Up at 6:00am. On the road by 6:30. An hour and a half later we began our search for a place to park in Ft. White so we could ride a portion of the Ichetucknee to O’Leno Trail.
Since the distance from end to end is just over 13 miles, we decided to ride the southern portion of the trail from Ft. White to O’Leno, and finally at 8:30 we began the ride. The trail runs parallel to CR 18 and SR 441 through the quiet, rural, North Florida community.
We passed plowed fields, grazing cattle, gargoyles perched on a gate guarding a house, along with an occasional pickup truck, but one thing that was missing from the trail were trees. A ride in July, even a morning ride, needs trees and the shade they provide. And maybe it was just me, but the trail seemed to be uphill to O’Leno and on our return.
We hadn’t been to O’Leno State Park in years and enjoyed riding on the shady roads in the park and rediscovering the hiking trails, picnic area, and campground. Located on the Santa Fe River, O’Leno will be the site of a future camping trip.
The ride back to Ft. White was especially difficult in the heat of the day. In fact, John offered to pay me a dollar to ride back to the car and then drive back to pick him up. My suggestion was more generous offering him $20 if he’d ride to the car and then pick me up. In the end, we both bicycled back to Ft. White.
The promise of a swim at Ichetucknee Springs was the only thing that kept us going. Fifteen miles on the bike on the Ichetucknee to O’Leno Trail was more than enough, and one we won’t repeat.
Instead we’ll just enjoy the parks located at each end of the trail, and if we want to bike, the shady roads in the parks will have to suffice.