Overnight at Jonathan Dickinson SP


Dec 30, 2015
IMG_5179.jpg Well there's no big mountains here or amazing canyon formations but i will share a little of what i saw this weekend. JD park is about 10,000 acres in the northern part of Palm Beach county about an hour from where I live. It is a diverse ecosystem with miles of sugar sand trails. scrub pines and saw palmettos and wet marshlands. I didn't get on the trail until about 10:30 am. It was 75f with a nice cool breeze. My pack was heavy for a one night trip as i was carrying a galloon water because other trip reports said the pitcher pump at the primitive site isn't always working. The other reason is ,because you aren't allowed to gather firewood I actually packed in my own, you know those heavy 4 hour burn logs from the grocery store. I hated it on the way in, but once the sun dropped and the temps fell I was so glad to have it.

The hike in took me 2.5 hours. It's basically flat but the sand is a killer workout. Plus I have to guess my pack was at 35-40# with the water and the wood. I was also carrying a small DSLR and couldn't find a comfortable was to carry it. I will have to work on that. I wanted it accessible not in my pack, but it bothered my neck when i slung it, so most of the time i just carried it in my hand. By 1pm when i reached my site it was quite warm and I was glad for the little bit of shade provided by the scrub pines.

The ranger said there was a reports of a gator with babies before one of the water crossings, but i didn't see her. I did see bobcat tracks in the mud along with raccoon and evidence of hogs. They dig up the ground like a rototiller. Hogs are an invasive species here and i saw one large trap on the trail.

This was supposed to be my first solo overnighter. However, when i got to the ranger station I was informed there would be a BSA group at the other primitive site not 200 yards away. So much for solo. But it did provide a humorous moment. Once the sunset and i fired up my 5# log I had humped in I could hear one of the adults at the BSA camp say "how did she get fire?" The next morning I passed them as they were hiking out and the guy in front said "that was some fire you had last night" to which i explained i had packed in my own firewood. :)

The evening was very relaxing with a beautiful sunset that I failed to capture with my camera. I had planned on doing some star photography but there was way to much light from the surrounding city. So i enjoyed my fire, had dinner and climbed in my tent. I had a new Big Agnes insulated double z mattress I was trying out. Love that thing!! It is bigger and heavier than my NeoAir xlite, but i bought it because it is 5 inches wider. I sleep on my side and the xlite was so narrow i was always falling off the side or my arms were dangling awkwardly off it. With the BA i slept like a dream. She's definitely a keeper.

After my morning coffee, i made breakfast and broke camp. I stopped to some pictures of flowers and the different parts of the complex ecosystem at JD. About half way out a large doe bounced across the trail not 20 feet in front of me, she was a big girl and made my heart smile. It wasn't a big trip but i enjoyed getting away, even if for only one night.

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Florida backpacking looks amazing! Thanks for sharing something we don't see as often.
Florida backpacking is amazing! I live in the Rocky Mountains,but I still miss the Smokys,and being so close to Florida. One of my greatest trips was kayak/camping up at Eglin AFB in the panhandle.

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Thanks for sharing. I recently bought a wider sleep pad. I am with you I hate my arms dangling off. I have only used it once but slept much better than on the regular sized pad.
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