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Backpacker Magazine – May 2013

From the Field — East

Let our field scouts' beta fuel your next adventure from the wildlife-rich Sky Meadows State Park Loop, to thickets of mountain laurel in Georgia, and more.

by: Sarah L. Stewart

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Amelia Island Lighthouse (Kimesa Jones)
Amelia Island Lighthouse (Kimesa Jones)
Smokies view from Lookoff Mountain (Lawrence Parent)
Smokies view from Lookoff Mountain (Lawrence Parent)

Fort Clinch Loop, Fort Clinch SP, FL
Wind through a maritime hammock and a grassy salt marsh on this 5.3-mile loop finishing at a pre-Civil War brick fort. Hiking counterclockwise, you’ll tunnel beneath a live oak canopy on gently rolling terrain—the remnants of ancient sand dunes. Near mile 3, savor views across the marsh to the 19th-century Amelia Island Lighthouse. Return to the trailhead to tour the barracks, kitchens, and blacksmith shop at Fort Clinch ($2/person). Trip ID* 32358

“Look for wading birds, like pink roseate spoonbills.”

Trail Scout: Marie Bucher Fernandina Beach, FL 

Gleasmans Falls, Adirondack Park, NY
Trace wildlife-rich ridges and meadows on this 4.7-mile loop an hour west of D.C. Nab the best views .5 mile from the trailhead, overlooking the rolling hills and historic buildings of a 19th-century farming valley. Ascend 600 feet along a hardwood-forested ridge. (In late spring, watch for ruffed grouse.) At mile 3, scan the trailside pastures for the park’s 60 butterfly varieties, including swallowtails and monarchs. En route to the trailhead, take a side-trip onto the 1-mile, wildflower-lined Snowden loop. Trip ID 369194

“Look for pinxter bushes (a native variety of azalea) and cherry trees blooming near the Independence River.”

Trail Scout: Bill Ingersoll Barneveld, NY

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