Florida's biggest hill! Summiting Sugarloaf Mountain
Alex and I decided to drive out to Clermont to climb Florida's biggest hill, known as Sugarloaf mountain. This would be a pretty average hill anywhere else, but we couldn't resist the novelty. Surprisingly it's almost a 15% grade in some places, and goes on for about a half mile. If you've been to Florida you'll find this pretty amusing.
If you spend enough time on Wikipedia, it’s easy to get sucked into the wormhole. Recently I came across a list of the biggest hills—in Florida. This is only interesting because Florida is known for being flat everywhere.
Alex and I set out to climb the biggest of these hills on our bikes, and naturally treated the whole endeavor like one big joke. The hill in this picture doesn’t look bad at all, but then again, nothing does on the screen of your iPhone.
Sugarloaf mountain is the most prominent point in Florida, at 245 feet above the surrounding land. The elevation at the summit is 312—hardly a snow capped peak, but still pretty unusual for the sunshine state. In fact, it bests the biggest hills in both Louisiana and Delaware.
I’ve shown videos riding the North Shore of Long Island New York, which is known for being hilly. Clermont is hillier than that in most places.
For some reason we decided to tackle Sugarloaf mountain in the wrong order, descending it first before climbing back up. Alex was wearing flip flops and had his arm in a sling, and I was on a 36 pound fat tire BMX.
That was a hill.
Those who live by the sword, must die by the sword. It was time to pedal this monster back to the summit.
The climb took about five minutes, and it wasn’t that bad, but we were still amazed. Imagine seeing a palm tree in Denver, or a snowflake in Miami. Imagine seeing a rabbi at a Nascar race. I guess what I’m trying to say is that some things are interesting because they’re unexpected. Sugarloaf mountain definitely falls under this category, and so does this whole area North of Orlando.
Naturally, you’d wonder if there are any bike trails around these parts, and there are. Mount Dora has trails, and so does Ocala, with over 85 miles of singletrack and a huge freeride section built in an old quarry. As for Clermont, many road cyclists frequent the area for year round riding and a little taste of elevation.
If you’re from Florida and you ride bikes, Sugarloaf mountain should be on your bucket list, just to say you did. As for Alex and I, it was worth the drive just for the laughs. We were definitely not expecting to see a legitimate hill in Florida. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll see you next time.
Pioneer Florida Museum, Dade City, FL (Our Florida TV)
Enjoy Pioneer Day at the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village in Dade City, FL. A great opportunity to view living history at its' best and to have some good ole family fun! Come visit the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village!
Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches
Best of America by Horseback held a trail ride with the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches at their Live Oak campus to benefit the children. Many equestrian activities are held at the ranch each year where riders can participate to benefit the kids in the ranch programs. The children at the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches are kids affected by family circumstances where they can no longer live with their parents or relatives at no fault of their own. The ranches give them opportunities to learn and grow in a wonderful environment where they live, study, worship, learn, work and play.
Learn more about Best of America by Horseback:
Bulow Plantation Ruins
I hiked the Bulow Woods Trail up to this site in Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. I posted some information below about this place, it has a lot of history and is a great place to visit.
The 150 acres of Bulow Plantation Ruins stand as a monument to the rise and fall of sugar plantations in East Florida. In 1836, the Second Seminole War swept away the prosperous Bulow Plantation where the Bulow family grew sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Ruins of the former plantation, a sugar mill, a unique spring house, several wells and the crumbling foundations of the plantation house and slave cabins.
In 1821, Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness bordering a tidal creek that would bear his name. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. Soon after the plantation was established, Major Bulow died and his son John took over operations. The plantation prospered until the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. After the war, the plantation was abandoned. In 1836, the Seminoles burned 'Bulowville' along with other plantations in the area. All that is left today are the coquina ruins of the sugar mill, several wells, a spring house and the crumbling foundation of the mansion. The cleared fields have been reclaimed by the forest, and the area looks much as it did when it belonged to the Seminoles.
You can find out more about this state park here:
You can see my hike here:
How to Do Florida with Chad Crawford (Lake County)
In this episode of How to Do Florida, Chad
Augusta Art Guild's 12th Annual Art in the Garden
On Saturday, June 2nd from 10am - 5pm, the Augusta Art Guild will present their 12th Annual Art in the Garden, a premier event that features the work of over 60 local and regional artists in the charming historical town of Augusta, Kentucky. This unique venue takes place on the banks of the Ohio River and will include live music, children's activities, and delicious local cuisine. As a special treat this year, the United States Air Force Band of Flight's twenty-piece jazz ensemble, Night Flight, will end our festivities with a Big Band Bang and the Madcap Puppet Theatre will present their When You Wish Upon A Fish program. Admission is free. More details can be found at AugustaArtGuild.com.