Rothenbach Park: Dump Or Destination?
ohn here. Thought I would give Jen a rest from posting. It has been almost four months since we hiked a good hike with Lucy and Pumpkin. The last hike we did was up to the top of Camel's Hump via the Forest City Trail in Vermont. Jen and I realize we are not going to find that kind of beauty here in Florida, but we make due with what we have while we stay the winter here in Sarasota. It almost seems appropriate and humorous that the first trail we chose to hike is Sarasota's old landfill at the end of Bee Ridge Road. The trail is named Hammock Loop Trail in Rothenbach Park which opened in 2009. Hammock Loop is about a three mile hike and about half of it runs through a live oak forest which is quite beautiful. The trail also happens to be fully paved with well maintained footbridges. This allows for bike riding and roller skating, but we chose to hike it and you will see in our photos why taking it a little slower allows one to see and appreciate more wildlife and scenery.
Armadillo foraging the forest floor
Up close, curious and personal. Helloooooo Mr. Armadillo!
As the trail winds around the landfill you can see the many vents that dot the dump mounds
The surprisingly beautiful live oak forest area of Hammock Loop Trail
We were lucky to spot four deer at the top of a grassy dump mound
Hiking through the forested section of the trail
LARGE LOOP TRAIL
This trail is a large loop around the old dump and not on top, I felt a bit safer knowing I was not hiking over decades of garbage and methane. Whether you start the loop from the right or left you will be greeted with open and treeless hiking so a hat is in order for the unforgiving Florida sun. Fortunately a large part of the trail runs through a large live oak forest which is heavily shaded and lined with benches to sit on. What most surprised us about this trail is the amount of wildlife we encountered. We ran into three very friendly armadillos foraging the forest floor right on the edge of the trail and from a distance we saw four deer at the top of a grassy dump mound. Not to mention the many squirrels and birds throughout the park. There are many warning signs of gator, but we spotted not one the day we were there. So this was a nice surprise considering we were not expecting much from this park.
WOULD WE VISIT AGAIN?
Probably not considering this is a pet unfriendly park which we did not realize until the end of the trail when a fellow dog owner, also walking his dog, told us.