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Easterlin Park Disc Golf Course

by JP on Mar.30, 2009, under Florida Disc Golf

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The Easterlin Disc Golf course is an 18 hole, challenging course in the Ft. Lauderdale’s local Easterlin Park. Once the first hole is found, the course is relatively easy to follow, and well marked with signs at each hole. The registration office also has a map of the course (although it is somewhat off on holes 10 and 11).

All of the holes have a concrete tee pad, and many have two pads for amateurs and pros alike to play. These tees are often marked with two pink stones on the front of the tee pads. Each of these tees is marked with a sign indicating the obstacles and distance to the basket.Spring Break road trip 117


Hole 1

Hole 1 is a little difficult to find, but if go towards the lake at Easterlin Park, you will notice a beach volleyball court. The tee pad is just past this course, as can be seen in the left corner of the picture below.

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One of the more difficult challenges of the course at Easterlin Park is the number of difficult shots through trees. Hole 1 gives a good taste of this. Throw through the tunnel of trees, and the basket is near the edge of the park.

Hole 2

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Hole 2 is easily found just to the right of Basket 1. Hole 2 is another challenging tunnel shot, although with considerably fewer trees to hit.

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Hole 3

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Hole 3 is easily my favorite hole on the course. It requires an initial drive from a peninsula jutting out into the lake. This was the first time I have ever thrown my disc over a body of water, and it is pretty nerve racking as swimming to get the disc is prohibited. Fortunately, the distance from the tee pad is fairly short, and I could not resist attempting the drive. It’s a fairly easy drive really, but be aware that a tree sits in the middle of the fairway on the other side of the lake. Hitting it could result in a roll back into the lake. Other than the lake, the basket is a fairly open area near a basketball court.

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Hole 4

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Hole 4’s tee pad is behind the aforementioned basketball court, and the basket is found just to the left of the lake. Careful, a missed approach will wind up in the swampy side of the lake.

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Hole 5

Spring Break road trip 147 Hole 5 is another another opportunity to lose your favorite driver. The tee pad is right on the edge of the lake, and requires a drive over the lake to a basket in the open field behind the registration office.

Remember.. NO SWIMMING, so drive carefully or play it safe down the path on the left.

Hole 6

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Hole 6 begins in the open field behind the registration office, and requires a sharp bend to the right behind a thick grove of trees on the lake.

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Hole 7

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Hole 7’s tee pad is located beside the registration office and the road running behind it. This drive is a nice open field shot, just don’t hook to strongly to the left, or you’ll be in the lake.

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Hole 8

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Hole 8’s tee pad is behind the restroom signs, and is another long open drive to the basket as the edge of the tree line.

Hole 9

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Hole 9 is right beside Hole 8’s basket is a small gully of shrubs. The basket sets in the middle of another set of shrubs  near the entrance to the nature trail.

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Hole 10

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Hole 10’s tee pad begins at the entrance of the hiking trail, and drives into a thick forest towards a fence at the edge of the park.

This begins a series of very difficult holes in a thick forest.

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Hole 11                                                                                     Hole 12

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Hole 13

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For the sake of brevity, holes 11, 12, and 13 are all densely wooded tee shots in the same area. Lots of trees to hit, so enjoy the obstacles.

Hole 14

Spring Break road trip 204 Cross the entry road, and Hole 14 is found on the other side with a really tough tee shot because of three trees right in front of the tee pad. My strategy was to throw around all three, and then hooking back on to the course. Or you can split the trees. Choice your own course,  I ended up with a nice fairway shot after the drive, but only because of the bend I put on it, and a little bit of luck.

Hole 15

Hole 15 is easy to find, but the basket is difficult. Keep looking straight ahead, the basket is there.

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Hole 16

Spring Break road trip 211 Hole 16 is a long drive into the very corner of the park. In fact, there is a fence section that appears to be dropped back just for the basket.

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Hole 17

Spring Break road trip 218 Hole 17 provides another opportunity to lose a disc. It’s a long drive along the edge of a fence. Signs clearly indicate that disc golfers are not to climb the fence (although I saw it done, be careful there are speeding trains coming down the tracks). The train scared me, and I was on the right side of the fence. Keep your throws low, and you won’t lose a disc.

