Riding the Withlacoochee–Monday–January 23, 2012

It was a bit cool and foggy when we walked this morning.  However, the temperature rose quickly.  After taking care of some house closing business with the attorney’s office, we met Dan and Tricia at 10:30.
02 - Dan and Tricia in Truck

We both drove our vehicles to the Gulf Junction Trail head of the Withlacoochee State Trail.01 - Withlaloochee Bike Trail Map

The Trail is a 46 mile, 12 foot wide, paved trail that runs north to south through 3 counties in Florida.

Here is the mileage chart from the different trailheads.01b - Withlaloochee Bike Trail Mileage Chart

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Last year, Nancy and I rode the southern half of the trail from Ridge Manor to Floral City and back.  This year, the four of us road the northern part from Gulf Junction to Wallace Brook Park in Inverness.  We pedaled exactly 33.33 miles and I know we will all sleep well tonight. 

Getting ready to ride at the Gulf Junction Trailhead.05 - Gulf Junction Trail Head - Getting reading to ride

There were some ups and downs at the beginning,
but not too far along, we came to a marker for the
Central Ridge District Park.
06 - Central Ridge District Park - midway between Trailhead and Citrus Springs

So we hung a left to find out what was back this trail.06b - Central Ridge District Park - see where the trail leads

About 1/2 mile from the main trail,
we found this wonderful recreation complex. 
Lots of ball fields, rest rooms and concession stands.06c - Central Ridge District Park - nice place for a break

After a little rest, we headed back to the main trail and continued on.  Just a short distance before the Citrus Springs Trailhead, we found a nice picnic table and pulled over to enjoy our picnic lunch.
07 - Main Trail Lunch Stop before Citrus Springs

As we headed down the trail toward Citrus Springs, Dan apologized for the breeze in our face.  He said it never fails whenever he bikes or kayaks the wind is always in his face—both ways!!

It wasn’t long before we reach Citrus Springs Trailhead.08 - Citrus Springs Trail Head

The ride to this point was pretty boring.  Next time I would drive to the Citrus Springs Trailhead and start my ride here.  There was more to see from here on.

How about a beautiful Orange Tree!!09 - Trail Views Citrus to Inverness - Orange Tree

Then we past the Bottle Trees!!
09b - Trail Views Citrus to Inverness - Bottle Tree

Of course we couldn’t miss the wildlife.

The huge Pink Elephant
09c - Trail Views Citrus to Inverness - Pink Elephant

and the notorious Bull Shark;o))
11c - Heading back to Gulf Junction - bull shark

Then there were bridges…

One to go under and
09d - Trail Views Citrus to Inverness - Tressel

one to go over!!
09e - Trail Views Citrus to Inverness - Approaching Inverness

Once we crossed over the bridge,
we were in Inverness and this is a bike crazy little town.

First thing we saw was the bike store.10 - Inverness - Suncoast Bicycle Shop

Next came the Rails to Trails Mural.10b - Inverness - Rails to Trail Mural

How about the Withlacoochee Caboose??10d - Inverness - Trail Train Car

Yes, we had pedaled 15.9 mile so far!!10c - Inverness - Trail Sign

Time for a little break.
10e - Inverness - Group minus one
This is our “Where’s Nancy” photo!

Actually this was suppose to be a group shot, but somehow Nancy could not set her camera on automatic and run back to the picture in time;o))  I have to tell you she tried more than once and we all were rolling with laughter along with her…she really was with us…really!!

After our little rest,
we continued a little further down the trail to Wallace Brooks Park.10f - Inverness - Wallace Brooks Park
This is the biggest Turtle I have ever seen!!

It was a beautiful park with a nice lake surrounded 
by trees and walking trails.
10f2 - Inverness - Wallace Brooks Park

Along one of the walking trails was a beautiful memorial to commemorate those who lost their lives on Sept 11th.
10f3 - Inverness - Wallace Brooks Park - 911 Memorial

After visiting the park,
 we decided we needed to turn around and
 head back from where we came. 
We still had half the trip to pedal;o))

So we turned around and headed north.

It was  a gorgeous day and there were more beautiful views to see.11b - Heading back to Gulf Junction - trail views

However, the miles were adding up and
we decided to take a break and try to hitch a ride.11d - Heading back to Gulf Junction - taking a break and hitching a ride
Guess Dan wants to go south to see the Turtles again ;o))

Nancy here: 
After our little rest, the boys decided to spice things up a bit and took off to see how fast they could make their bikes go.  Dan wanted to know what 20+mph felt like on a bike.  Bill said they got the bikes to 25mph.  Tricia and I said they just needed to act like ‘little boys’ again and see who could go faster ;o))11d2 - Heading back to Gulf Junction - Guys being Guys

But not long after that, as we near the end of the ride,
we all needed a BUTT BREAK!!
11e - Heading back to Gulf Junction - Butt Break

Finally, 33.33 miles later, we were back. 
A great trail ride with good friends on a wonderful day.
11f - Heading back to Gulf Junction - WOO HOO We did it!!

But the day wasn’t quite over yet.  After packing up, we decided to head to the Rainbow Springs Headsprings to see it from land.  We plan to paddle there tomorrow, but thought it would be nice to see where we will be going.

The Headsprings is part of the State Park but requires a separate entrance fee unless you are staying at the campground.  To us that meant…No Charge!!12b - Rainbow Springs - Entrance Sign

Our first view of the Headsprings!!12c - Rainbow Springs - First View of Headsprings

There are garden paths that wander all around.12g - Rainbow Springs - Garden Path

Seminole Falls
12c2 - Rainbow Springs - Seminole Falls

Spring has really started blooming and
Tricia was very busy testing the zoom feature on her new camera.12d - Rainbow Springs - Tricia testing her new zoom camera12e - Rainbow Springs - Spring has sprung 112e - Rainbow Springs - Spring has sprung 212f - Rainbow Springs - Spring has sprung 3

Viewing the Headsprings
12h - Rainbow Springs - Viewing the Headsprings12h1 - Rainbow Springs - Headsprings and Swimming Area12h2 - Rainbow Springs - Headsprings and Down River

So glad we stopped to see the Headsprings from this perspective.  Now we can’t wait to paddle up here again tomorrow and see it from the water!!


  1. Another good day with good friends! There was an awful lot of laughter on those 33 miles!! Good times indeed!

  2. 33 miles and you still weren't done for the day??? I would have gone straight to bed, and probably missed the following day! :)

    BTW, was that pink elephant having a good sale???