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I Get to do a Volksmarch

Sunday April 3, 2016                                                                      Most Recent Posts:
Wekiwa Springs State Park                                                            
Wet to Dry Trail
Apopka, Florida                                                                              Early Morning Kayak Up the Rock Spring Run



As you can see from this map, there are a lot of trails at Wekiwa Springs State Park.  At least two are shared with mountain bikers and/or horses but not the one I’m hiking today.


I had never heard of a volksmarch until I read about it on Susan’s blog.  She does a lot of them and they always seem to have interesting things to see or experience whether they are in a natural area or through a town. 

Volksmarch is German for People’s Walk and that’s what they are.  A volksmarch is a non-competitive walk. Volksmarch walks are open to the public to come and enjoy. They are not charity fundraising walks, but walks held for the purpose of getting people out walking.  A great idea. 

There are clubs that sponsor walks and create routes all over the country.  You can find out all about it from the American Volkssport Association.  Just click the link Clubs at the top to find out if there is a club or an outing in your area.

So when I saw that one of the hikes here in Wekiwa Springs was called the Volksmarch, I knew this was my chance to do one.  Pretty sure I’ll have the trail all to myself early on a Sunday morning.

At Wekiwa this hike is 5.3 miles long and blazed orange.  It follows parts of several other trails so it’s best to have a map of the park trails with you when you set out.

Both on the park’s blazes and on this map, the orange has faded a bit as has another trail blazed in red so they are a bit difficult to tell apart.  But the numbers on the map make it easy to see that this trail starts at #1 at the spring, goes through 2-10 and then changes to 29 down to 24 and back to 2 and 1.  A lolipop trail or in this case more like a balloon losing its air.


Because I have walked from #1 to #3 several times now going to and from the campground (those little circles at the bottom of the map)  to the springs, I start out at number 3 shortening my walk by about a mile. 

I start out early in the morning.  No one else around.  The beginning of the trail has been burned fairly recently but the grasses are coming back as the trail leads me into the long leaf pine habitat.  Wish my legs were as long as my shadow makes them look








You really have to get close up to see the beauty in some of the little gems.





When I first start out, I can see a lake in the far distance but as my path wanders, it disappears from sight. I keep looking off to my left to see it but I don’t.  When I’m sure I must be near I start looking for paths off to the left.  I find one that is very faint and take it.  REWARD!





Double reward!  Waterfowl!!   I hide in the bushes which makes it difficult to get good pictures of them.  But I know if I make any sound, they will all be gone in an instant.



There are a pair of woodstorks but I am not able to get them both in the same picture since I am so far away.  First woodstorks I’ve seen in a long time.



But the best of the bunch was this pair.  She’s quacking, he’s busy.



She keeps quacking, he looks up to see what’s going on.



She keeps quacking, he gives her a look.



She cuts the quacking down.


She cuts the quacking out.  I guess he told her and back to business he goes.



Common morhens, with the candy corn beak, are often seen with american coots.  Check out the foot on the woodstork.  Nice pink.





A snowy egret flies in and shares the space with the woodstork, no problem.



I love the snowy’s golden slippers.



Wish I could have gotten a picture of the head of this white ibis directly behind the glossy ibis.



I spend a lot of time in my hidden location watching them fish and preen and fly or swim here and there.  I love that everybody gets along really well here.  Snowy egret with common morhen.



But I haven’t had breakfast yet and I have quite a way to go so reluctantly with a last look at the lake, I return to the trail.



Can you see the trail in the above picture or the one below taken as I head back toward the main orange blazed volksmarch trail?

Good thing I’m not doing this hike with a group who would blaze a much more obvious trail here with their many feet. And most likely they’d never want to wait as long as I always want to stay.

Back on the clearly marked orange/white trail I soon come to my first fork.



The park has placed a map here.  And luckily too since the one they give you at the ranger station is so small in order to have all the trails on it that you can barely see what trail goes where with all the colors.


But their numbering system really helps although based on how the numbers are done, I’d say this was fairly recent.



So here I am at 10 and it’s clear from the map that I want to go right to keep following orange although as you can see, you have to look further ahead to be certain that those red triangles which look orange are not actually where you want to go.




Really not sure how my eyes picked up this fellow on the ground since he blends in totally with his surroundings.



This swallowtail was much easier to spot although he too was down near the ground.




Looks like my friend here also likes blueberries.  I’m too early for them obviously but he’s doing his part to make sure there are berries probably in late May or early June.



There’s no map at this intersection but it’s the 4 way I was told by the previous map to expect at marker 30.  At this point the trail markers change to orange and blue.  I left the white main trail behind at the last fork.






I stop for a picture of me on this day doing this hike and having a wonderful time.


The blue trail heads off in a different direction and orange joins yellow now.


Things get a bit narrow in the palmettos.



Sometimes really narrow.  I wonder how many people actually do this volksmarch?  It’s a really great trail.




More beauty to come for those who walk this trail some days from now.