Hole 18

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Final Hole! A short drive back into the woods behind the restrooms.  Hope you enjoyed the course. Good luck with the lake and the obstacles. Oh, and on holes near the tracks, the trains come by loud and fast and can create quite a scare, so just be aware.

Directions:

1. From I-95 take Commercial Blvd. Exit Ramp, and head West.

2. Turn left immediately on to Powerline Road. (a.k.a. 9th Avenue NW).

3. Follow Powerline Road down to 38th Street and Turn Right.

4. Easterline Park entrance is on the left. Entrance fee of $1.50 per person Required.

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St. Augustine, FL

by JP on Mar.29, 2009, under Florida Hiking Trails

St. Augustine City Gates

I have just returned from a long road trip up and down the coasts of Florida, and will be detailing some of my outdoor adventures in the upcoming week. My first real stop on this trip was in the town of St. Augustine.

In addition to the beaches, St. Augustine has a number of excellent outdoor adventures and parks to visit. One of St. Augustine’s major claims to fame is that is is the nation’s oldest city



Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Castillow de San Marcos

A big part of this history can be found through the gates of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, maintained by the National Parks Service.

Castillow de San Marcos Castillow de San Marcos

This monument began construction in 1672, and includes 20.5 acres of land surrounding the fort. Visitors to the area can spend a lot of time just hiking around the grassy parks and dry moats. The park sits along the edge of the Matanzas River, and provides excellent views of sailboats, the St. Augustine lighthouse, and the coast of nearby Anastasia Island.

Castillow de San Marcos Castillow de San Marcos

The fort itself is almost entirely outside. Begin a visit to the side by crossing the moat and drawbridge before entering the gates. As one passes through the gates, the center of the fort opens up into a large square. This is where the townspeople could flee for safety in the event of danger.

Castillo San Marcos

The fort itself is made up of a mixture of shells and stone called coquina, and provided a sound defense for the newly founded Spanish colony in the 17th century.

As one tours the fort, there are numerous “rooms” along the ground level that provide a history of the attacks on and life in the fort.

Continue up the stair case to the top floor of the star fort for some tremendous views of Mantanzas River, St. Augustine, and the surrounding area.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine

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St. Augustine

After leaving the fort, I suggest heading towards the city gates that enter into the Spanish quarter for some shopping, food, and more St. Augustine history.

Spanish Quarter

St. Augustine

St. Augustine St. Augustine

In addition to the typical tourist shops and restaurants, the Spanish Quarter also offers a number of historical sites. Check out the oldest school in America, and get your “degree” from there for only a few dollars.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine

Also, be sure to take a tour of the Colonial Spanish Quarter section with its living history museum reenactments and Flagler College. The number of opportunities for some history gathering near the City gates is almost endless. Just wonder down  and around Spanish Street and St. George Street, and you’ll be sure to find your own historical interests.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not & the Fountain of Youth

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Leaving the area around the fort, one can find a really interesting example of outdoor living just outside the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not at Castle Warden.

What appears to be a very large tree on its side, is in fact a hollowed out tree on its side. In this hollowed out Redwood, a man built his home, one carving at a time.

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Check this out in the parking area next to Castle Warden for a the fantastic rate of FREE!.

Fountain of Youth

Finally, if you continue away from the Fort, you will come to one of St. Augustine’s archaeological claims to fame. The Fountain of Youth claims to be the location of Ponce De Leon’s initial Florida landing, and the beginning of North American European colonization.

Fountain of Youth

For its historical significance the Fountain of Youth is interesting. However, I must say that I do not recommend visiting this park. The park has some nice views of the river, and some interesting animals in the park, including peacocks, nearly tame squirrels (from frequent feedings), an what I believe was an emu.

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St. Augustine

Despite this, the park’s buildings are outdated, the planetarium was admittedly ancient, and not correctly functioning, and there has not been enough time spent maintaining and developing the historical aspects of the park. I cannot recommend paying the $8 per adult to enter the park unless you simply must see the place where it is claimed Ponce De Leon first landed in Florida.

Even the namesake fountain here is under-whelming. There is not any grand or beautiful water fountain, only a small sulfur tasting spring inside one of the outdated buildings, surrounded by some older life size figurines.

