50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

This is Hike #22 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on June 28, 2020.

Lake Proctor Wilderness Area is located in east Seminole County, less than an hour drive from Daytona Beach. This was the first of two hikes on this day, so I arrived early around 9:15 am.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

From the trailhead I followed the Red Trail north, passing the Orange Trail and the Blue Trail. I intended to hike those trails on the way back.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

The Red Trail was a wide, shady trail and a perfect start to the day.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area Painted Rock

Just before reaching the northern end of the Red Trail, I spotted a smooth white rock with the words “CATS UK” and a smiley painted on it. I assume it is from the Painted Rocks Game, but I did not try to look it up. I took a photo and left it where it was.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

At the northern intersection of the trail, I turned right and began the Red Trail Loop. When the trail split, I turned left to hike the loop clockwise. Almost immediately a blaze on a short post sent me into a bushy area with no clearly marked trail. I followed it around as best I could until I found another blaze on a post where it rejoined the normal trail.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area Shelter

I continued through some tall scrub on a winding trail before coming into a clearing and arriving at a shelter. I perused the posted information while resting and drinking some water. Soon I was heading around the western point of the Red Trail Loop.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

Suddenly I heard voices behind me and wondered how someone might have caught me so soon after leaving the shelter. However, I arrived at a wide, sandy cross-trail where I saw three people on horseback approaching. I stopped and stood still to let them pass, although the lead horse did flinch a bit on seeing me. I briefly chatted with the riders as they passed and then continued on my way.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

The day was heating up and after a bit more hiking through the scrub, the book told me to follow the power lines road back to the top of the loop. This section was hot and sunny. But soon I reached the top, turned left, and walked toward the Blue Trail, passing the end of the Red Trail.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

Now on the Blue Trail, I came to another rain shelter. Again, I stopped to read the poster and have a few swigs of water. I knew that from here, most of the remaining trail was shaded and the most scenic of the hike.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

I hiked south and soon arrived along the shore of Lake Proctor. Patches of open, glassy water were broken up by groups of lily pads. A few structures could be seen on the opposite shore. It was very quiet and peaceful.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

The Blue Trail meandered along Lake Proctor, approaching the shore several times. At one point a short side trail cut through a field of tall flowers where several butterflies floated around me. Here there was also a Hydrologic Data Collection Site for the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The Blue Trail left the lake and ended at the Red Trail where I turned right. Very quickly I reached the Orange Trail and turned right, hiking back towards the lake.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

Near the southern end of Lake Proctor the Orange Trail passed through the Eastbrook Wetlands, named for the local school.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

The Orange Trail curved partway around the southern tip of the lake where I took my last glimpse (and photos) before walking the last section to reach the Read Trail again.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

Back on the Red Trail it was only a few minutes more until I hiked out around 11:20 am. The hiked lasted exactly two hours.

50 Hikes: #22 Lake Proctor Wilderness Area Route

This was the first of two hikes on this day. My second hike was at #23 Geneva Wilderness Area.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Gopher Tortoise

This is Hike #48 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on June 20, 2020.

I wanted to get some minor work done on my car in Merritt Island, so I scheduled it early in the morning so that I could fit in one of two Titusville hikes from the book. I arrived at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary a little before noon. Before finding the trailhead, I took a moment to have a look at a gopher tortoise living in an enclosure in the middle of the parking loop.

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50 Hikes: #43 Tiger Bay State Forest

50 Hikes: #43 Tiger Bay State Forest Pershing Highway

This is Hike #43 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on May 17, 2020.

Since March I have been eager to continue my hikes from the 50 Hikes book. State parks finally re-opened, so I picked an easy hike nearby to begin. After refreshing my knowledge of the two hikes in Tiger Bay State Forest, I headed out after lunch. The day was party overcast and a warm 82°F.

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The Loft Library Turns Two

The Loft Library 2018

I had often read about The Little Free Library project where people build small boxes and fill them with books for anyone to borrow (or keep). The idea is that people donate books so that others can read them.

In February 2018, when my neighbor Lisa suggested we start a small library for the residents of our building, I quickly agreed. We took over the shelf above the mailboxes in the building’s lobby. She created a sign and I contributed some metal bookends. Together we seeded the initial inventory from our spare books. On March 1st we started with an initial collection of 26 books, shelved by author.

Over the next two years, the library’s collection grew and changed many times. Residents borrowed and added books. We eventually added DVDs and computer software. The collection changed and was rearranged so often that I finally gave up alphabetizing them. It seems our little Loft Library has been very successful.

