Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gopher Tortoises and Butterflies on the W-Trail

Bicycle Stories readers know that the Withlacoochee Trail is one of the nicest off-road paved trails for cyclists in Florida, so it was nice for Bridget and I to see and bike the trail again this afternoon.

I biked 53 miles from Seminole Heights to the Ridge Manor trailhead off State Road 50, where I met Bridget who arrived by car with her bike for some trail cycling. I biked up to Dade City and then took US 301 north to the W-Trail trailhead at Mile 0 in Trilby, then biked the six miles to Ridge Manor.

Bridget and I marvelled over the parade of butterflies that worked the wildflowers along the trail corridor and a pair of gopher tortoises. I recall seeing lots of gopher tortoises along the trail north of Inverness on previous rides.

Bridget enjoyed taking a look at the gopher tortoise was passed on the W-Trail.

He was out munching.

Back on the trail.

At 46 miles, the W-Trail is Florida's longest paved trail. But if Hillsborough County ever gets around to connecting the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail, that would become the longest paved trail in Florida reaching an awesome 57 miles.


Anonymous said...

While you were riding on the southern end of the trail, four of us were riding on the northern end of the trail - between Inverness and the northern terminal. We saw many of the same things you did: butterflies, tortoises and many frightened mourning doves. The trail is much smoother than many trails and although there are some riders, there's much lighter riding than trails like the Suncoast or the Pinellas trail.

Now - if you want pure isolation, head no further than Polk County’s Van Fleet Trail. A splendorous stretch of curveless pavement cut straight through the wilds of Central Florida.


Leon said...

I ride WST often and always look for company to do this - riding in groups is more fun! My usual distance is between 15 and 45 miles with av. speed around 16 - 17 mph. If someone wants to ride with me - drop me a line next time you're going ride WST and let's do it together!