet before some light rain began to fall. I took a quick shot of the prairie to my left before turning around.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

I continued on the Red Root Trail to complete its return. The rain stopped as quickly as it had started. Walking down this trail I saw several more scrub-jays, but this time they eluded my camera before I could get any closeups. At the bench I turned left onto the main trail.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve

Back at the Rusty Lyonia Trail, I turned left to complete that short loop back to the main trail and out to the trailhead. The rain began again just as I reached the shelter of the Environmental Center. My knee held out just fine.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve Route Details

I headed inside the Center where they had exhibits featuring manatees, birds, and native land animals. Glass aquariums contained live snakes, lizards, turtles, and fish.

I spent some time enjoying the up-close look at the animals. Then I walked next door to visit the library. I observed some of the bipedal creatures there before returning to my car for water and a snack.

Post-Hike Beer

Now becoming a tradition, I headed to downtown DeLand to Persimmon Hollow for a cold reward beer. Feeling good after my short hike, I searched the 50 Hikes book to find a longer route for my next hike.

50 Hikes: #46 Lyonia Preserve Post-Hike Beer

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics edited by Jed Z. Buchwald and Robert Fox

ISBN-13: 9780199696253
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: January 1, 2014

View the publisher’s page for this title.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Reading note: Started on May 19, 2017 and finished on March 15, 2019.

When this beautiful and hefty book arrived in my office in May 2017, I knew I had to read it. I enjoy reading history and I also have an interest in modern physics. One of these two interests was satisfied by this book, but the other was left disappointed. I set the book aside many times to read other books, which is why it took so long before I finished it.

Most of the book covered “classical” physics, the period that can roughly be though of as predating quantum theory and relativity. Classical physics topics covered include Galileo’s mechanics, Newton’s Principia and Opticks, fluids, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, energy, electromagnetism, electrodynamics, and side chapters on textbooks, medicine, and metrology.

While the book contains 976 pages (917 of content), Part IV (out of four) on Modern Physics doesn’t begin until page 719. Even then, the first chapter titled “Rethinking ‘Classical Physics’ ” is a discussion on the inability of physicists and historians to agree on when “modern physics” began. Modern physics topics include statistical mechanics, relativity, quantum physics, a tangential chapter on semiconductors, and finally cosmology. The first mention of dark matter doesn’t come until page 910; on page 913 the book finally mentions CERN; the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) is briefly mentioned on page 914; black holes on page 915; and string theory is quickly noted on page 918. Very little was written about the discovery of the atom and subatomic particles! I don’t remember the terms quark or Higgs boson stated at all. Physicists such as Rutherford, Fermi, Feynman, and Hawking were barely covered or not mentioned at all! Perhaps Part IV could be pulled from this book and used as the beginning of a second volume on modern physics.

The 29 chapters read like 29 individual papers written by nearly as many different authors, which they are. Due to this fact and the varying subject matter, the writing style and difficulty varied greatly from chapter to chapter. Some chapters were easily read and could be comprehended by anyone, even those without a physics or engineering background. Other chapters were very difficult—some including calculus and differential equations—which were difficult for me, even with a degree in electrical engineering. Some had useful diagrams and photographs while others contained only text.

Here is an example of one difficult paragraph from page 781:

Whereas Boltzmann had reasoned in terms of temporal probabilities for a single system, Maxwell adopted the ‘statistical specification’ of a system, in which the equilibrium properties of a thermodynamic system are to be compared not with those of a single mechanical system but with those of a stationary ensemble of such systems. He proved the stationarity of the microcanonical ensemble for any Hamiltonian dynamics and derived the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution and energy equipartition from this ensemble. But he did not explain why stationary ensembles represented the thermal properties of macroscopic bodies. He regarded this property as a plausible assumption, to be tested by experiment and perhaps to be justified someday by ergodicity.

Did you get that? Probably not, if you don’t have a PhD in physics.

