In the Realm of Giants: The Pruitt Trail, Florida

The Tree Spirits Hang Out

Summer in Florida is hot, sweaty, and sticky. On the days when you get the inclination to venture outside, the humidity surrounds you like a weighted blanket. This makes hiking an activity only for the brave, foolish, or well-conditioned.

Well, I think we fall into the brave and foolish category because the cool breezes of yesterday lulled me into a false sense of hope and I talked my husband into venturing out of the trail.

We are in the midst of planning a trip to hike The Foothills Trail in October. Having not hiked a step since Late Spring we are severely out of shape. To get some much-needed exercise we planned to venture out in an attempt to get the four-year-old aka “Robin” to hike the entire 6-mile out and back trail. I can hear some of you laughing now…

For the past several months “Robin” has been comfortably sitting on the couch playing Batman and Robin on his tablet while avoiding the scorching heat on the surface of the Sun (Florida).

I have to be honest here and tell you that while on this trek of the LONGEST 5 miles of my life, I questioned my sanity, my desire to hike and whether or not I could legally leave a 4-year-old alone in the woods. (JK, don’t call the cops, I would never actually leave him)

The hike started beautiful and easy down a dirt road. It was early morning and slightly overcast.

Birds were singing and flying overhead…

And then at about a quarter-mile, the whining started. “Robin” wanted to go home and play his tablet. It was too hot, he didn’t want to walk, please hold my hand, carry me, I’m hungry (he just ate) and then in classic fashion only with a hiker spin the “are we there yet” started with the phrase “Are we walking back to the car yet? “

I tried to be patient as I enjoyed the scenery but between the heat, the buzzing of mosquitoes in my ear, the sweat pouring down my back pooling into every crevice, and the incessant whining I was losing my grip pretty quickly.

Luckily Papa aka “Batman” came to the rescue as always. He pointed out to “Robin” all the uniqueness of this trail. The big beautiful oak trees and the view from the top of the levee that was built as part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal before it was abandoned. He engaged his imagination and talked to him about tree spirits.

This huge oak covered in grape vines is the place where the tree spirits grow their grape juice. – Papa “Batman”
“Batman and Robin” in the Realm of Giants
Heading into the “Bat Cave”

Although we did not make the full 6 miles of this trail, it is a beautiful hike. The trail is easily followed, the oaks are gargantuan and spectacularly beautiful. We did manage to do 5 miles in about 2.5 hours so we should be able to hit our 7 mile a day goal for the Foothills Trail.

We are still new hikers and I try to learn something new from every outing. The take away from today is that just because 4-year-olds have an abundance of energy doesn’t mean that they want to spend it walking in the woods. The scenery that we find so beautiful has to be pointed out and shared with them. Sometimes even when you are hot, sweaty and trying to breathe for yourself you may still need to hold a very hot, sweaty, dirt-covered hand as you walk side by side down a single file trail.

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