I’m nearing the campground when I stop for a little communion with a junior long leaf pine tree.



I’m holding a bundle of its leaves so you can see just how long these needles are even on the juveniles.  The natives and many people still use them for making woven baskets.  If you ever see any, they are beautiful.



Back in the campground, just beyond our picnic table I find this fellow I’ve been searching for all day.  He’s a long leave pine habitat mammal, the Sherman’s fox squirrel.  You can tell him easily by his VERY long tail.  Like the pine needles it is longer than your usual squirrel



His little face is different too.  What fun to find him in my own back yard after I’ve walked over 5 miles hoping to spot him.


  1. What an abundance of bird life you had on that trail. The squirrel is certainly different than the ones I'm used to.

  2. That quacking duck and her buddy are just too funny!

  3. Glad you had the trail to yourself, or you may not have been able to admire the waterfowl.

  4. I still make pine needle baskets now and then. Those needles looked really long! A great hike. I'd get lost for sure, even with a trail map!

  5. Like you I would be far more interested in spending time with the local wildlife than making time on the trail. If you had been with a group you would have been unlikely to even see the birds as the noise that a crowd generates would probably frightened them to start with.... You would have only seen the tail feathers as they sought retreat.

  6. Sherry,
    So happy you found a Volksmarch to do. You had the trail to yourself and it is so nice when you can spend as much time as you want birdwatching, photographing and just enjoying nature. Thanks for the mention too.

    We did a Volksmarch today in Gruene, Texas, sponsored by a local Volksmarch club so we had the trail marked out with orange arrows on signs. There were two checkpoints along the way staffed by club volunteers who punched our walk cards and had water and candy on hand for us. Quite a few people participated as the event took place on both Saturday and Sunday.

    In the May/June issue of Escapees magazine, you will find an article on Volksmarching that I wrote. I'm so excited about getting published (and paid)!

    Have a good week. Hopefully we'll see more Volksmarch blogs from you!

  7. Wouldn't it be great to be tall like our shadow. If I hiked this 5 mile trail with so much to see, plus the nice side trip, I wouldn't be back until dinner. Guess a group hike wouldn't be the best for me. Those needles are amazing. I have a purse my Grandmother made.

  8. I have read about the Volksmarch, but forget to look them up when I am stopping in different areas. nice, peaceful hike.

  9. It is always amazing to me that people miss the most special time of the day by not hiking early. You really did have the trail to yourself:o))

  10. Glad to see how well your early morning plan worked on this day. Getting out early definitely has its rewards, and peace and quiet are a big part of it.

  11. If your legs were as tall as your shadow, you'd be needing a longer kayak. ;c) Another great hike with more interesting things to see, sometimes I'd swear you have x-ray vision to spot those creatures with the amazing camouflage.

  12. What a terrific Volksmarch! By the look of those palmettos it sure doesn't look used very often. So many cute little flowers:) Love that fox squirrel's face! You did a great job capturing so much expression in the birds. Boy, those woodstorks are really ugly birds...poor things!

  13. That snowy really shows how big his stork friend is! I've seen that mallard's "look" when I'm quacking :-) That stop at the lake was a real treat, glad you found that left. Delightful pic of you having your wonderful day. I'm sure the long tail has its advantages, but it looks like it would get in the way of limb hopping.

  14. Great photos! I will continue to wish that I can join you on your early morning walks. One day for sure this will happen.

  15. We loved the trails at Wekiva State Park. So much variety, and so easy to access from the campground. Your early morning walks inspire me. :-) How cool that you saw a fox squirrel!! I've wanted to see one forever, and finally got my wish when we were on Dauphin Island. I'd love to be in Florida sometime for the wild blueberries, but I'm not sure that I would be able to tolerate the heat and humidity. I seem to have lost my tolerance, even though I lived there for 30 years.

  16. That would be Wekiwa Springs State Park, not Wekiva. I don't think I'll ever be able to keep them straight. Wekiwa-Wekiva. Crazy!!

  17. President Sullivan is a Volksmarcher. They've had one in C'ville since she's been here. It may have been for her inauguration. I think it was around Grounds. Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. I've done a few Volksmarchs with Susan and Bob when we've spent the winter in TX. Looks like you discovered another great one, they are great for getting folks in areas they might not otherwise go.

  19. Wonderful bird pictures...the quacking duck tale was funny :) Looks like it was a perfect weather day for that hike. And, finding the fox squirrel at the end...success!!

  20. Love the picture of the profiles of the egret and the morhen next to each other. Those hangy down dark pink flowers are really pretty. Sorry but the woodstorks are only attractive to other woodstorks. What strange looking birds- they look like little old bald men. The quacking ducks- that would be me and Beek. I'd be the one quacking- shocking I know! I've never seen a squirrel like that with the l o n g tail and the white on his face.

  21. P.S. You would likely not enjoy a volksmarch with a whole herd of other people. At least not one in which you were hoping to see wildlife...


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