However, there are many non-technical chapters scattered throughout the book. The most layman reader-friendly was Chapter 10 titled “Physics on Show: Entertainment, Demonstration, and Research in the Long Eighteenth Century”. If you want a good history of scientific instruments and instrument makers, there is a book-within-a-book here. You could simply read the following three chapters for a great overview:

4. Physics and the Instrument-Makers, 1550-1700
11. Instruments and Instrument-Makers, 1700-1850
20. From Workshop to Factory: The Evolution of the Instrument-Making Industry, 1850-1930

The book did have several strong points. Many chapters wove the history of physics with the world at-large, demonstrating how politics and wars affected scientific inquiry and cooperation. While we see the building of theories on top of each other (the “standing on the shoulders of giants”), the book also showed how competition pushed scientists to make their discoveries. Also, the book presented an excellent history on the caloric theory of heat, which—because it was proven to be false—is not taught in contemporary textbooks. Although not falling directly under physics, the chapter “Physics and Metrology” provided an interesting look at the rare topic of metrology, “the science and technology of standards of measurement” and how it is both a product of physics and an essential tool for its advancement.

For Further Reading

As I read through the history, I compiled a list of written works referred to as important and influential. These are original physics papers and publications containing the actual theories and experiments. It provides a great source for further reading to learn in-depth about any major physics discoveries.

Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo (1632)

Discorsi by Galileo (1638)

Le Monde by René Descartes (1629-1633)

Discours de la Méthode by René Descartes (1637)

Principles of Philosophy by René Descartes (1644)

Horologium Oscillitorium by Christiaan Huygens (1673)

Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Isaac Newton (1687, 1713, 1726)

Opticks, Or a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light by Isaac Newton (1704)

Théorie des phénomènes électro-dynamiques: uniquement déduite de l’expérience by André-Marie Ampère (1826)

Theory of the Motion of Solid or Rigid Bodies by Leonhard Euler (1765)

Hydraulics by Johann Bernoulli (1742)

Mécanique céleste by Pierre Simon Laplace (1799-1825, 1829)

Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu by Sadi Carnot (1824)

Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism by James Clerk Maxwell (1873)

Relativity: The Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein (1920)

Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Paul Dirac (1930)

The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory by Werner Heisenberg (1930)

See This Review on Goodreads

The Oxford Handbook of the History of PhysicsThe Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics by Jed Z. Buchwald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve

This is Hike #5 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on March 10, 2019.

I had already completed two hikes and arrived at my final park by 3:30pm. Hidden Waters Preserve is a small nature area surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The “hidden waters” is a marshy lake at the bottom of a huge sinkhole. The recommended hike was a 1-mile loop trail encircling the lake. More notable was the 105-foot elevation change from the trailhead down to the water’s edge.

After an accidental turn down a side trail which went out to the boundary of the preserve, I returned to the main trail that plummeted down to the loop trail. Here I turned left to follow the Ravine Trail, climbing up the bank clockwise around the lake.

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve

At the top of the hill the trail approached the boundary of the preserve with houses visible across the street. The book suggested turning right to follow the cascading stream down to the lake. Along the way was a boardwalk overlook looking down into the ravine. At the bottom, the water tumbled and streamed into the lake.

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve
50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve

The trail followed the perimeter of the lake with a short side trail that approached the water for some closer views.

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve

After a short break, I continued around the lake. Just before rejoining the main trail to climb back out, there were more clear views of the lake. So I snapped one last photo (see photo, at top) before turning left to make the 105-foot climb up to the trailhead and parking lot.

50 Hikes: #5 Hidden Waters Preserve Route Details

This was the last of three hikes on this day. My first hike was at #6 Flat Island Preserve. My second hike was at #4 Trout Lake Nature Center. The total distance hiked for the day was 6.5 miles.

Post-Hike Beer

On the drive back I headed to downtown DeLand and a stop at Persimmon Hollow for a cold lager (maybe two). While there, I perused the 50 Hikes book to find my next hike.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

This is Hike #4 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on March 10, 2019.

After a short drive from Flat Island Preserve, I reached the Trout Lake Nature Center. I wanted to hike this park and still have time to visit the Environmental Education Center before it closed at 4:00pm. The recommended route was only 1.4 miles. I signed in at the Center.