Fountain of Youth Fountain of Youth

Other than the Fountain of Youth, however, seeing St. Augustine is a must for excellent beaches, excellent history, and excellent outdoor adventures to be had.

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DeSoto State Park

by JP on Mar.27, 2009, under Alabama Hiking Trails

Fort Payne, AL

Hiking Trails, Mountain Biking, and Camping in Northwestern Alabama.

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DeSoto Falls State Park is an Alabama State Park located in the foothills of Northwestern Alabama.  This state park offers a number of outdoor activities, including some very technical mountain biking trails, 15 miles of hiking trails, geocaching, and 20 primitive camp sites. Running through the park is Little River cutting the the valley below.


Hiking Trails:

Included in the 15 miles of hiking trails are 4 waterfalls Indian Falls (pictured below), and Lodge Falls are along a single long yellow blazed trail. This trail runs along a ridge around 50 feet above Little River in the valley below. Additionally, there are numerous places to hike down to the river below. Also, hikers do not need to hike the entire trail, to see all of the falls, most of them have nearby parking and are only short hike to them. The other two falls, Laurel and Lost Falls require a bit more of a hike, and be read about here.

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Mountain Biking

The 3.6 mile, mountain biking trail loop is a somewhat technical climb if ridden clockwise. Begin at the parking area next to the visitor’s center, and begin climbing the quarry trailed blazed by white diamonds. The trail has a number of short, steep ascents that are slowed even further by rock outcroppings everywhere. This makes for some really fun, technical downhills, but some some pain in the rear uphills climbs. I had a video of this trail, but unfortunately, the disc data disappeared somehow. I’ll post a video of the trail from my next ride here.

Nearby:

Desoto Falls

Lost Falls and Laurel Falls

Directions:

1. Take AL-35 South into Fort Payne, AL.

2. Turn left onto Gault Avenue.

3. Turn right onto AL-35. Follow this road up the mountain, and follow the signs to the state park.

4. Turn left onto County Road 89 to the state park.

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DeSoto Falls

by JP on Mar.27, 2009, under Alabama Hiking Trails

Mentone, Alabama

DeSoto Falls, located between Mentone and Fort Payne, Alabama is a steep cascading waterfall that begins as a tranquil pond. The pond was dammed in 1925, creating the first hydro electric power source in Northern Alabama. As water streams over the A.A. Miller Dam, it creates a very nice curtain of water that lands in the first of a series of cascades. From here, the water quickly begins running into three ponds before the longest drop into a deep gorge.

Desoto Falls

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The park provides very easy access to see the entire series of falls.

The parking area sits alongside the DeSoto Lake. On the right side of the lake is the dam, and a series of steps leading down to each of the water falls.

It is important to note that DeSoto Falls is not actually connected to the nearby DeSoto State Park. The two are actually about a 20 minute drive (in the mountains) away from each other.

After climbing down the steps, the hiker will arrive at the final, and tallest waterfall. Unfortunately, the park offers no access to the bottom of the falls. After visiting this park, I was later told that the base of the falls is accessible via a 2-mile trail that begins on private property. There were no rangers on hand when I visited the park, but I have been told that they can provide directions as to how to find this trail to the base of the falls.

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Other than views of the falls, the park offers little else to do. It is a beautiful waterfall, worth stopping by if in the area, and a great place for a picnic, but don’t plan your whole day around this very small park. Instead, plan to spend some time here before or after moving on to the nearby DeSoto State Park.

Directions:

1. Follow the Menlo, GA /Alabama stateline, take AL-117

2. Turn LEFT onto CR-89/ DESOTO PKWY/ LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN PKWY.

3. In 2.2 miles, turn left again onto CR-613.

4. CR-613 becomes DeSoto Falls Road.

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Quick Hello from Bahia Honda and Key West

by JP on Mar.25, 2009, under Florida Hiking Trails

I am still road tripping it around Florida, but wanted to drop a quick teaser picture and a “Hello” from the Florida Keys. I’ll have full details of the camping, hikes, and disc golf from the trip next week. Until then, enjoy this sunset from Mallory Square in Key West.

Mallory Square

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