Spelunking along the Florida Trail, Citrus County.

While hiking the B Loop in the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest, the terrain drastically changes just past the C-D loop junction. After trekking several miles of hilly pine ridges full of Longleaf pines and blooming wildflowers under wide open blueskies and sunshine, the trail sinks down becoming uneven and dark. The trail had led me into another world with over sized oak trees creating a dense canopy protecting the lush green understory below. The branches were exploding with resurrection ferns while the rocky ground was covered with moisture loving ferns, vines, and an occasional mushroom. As I search for a worn path thru the thick green foilage as my eyes are drawn to a cave opening. The Sandhills of Citrus WMA are known for the karst topography that exists below. I find this scenery truly enchanting as I am drawn to the cave opening carved into a small limestone cliff. I spot an opening low to the ground that could only be entered by crawling. At this moment, I decided I am going inside to explore or spelunk. Spelunking is  a word of Greek origin that means “the art of exploring caves.”  Quickly I search my pack for my backpacking headlamp, push the on button, and strap it around my head. As I am headed for the opening, I cannot control my imagination as visions of Indiana Jones type scenes are flashing through my minds eye. Millipeeds, centipedes, slippery snakes and other creepy crawlers fill my thoughts. I take a moment to relinquish my fears and quickly scoot myself under the limestone into the cave. I breath a sigh of relief as I stand up and look around this narrow small limestone cavern. The walls are bone dry and not a spider, web, or creepy crawly type creature is in sight. The cave is completely desolate from any living organism. I look around and notice light coming in from the top. A few steps to the left and the cave becomes too narrow to stand. As I follow the light from the headlamp up the walls, I soon see a small opening in the cave ceiling. I keep searching the cave ceiling only to see a larger oval shaped opening that leaves and branches can clearly be seen.

Intrigued with these openings, I leave the cave and follow the path up a steep hill to the top of the cave. Here I see a fallen tree that has been uprooted. Either the fallen tree had created the hole in the cave or the weakened cave ceiling caused the tree to fall I surmised. I cannot help but think what intriguing place this is as I continue my journey back down the trail.

Below is a video taken while exploring inside of this cave.

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About Adventurous Barbara

Hello, I am Barbara Bowen of B A Bowen Photography and I have a passion for the outdoors. I enjoy bringing you high quality photos from the most pristine places of Natural Florida and other places I explore. I hope you enjoy my photos as I kayak down the crystal clear waters of Florida’s natural springs or hike down an off the beaten path trail that has been untouched by human developement. I enjoy Florida wildlife, wildflowers, and natural scenes at their best and I certainly enjoy showcasing them for you!
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5 Responses to “Spelunking along the Florida Trail, Citrus County.”

  1. I’m a little too claustrophobic to slither into a tiny cave, but I enjoyed reading about your experience. I’d like to try out that stretch of the Florida trail, sounds nice. I did go to Florida Caverns State Park a while back. It’s near Marianna, FL. Check it out if you get a chance.

  2. I love hiking and all but I’ll think twice before including cave explorations in a hike. At least not when I’m alone. I’d probably give it a try if I’m with a hiking buddy who’s game about spelunking :)

  3. Hello Barbara, I have been reading your thread and I must say I really enjoy reading you hike stories. what I’m most interested in is the caves you visited. could you please share the locations with me/everyone? I have been trying to locate every one of them. Thank you in advance. evanrobinson1985@yahoo.com

  4. Donna
    Thank you for visiting my site and your interest in my blog post on spelunking. The best source of information on caving in Florida is Tampa Bay Grotto at http://www.caves.org/grotto/tbag/. Best of luck!
    Kind regards
    Adventurous Barbara

  5. These pictures remind me of the time I went hiking through Myakka State park. The scenery is similar in some ways. Thanks for posting this. It reminds me I need to get out and spend some time in the parks enjoying ALL of Florida.

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