Happy Trail Tuesday, my friends! This week, how about we take a hike in Brevard County at Mocassin Island? Sounds a little scary, but I didn't see a single snake while I was there. I did see a lot of cows, but more about that in a minute.
This is a great hike on the River Lakes Conservation Area property, just a few miles down the road from Viera Wetlands, a popular Space Coast birding spot. Here's an idea – arrive really early, take a drive around Viera Wetlands, then head out to Mocassin Island for a hike. It's a 7.2-mile round-trip walk with a kind of long stretch through a cow pasture. This is another great birding and wildlife location – I saw a couple of alligators in the canals, a Crested Caracara, several hawks and lots of Sandhill Cranes before reaching the loop section of the trail.
Once you've made your way through the open pasture, you'll reach Mocassin Island. There are several trails to take once you are there, with wide views of the St. Johns River, oak hammocks and through stands of cabbage palms. It's a great hike, and one you shouldn't miss if you are in the area.
One thing – be wary of cows that have gotten through the fence while you are in the open pasture area. I had a showdown for about 15 minutes with a cow that had somehow found a way out. She had a calf, and was pretty protective. A short chase ensued, which led me to running around a few cabbage palms and up a little hill. I'm sure it was pretty funny to watch!
You can find out more about Moccasin Island in 50 Hikes in Central Florida by Sandra Friend. I hiked this trail and a whole bunch of others for GPS data and photos that were used in the updated edition – get yourself a copy here.
Also, make sure to check out the trails section of VISITFLORIDA.com for lots of great places to explore all over the state. Bookmark this link, it's a great resource! www.visitflorida.com/trails