This is Hike #23 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on June 28, 2020.
After a short drive from the Lake Proctor Wilderness Area, I arrived at the Geneva Wilderness Area around 11:30 am. I ate a quick lunch in my car before starting the next hike just before noon.
There were others approaching the trailhead with their dogs, so I quickly started down the trail ahead of them. This was going to be a short hike but I could tell that the trail was going to be crowded.
After less than ten minutes walking, the trail reached a lake with a fishing pier reaching out to the center. On the pier I stopped to have a look around and take photos (see first photo and above). The water was calm and clear. I noticed people waiting for me to finish, so I quickly headed back to the trail.
I continued on the Loop Trail which cut across a thin strip of land between the two lakes in the park. I stopped to take some photos of the larger of the two lakes, on the left of the trail (the lake the Loop Trail encircles).
Off to the left of the Loop Trail, a short side trail took me to an outdoor chapel. Here I explored a little before taking a short break in shade of the chapel itself.
I rejoined the main Loop Trail where many hikers and mountainbikers were walking, riding, and resting. I passed them and continued south, past a small canal. This was the end of the shady half of the hike. Also the last of other people, as it turned out.
At the southern end of the Loop Trail I emerged into an open and sunny area with a wide and sandy trail. For the next few hundred yards it was very hot and very hard walking in the thick, soft sand. At the junction of the Flagler Trail, I turned left to continue around towards the lake. There was a marked (detour) trail to the right—which wasn’t in the 50 Hikes book—so I continued straight to the lake.
At the lake the trail was flooded, so I skirted along the far right side of the trail trying to stay on dry land. I had to jump a few puddles of water and did get my shoes wet once. Just past the flooded trail, the detour trail rejoined the main trail and I realized I could have avoided the flooded section. No real harm done! I might let the authors know so they can update their book, however.
The trail followed the lake shore and provided views across to the chapel where I had rested earlier. This section was also very sunny and hot with no shade.
Past the lake, I soon arrived at the Ed Yarborough Nature Center. On the right side, there were man-made houses for both bees and bats. I took a rest and enjoyed reading about them. Unfortunately, it seemed there were no bees at home and I also did not see any bats in the middle of the day.
I was hot and thirsty and nearly done. There was just one short section of trail left, passing through a gate, and along a sandy road back to the trailhead. This 1.9-mile hike took just over an hour to complete. The temperature at the end was 89°F.
I returned to my MINI, which was parked in the shade in its own little corral. I ate another sandwich before leaving the park just after 1:00 pm.
This was the second of two hikes on this day, my first was at the #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area.
My drive home would take me near Sanford, so I planned to have my post-hike beer at one of my favorite local breweries, Wop’s Hops. In the parking lot I changed my shirt, socks, and shoes. Inside I ordered a pint of their Tipsy Trip C American Wheat Beer and found a table in the restaurant side of the building. Unfortunately, since it was Sunday neither of the owners, Greg and Pete, were there. Even so, it was a cold and refreshing way to reward myself for finishing two hikes from the book in one day.