Not long after setting off from the trailhead on Lazy Oak Trail, I arrived at the Bobcat Walk, the first of several wooden walkways during the day. This part can sometimes be flooded, but at the time I was there it was very dry.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

Like the earlier hike, this loop trail had a side trail, a large boardwalk that ended at Trout Lake. From the boardwalk you could observe bees pollinating colorful flowers in purple (see photo, at top), yellow, and white cotton-like shoots. The end of the boardwalk had a covered deck extending over the lake. From the lakeside deck I watched a cormorant swallow a fish, then dive underwater several times in search for more.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

From the boardwalk I turned right to continue the loop on Armadillo Trail which passed behind the Environmental Education Center. At the Adventure Trail there was another walkway, this one with a swinging bridge over a muddy stream. After a few up-and-down jumps I continued on.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

The trail continued on the ground until I reach the final landmark, the Grandfather Oak. The tree was a huge live oak with hanging wind-chimes and a picnic table sitting in its shade.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

From the tree I walked to the main road and followed it a short distance before taking one last side trail (Gunkel Trail) off to the right to complete the recommended route.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center Route Details

After my hike I visited the Environmental Education Center. There were a few outdoor and indoor exhibits showing examples of natural wildlife. The building also contained a small library of nature books. After a short visit I made a nice donation and headed out to drive the short distance to my next hike.

50 Hikes: #4 Trout Lake Nature Center

This was the second of three hikes on this day. My first hike was at #6 Flat Island Preserve. My last hike was at #5 Hidden Waters Preserve.

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve

This is Hike #6 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on March 10, 2019.

My second hiking trip from the book was actually three hikes of three parks in Lake County, near Leesburg and Eustis. I began with the longest and farthest hike from home at Flat Island Preserve, arriving just before noon. The recommended route was 3.7 miles along an entry trail and a perimeter loop trail. The morning was cool and sunny.

The hike began on a winding, wooded trail which soon reached the beginning of the loop (marked with an B sign). I turned left to walk the loop clockwise.

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve

About a quarter of the way around the loop was a side trail which went through a marsh (on a boardwalk) to a river with a canoe launch. This was the most scenic section of the hike. The end of the boardwalk overlooked stands of cypress trees (see photo, at top) and and an open, slowly flowing river.

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve

After a short rest to enjoy the quiet and views, I returned up the boardwalk to rejoin the loop trail. I turned left to continue a pleasant hike clockwise, passing a campsite and signposts E, F, and D. Between F and D the trail was littered with hickory nuts.

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve

From point D it was a short 0.8-mile hike around the rest of the loop and back out the main trail. At the trailhead I ate a quick lunch before motoring to the next park.

50 Hikes: #6 Flat Island Preserve Route Details

This was the first of three hikes on this day. My second hike was at #4 Trout Lake Nature Center. My last hike was at #5 Hidden Waters Preserve.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve

This is Hike #44 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on February 17, 2019.

This was my first hike from the book. Ponce Preserve is in Ponce Inlet, a short 20-minute drive from my place. I set off on a late Sunday afternoon knowing that the suggested trail was only 1.6 miles long. The site lies on a strip of land between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean so the trail was sandy with broken shells. The perimeter loop trail circles the historic Green Mound with extensions over boardwalks to the ocean and river.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve

Leaving the parking lot, I hiked across the peninsula then turned north walking parallel to Atlantic Avenue past the observation tower. After crossing the road for a quick look at the beach, I continued counter-clockwise around the Green Mound, stopping to read the historical marker. Although the book showed only one, there were two designated historic trees.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve

I finished the perimeter loop and returned to the parking lot before crossing Peninsula Drive for the boardwalk trail to the river. Walking across the salt prairie, I observed sea birds flying over black and red mangrove. The boardwalk trail ended at a covered observation deck in the Halifax River where boats, Jet Skis, kayaks, and paddleboarders passed by at different speeds.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve

After enjoying the river view, I returned to the parking lot by the entrance. Because the suggested hike was so short I hiked a few extra sections of trail which made my distance a bit more than the recommended 1.6-mile route.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve Route Details

Post-Hike Beer

After my hike I stopped in McK’s Tavern for a cold pint of hefeweizen and fish & chips dinner.

50 Hikes: #44 Ponce Preserve Post-Hike Beer