Fifth Rest Stop: Lake County
Greetings from Lake County! There’s a lot of water here! About 1,400 named lakes.
If I fished here I could go after largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie.
(Original photo from Teampanfish.com.)
Or I could play golf and hit balls into all the water hazards.
Or I could go birding! As the postcard shows, last September Lake County held its inaugural Wings and Wildflowers Festival. They’re doing it again this year:
Lake County has a great birding reputation, with thousands of acres of preserves and passive park lands – including Ferndale Preserve, Emeralda Marsh, and the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area.
The very first field guide I ever bought was the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America.
I’ve amassed more field guides since then. One of my favorite go-to places for bird info is All About Birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Lake County is also home to Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest point in peninsular Florida at 312 feet above sea level. (Britton Hill is higher, but is in the Florida Panhandle.) That’s about one-tenth the elevation of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire (3,166 feet), which my partner and I had summited back in 1996.
Where we live now is 90 feet above sea level and our area has been nicknamed “the Alps of Florida.” I guess that means Sugarloaf is Florida’s K2, since Britton Hill would be Everest.
Lake County also contains the town of Kismet, where Walt Disney’s parents were married on New Year’s Day 1888. Flora Call and Elias Disney moved to the neighboring town of Acron, FL, shortly thereafter.
Kismet doesn’t exist anymore and is now part of the Ocala National Forest in the north part of the county. Ocala National Forest, located in Lake, Marion, Putnam, and Seminole Counties, is the southernmost national forest in the U.S.
My progress after Day 5 — 13 miles traveled in 60 minutes for a total so far of 66 miles — and 32 more miles to get to Jane’s!