Ascent of Stage Coach Hill on 2015-07-19

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, July 19, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Stage Coach Hill
    Elevation:190 ft / 57 m

Ascent Trip Report

I parked off the shoulder of the West Stagecoach Road next to the TH. The signs prohibit vehicles on the trail. This was my fourth hike of the day and once again in the Withlacootchee Forest. Interestingly, the FL Trail runs west of this path which I was hiking early today in Hernando County. I continued to use my walking pole as Golden Orb Web Spider clearing device and it go far my use than I had planned on. The road (map calls it Forest Trail 11) winds back and heads due south but about half way to the proposed summit it dead-ends into limestone boulders and the trail drops down to a rarely used drainage/tail path. The Golden Orb Web Spiders varied from 1 inch diameter to huge 4 inches! I must have knocked down 20 or so, so nobody had come this way in awhile.

Once I got up to main ridge, I noticed that the ground suddenly dropped away into a large quarry. The fall is impressive. Across the quarry was a large pine planted ridge that I presumed would be the peak. I followed an ATV trail down the quarry and then back up the ridge on the other side. The actual peak that is supposed to be around elevation 190 appears to have been chewed away by the excavations. I would estimate that the actual residual peak now representing the southern highest point in the Citrus Wildlife Sanctuary is actually now only about 180 feet.

The quarry cuts make for interesting relief unlike what we normally are able to see in Florida but disappointing that the actual peak is cut away. On the way back the humid skies bust open and dropped a lot of rain on me. Desperate to get back to the car soaking wet and now completing a 12 mile day, I became careless with my hiking stick and forgot to clear the path ahead and got tangled in a spider web. I could tell by the way I was tangled that I had taken the entire net down and knew the "Banana Spider" as the locals call the Golden Orb Web Spider was somewhere on my body. I kept looking frantically for the likely irritated hitch hiker and could not find him. About when I had satisfied myself I was luckily and was not carrying him, I suddenly felt the sensation of large legs crawling off my large floppy sunhat down on to my forehead. With a case of the heebee cheebees, I knocked him to the ground and he was a big one of a 3 inch diameter.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:345 ft / 104 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:Forest Trail 11
    Trailhead:sink feature next to West Stage Coach Road  45 ft / 13 m
    Grade/Class:1 and 1+
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Raining, Hot, Calm, Overcast
90F humid to raining
Ascent Part of Trip: FL Hill Trips

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Tucker Hill2015-07-19 a334 ft / 102 m
2Kirk Hill-Public R/W2015-07-19 b322 ft / 98 m
3Chinsegut Hill2015-07-19 c184 ft / 56 m
4Stage Coach Hill2015-07-19 d345 ft / 105 m
Total Trip Gain: 1185 ft / 361 m    Total Trip Loss: 929 ft / 283 m

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