Down the long, sandy road from Hwy 19 to Grasshopper Lake for the promised cleanup effort (Check out the BEFORE picture from the post of 2/23/19 (d)!): THREE HOURS, four large bags of trash, one large bag of cans, and misc. larger items. Came out scratched, bug bitten, and sweaty... but did all I could without a machete, a boat, or a long net on an extension pole! Day is done.
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A great, warm day in Central Florida and off to explore The Florida National Scenic Trail for a change from highway trash collecting. Hiking under a canopy of palms and pines, it was a great six miles down the orange and blue flagged trails, along a few bodies of water (Summit Pond, Dora’s Pond, Buck Lake), and through a somewhat busy campground. The trail itself was enjoyed by about a dozen fellow explorers and most surprisingly: NO TRASH along the trail (however there were some areas around the campers that were strewn with litter)! I was pleasantly surprised and sooo appreciative of those that keep it CLEAN and GREEN! Thank you hikers (and/or Federal Employees, Volunteers)! www.Greenup.earth will focus in other areas of need next.
Note: hike smart and prepared. I brought trash collecting items but forgot water! Duh!
With just a few hours to spare for a cleanup today I decided to head to this pretty “swimming hole” off of Hwy 445A close to Hwy 19. It had been really trashed a few months ago but when I went to check it out the other day the only issues were in the parking area on the highway, so I felt it would be pretty manageable in the little time I had. But as I turned from Hwy 19 to 445A I noticed how trash laden it was from the intersection onward. So I pulled over about .2 miles from the intersection and started my pick up excursion back to the intersection. 2 ½ hours later: 4 full bags of trash, one grocery bag of cans, and tire and car remnants. But only one side of the road and for only 2 tenths of a mile! Sadly I didn’t get anywhere near the “swimming hole”! I felt hopeless, despondent. Like my effort didn’t even make a dent at what needs to be done! But it was something, I guess. And something is better than nothing! Off to another trip to the transfer station… I’ll get to that “swimming hole” someday… and oh, yea, Grasshopper Lake still needs attention…. And so does Hwy 40… and…
2/23/19(d): A long, hot day of picking up litter, a trip to the local Transfer Station to properly dispose the smelly bags, and I just wanted to unfold a chair by an out-of-the-way lake, sip a cool beverage and chill. So I go a few miles and wander down this bumpy dirt road to Grasshopper Lake and low and behold: TRASH everywhere! Really bad, gross. But I was too hot and tired to do any more cleaning so I vowed that this was my next litter picking up destination. There ere a couple of boats on the water but I had the boat ramp to myself. For a little while. A vehicle pulls in and I’m now joined by a small family of fisher-people. As the two beautiful youg girls try to keep from losing their bait in the weeds I was able to enjoy the gentle and loving interactions that this family displayed while enjoying nature and real “togetherness”. After time, the girls traded their fishing poles for discarded cups and plastic baggies to catch minnows! Lovingly, Mom relinquishes her pole and joins the more energetic and fruitful task of chasing the teenie, but accessible ones. Dad, maybe not happy that he’s being ‘outfished’, decides it’s time to try another lake. So as they were gathering up to leave they decide to not only take the trash that they had “repurposed” to catch the minnows but to keep doing good and grab some more! I offered by grabber (It’s pretty gross stuff) and snapped a picture to give a HUGE pat on the back to this wonderful and caring family. Give’s you a renewed faith in humanity when you meet people like this! Thank you Kevin, Tina, Leeann, and Summer Bacon for Picking up. Cleaning up. Greening up!
2/23/19 (c): Wildcat Lake is such a beautiful lake (especially at sunset). It’s on Hwy 40, has a lovely dock, boat ramp, picnic tables, restrooms and even a small beach (park has small usage fee). It’s a great stop for those travelling across the state, or for those that just need a beautiful resting area with quick access.
A hot day but tons of trash collected in this somewhat smaller park. I was able to get most of it (some in the water I can’t reach without a net or boat). Got scratched up going in the bush, bug bitten, and sunburned but met some wonderful supporters who follow the “Pack it in, pack it out” motto. I was able to post my sign on the highway while I was there, passed out a few flyers, and got tons of “Thanks for taking the effort…”! I hope they spread the word because this place looks great now!
2/23/19 (b): Picking up. Cleaning up. Greening up. on Camp McQuarrie Road off of Hwy 40. After my two bags of collecting in the hot morning sun, all alone without another soul in sight, I pulled out my chair to rest near the lake and enjoy the peace and solitude before heading out to my next area of focus. While resting, a Sheriff’s truck pulled up. The officer asked if I knew that I was in a Restricted area. I assured him that I wasn’t aware that it was, there were no signs, and I proceeded to explain why I was there and my mission. I gave him a flyer, showed him the newspaper article and the collection of debris I had collected that morning. He explained that the area was restricted because people were trashing the place and although the area is patrolled by the Forestry Service people have trashed and littered to the point of closing it off. He was very appreciative of my initiative and work and said that he would spread the word and keep in contact. A wonderfully nice and caring man! The Sheriff’s office has a great one working with them! High Five to Lake County Sheriff’s office. But isn’t it a shame that gorgeous areas have to be restricted because of the careless disregard of those without a conscience?! Off to the next dirty job!
2/23/19 (a): Good morning Sunshine! Looks like a beautiful day to enjoy the local beauty (and Pick up. Clean up. Green up. of course). A view like this is sure better than coffee!