Ascent of Highlands Hammock State Park High Point on 2015-02-21

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
Date:Saturday, February 21, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Highlands Hammock State Park High Point
    Elevation:151 ft / 46 m

Ascent Trip Report

Parked Trailer at spot 115. Took dog for long walk to capture State Park Highpoint and in doing so, enjoyed at least 5 Fl ecological communities including the xeric scrub, pine flatwoods, bayhead, cypress swamp, mesic hammock, and a bunch of fine hydric hardwook hammocks with old growth live oak, hickory, ash, blackgum, sweetgum, and maple. Needle palms, sabal palms and wild coffee. Very beautiful in parts.

The lowest starting spot is the bridge where CR 634 crosses the swamp. The CR is a graded clay road with little traffic. It is connected to the internal park system with a bike trail. We also used the paved internal park roads and hiked every one of the half mile signed looped trails in the park including: cypress swamp trail, young hammock trail, ancient hammock trail, hickory trail, fern garden trail, big oak trail, wild orange trail, and the Allen Altivar trail (which I ended up doing three times) and then Northeast bike trails up to the highpoint.

For those that want to skip all the long circuitous trip the HP is as follows: at the end of the trailer campground there is a maintenance road back towards the rec hall and it goes back to a large immanence yard. From there the signs confuse you with "bike trail this way" and "authorized vehicles only" but we passed about 10 rangers and maintenance people who said nothing as we headed north on the large jeep trails. We ended up passing the horse trails and deadened into the park boundary road (on your phone it shows as Darter Avenue) but this is a very sandy straight perimeter road quite boring. There are some better clay roads that show on Google but we missed the turn to them. Heading east uphill the HP is at the very NE corner of the park next to a pasture near the power lines. We were able to backtrack and find a shortcut through the saw palmetto that lead to the bike road which is a hard clay surface. We stumbled into a Geocashe by accident and signed the register Ha!

The HP is not in the most interesting portion of the park. the lower swampy hammock is very beautiful.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:108 ft / 32 m
    Total Elevation Loss:86 ft / 25 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.5 mi / 23.3 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
50F and 80F
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:88 ft / 26 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 73 ft / 23 m; Extra: 15 ft / 4m
    Loss on way in:15 ft / 4 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Every Trail in Park see description
    Start Trailhead:CR 634 at bridge  78 ft / 23 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:71 ft / 21 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 51 ft / 16 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Gain on way out:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route:see TR
    End Trailhead:campsite  100 ft / 30 m

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