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A day in the wilderness searching for Skunk Ape

Kevin and I took advantage of a an excellent day in Florida and went hiking in the Starkey wildlife area in Pasco county. This amazing place is 30,000 acres of wild land surrounded by civilization. Many people don't even know its there. For those that do, it offers a real chance to see what Florida looked like centuries before developers entered this area.
The lake behind Kevin's house. You can see how beautiful the day was.
It was only a short drive from Kevin's house to find our way to this place. Immediately upon entering, we could see a deer right up by the front. Kevin says the park is infested with deer. In fact, one of his crew members heard from a cab driver, of all people, that the wildlife commission was authorizing a deer hunt because the Bigfoot population was growing and deer were drawing them in. How about that!
A deer in the distance
Our goal for the day was to make our way back to a wild river which is a watershed for it. We drove several miles into the park to get as close as we could. We still had a difficult hike in front of use but it was worth the time and effort to do this.  The conditions we encountered heading back there were not ideal. The area became very muddy and swampy, and this is the dry time of year. We knew we were in an old growth area because of the size of some of the oak trees we found along the way. We shot a video at this spot and I laughed about finding something that was wider then me. At his point, a lady hiker with a backpack walked up from behind of Kevin and almost scared him to death. The photos here show just how big and old these trees are.
Kevin at the old oak
Tim at the old oak
We finally got out to the rivers edge. It was a smelly and bug infested area. I don't even think Skunk Ape wants to hang out here. Even with the mud, there were no prints. Not even anything we could play up as a print. Not many come out here, but if they did, they were wearing boots. Speaking about boots, I was sinking into the mud to my ankles. Kevin did manage to maneuver on logs. In fact, he was considering tight rope walking across, but considered otherwise.
Along the waters edge
Kevin thinking about crossing
We did find another trail that led us to an even larger expanse of the River. However, it crossed through an old settlers land. You could see what was left of an old barn door (I think). Someone had put a stop sign up but was of no use. Hikers before us had knocked the thing down and went in anyway.
Lots of roots on this path to make it slow going
The sun was getting ready to set and we had to get back to the car. Overall, the day was a success. The air was cool and the bugs were somewhat under control. They will not be in a few months and it was important to get to this area now.

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