Cooler weather has begun in Central Florida (high 70°Fs – 80°Fs), so outdoor exploration is easier to do. We dusted off our Brompton folding bikes. In search for a trail that our thin bike tires can easily maneuver, we found a trail surfaced in asphalt - Flatwoods Wilderness Park. It’s a paved loop that provides a wooded environment with abundant wildlife (such as armadillo, turtles, hawks, and deer to name a few)... with an extension which connects Bruce B. Downs Boulevard for a few extra miles to add the ride.
14302 Morris Bridge Road
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
• Bike / Cycling
• Inline Skating
• Wheelchair Accessible
• Walking / Jogging
• Parking: $2/vehicle
• Water Stations / Shaded Rest Areas
• Air Station & Bike Wash
We had past a path that went right. Yes, we explored it which ended up to be a dead end. Got back to the main path and here we found our first water station / rest area. Not too far and to the left of this area is where we caught the actions of an owl swooping down to catch a squirrel... with success. Didn't catch it on camera but it was a cool thing to witness.
This section was called the "Clay Gully"
We spotted a Wood Stork in the distance.
Another water station where we decide if we want to push towards Bruce B Downs for another 4-miles roundtrip. Answer: Of course!
We still haven't purchased a gel padded saddle for our Bromptons, so from time to time we need to stretch our legs and give our rumps a rest.
We followed the trail and found a T crossing. We kept following left and found a sign. Good we stopped to read it. We were going the wrong way, if we wanted to head towards Bruce B Downs. Back tracking again.
If we rode on the asphalt, there was absolutely no shade. We saw a few joggers down below in a dirt / gravel trail and thought to give that a go on the return trip. Shaded but more challenging with the thin tires on the Brompton.
Other than a few rest stops to read the trail map or check out a view to stretch our legs, we were really going non-stop. At around 11 miles in we took a much deserved, shaded rest.
Q: Have you ever seen a grasshopper 3-4 inches? Well, this was our first time and this guy is huge! We noticed quite a few on the asphalt trail. They didn't seem skittish at all to the bikes as they seemed not to hop away.
"This giant, slow moving grasshopper’s bright orange, yellow and red colors are a warning that it contains toxins and will make any potential predator sick. If for any reason, you fail to heed the color warning and pick it up, the grasshopper makes a loud hissing noise and secretes an irritating foul-smelling foamy spray.
These 4-inch grasshoppers are too large and toxic for most natural predators, so they don’t need to move fast. Lubbers cannot fly far, and travel in short clumsy hops, or walk and crawl slowly through the vegetation. They feed on broadleaf plants and can become a nuisance when swarms invade residential areas and feast on garden plants. Lubbers seem to be unaffected by most insecticides, and according to experts at the University of Florida, if they become a garden pest, the best way to get rid of them is to stamp on them, or ‘hand pick’ them and drown them in a bucket of soapy water." – Wild Florida
Q: Do you find these giant insects: Creepy or Cool?