The Loft Library 2020

Cars, Beers, and Books

When I last saw Steve Berry at The BookMark in January, he announced that he would be back on March 6, 2020 for his new book The Warsaw Protocol. Last time, I left work at 5:00 pm and arrived at the bookstore just in time for the talk. This time I decided to leave work at noon and spend the afternoon in Jacksonville beforehand.

My car was originally sold by Porsche Jacksonville. I didn’t get any service history when I bought the car and I hoped that the Jacksonville dealership would have it. So my first stop was to visit the Service department. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any records after the initial sales preparation. I did buy a shirt in the shop, so I didn’t leave empty-handed.

Porsche Jacksonville

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The Year of the Pig

Red Pig Brewery, to be precise. Red Pig Brewery officially opened on March 2, 2019, and I was there. I had been looking for a new local hangout when I heard about this new craft brewery opening just two miles from my place, in Holly Hill, Florida. I knew I had to visit for the grand opening.

I arrived at noon just as they opened. Inside, the brewery is long and narrow with windows lining the length of the long stone walls. The bar itself is made of three large pieces of reclaimed cypress wood. The kettles and fermenting tanks line the far end of the back wall. Opening day was sunny and warm so we could take advantage of the courtyard. They had a food truck parked out front.

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Bookface Friday

If you are a librarian into social media, you may have seen Bookface Friday posts. If not, I’ll briefly explain what a “bookface” is. A bookface is a photograph of a book jacket—usually the front cover but not always—lined up with a background in real life. Often the cover is a person’s face, but it could also be any body part. Sometimes they are not humans at all but rather animals, bookshelves, food, plants, and landscapes. We once used an airplane.

Bookface Friday was reportedly started in August 2014 by Morgan Holzer at the New York Public Library. Soon after, other librarians started posting their own images and the trend took off. They are usually posted to Instagram and Twitter on Fridays, thus the hashtag #BookfaceFriday.

Hunt Library where I work has been making bookfaces since 2016. They are created by our Social Media Team of which I am a member. Since 2018, I have appeared in four of these and worked behind the scenes on several others. They are fun to create.

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Best of Chris Harris 1

If you are a car enthusiast, you know about Chris Harris. If not, I’ll give you a brief biography. Harris is a race driver, automotive writer, and reviewer of cars. He has written for sites including Autocar, evo, and Jalopnik. He’s better known for his video reviews from THE DRIVE and then his own channel Chris Harris on Cars. He’s currently a presenter on the UK Top Gear, but still produces extra videos in his Chris Harris Drives series.

First, Harris is a great driver. He’s known for his drifting ability—which the kids love but I find a bit ridiculous—seen in all of his videos. But he can apex, as well. He’s a Porsche enthusiast and the car of his he talks about most is his 911 GT3.

He’s also a good writer. He’s knowledgeable and witty, using his cracking good British vocabulary and sense of humor. Once you’ve watched a few of his videos, you’ll begin to read his articles in his distinctive style. Am I enjoying it? Yes, I am.

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My First Porsche Service

Porsche South Orlando

Since last December, my Porsche has been warning me to get an “Interm. Service Now” every time turned the key. I wanted to have its first service done at the dealership, Porsche South Orlando, where I bought the car. It took several weeks before I found time to make the trip to Orlando.

The dealership makes it very easy to schedule a service appointment. Earlier in the week, I simply went to their website, entered my car information, and picked a day and exact time for my appointment. I didn’t need to speak to anyone.

Never certain what the highway construction and traffic will be like in Orlando, I left home early. The day was sunny and cool and there were no major delays, so I arrived about an hour early for my one o’clock appointment. No problem, they took me right away. Tony in Service was very friendly and helpful, answering several questions I had saved up since I bought the Boxster last June (2019).

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How to De-Google

I have used many Google products in the past. Of course, nearly everyone uses the Google search engine. In the beginning that seemed harmless. But more recently we have seen how Google uses your search history to build a profile of you. Search for a product and soon you see ads on your favorite websites trying to sell you that item. (Although Google doesn’t seem to be able to figure out when you’ve purchased the item but continues to try to sell it to you.)

Many people’s first indication that Google might not be not-evil was after the launch of Gmail. Google announced that they would scan email messages to provided targeted ads. While no humans were allegedly reading your email, it still seemed wrong for a company to systematically scan the contents of your messages. But still, most people continued to use the service. I used it to send large files and to sign up up for a few online services. I have had email accounts with my personal domain since the 1990s which I use for most of my email communication.

In the last few years, Google has really started to adopt questionable practices. They manipulate search results. They help censor the Web in countries like China. Their YouTube service censors and demonetizes videos that go against its political leanings. Google has clearly abandoned free speech and unbiased access to information. For these reasons, I decided to stop using Google products wherever possible.

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