The Adventurous Adventures of Lil Henz II and Cooper the Pup: Pine Mountain Trail Edition

(Title and Photo Creds: Jenna Davenport)

I’ve been trying to plan a spring backpacking trip on the Pine Mountain Trail for me and Jenna for a couple of months now. Ideally we’d try to go when the weather is cool but that’s become a bit more difficult now that she’s off in college and more than a couple of hours from home. She’s finally out of school for the summer and this weekend was looking promising on our calendars. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t looking quite so promising. Saturday wasn’t looking too bad but Sunday was shaping up to be a washout. Rather than bailing altogether we decided to forego camping overnight and take our chances on a day hike on Saturday and see if Ashley and Cooper the Pup wanted to join us. Turns out we made a pretty good call.

Wait, what? You want to know who is Lil Henz II? Allow me to explain…

See the little guy poking his head up out of Jenna’s pack in the picture above? That’s Lil Henz II, a.k.a. Henry Flagler. He has a distant relative, Lil Henz I. Lil Henz I is distant in that he lives in Cocoa Beach, Florida with Jenna’s friend Hannah who is also her roommate at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. The college is named for Henry Flagler, an oil and railroad tycoon who built the Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine in the late 1800s, which is now utilized by Flagler College. To say that Flagler was influential in the northeast Florida area in the late 1800s and early 1900s is a bit of an understatement.

Now back to our story…

We got an early start to our journey with the usual admonitions to drink plenty of water and watch out for snakes. There are only six types of poisonous snakes here in Georgia and fortunately we never encountered the dreaded coralheaded waterrattler. Actually we didn’t see a snake the entire day. We made a quick stop to grab some bottled water and Gatoraid and then a pit stop at the FDR State Park office before hitting the trail. The cloud cover was low at the park office, which gave us hopes of a cool hike…

We finally got to our starting point at the beginning of the Pine Mountain Trail at the 0-mile marker…

The first 1.3 miles of the trail were relatively flat to gently rolling and we found a few of the caches hidden along the trail…

The trail runs along the southeast side of Pine Mountain just below the ridgeline for a little over a mile until the trail crosses the road at the Gardens Overlook. Lil Henz II seemed to be enjoying his adventure…

We walked on to the 2-mile marker, noticing a lightening-struck tree along the way. Was it a sign of things to come?

We doubled back at the 2-mile marker to head back up to the Chestnut Oak Trail to finish out our hike…and felt the first drops of rain as we did. Afternoon pop-up showers were building and it rained on and off for the next hour or so. We managed to dodge the heaviest downpours under the tree canopy but all in all, the rain felt pretty good so we hiked on and enjoyed it.

The Chestnut Oak Trail was pretty much the opposite of the first two miles of the Pine Mountain Trail. From its intersection with the Pine Mountain Trail, the Chestnut Oak Trail was switchback after switchback down to the Little Bridges campsite at the bottom of the ridge and then a long gradual climb back out to the trailhead on the opposite side of the road as the Pine Mountain Trail trailhead.

Once back at the trailhead we checked the tracked mileage on my phone and found we’d walked just shy of five miles.

Then we took one last look from the parking lot overlook in front of the Callaway Gardens Country Store before heading home…

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This entry was posted in Day Hike, Day Trip, FDR State Park, Flagler College, Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park, Geocaching, Georgia State Parks, Hiking, Pine Mountain, Pine Mountain Trail. Bookmark the permalink.

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