I happened across Maritime Hammock Sanctuary while traveling north on A1A toward Melbourne Beach. The sanctuary is part of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, with an unassuming sign marking the trail entrance on the west side of the road.
According to the Brevard County Maritime Hammock Sanctuary website, this is a 2-mile trail. There’s no fucking way we only walked 2 miles. This place was much larger than I anticipated, with varying habitats as you make your way along the trail and to the lake at the north end. Here is the map:
So, we started at the center entrance, where it says “Kiosk/Bike Rack” along A1A across from the Judith Resnick Beach access point. We went straight across then up, across the bridge, and around the lake.
There are signs around this bridge area stating that alligators live here, so small children and dogs are pretty much up for grabs. I didn’t see any alligators but I was also there during the hottest part of the day so they were probably out of sight.
The hike around the lake is nice and eerily quiet but with little shade. After we circled and headed back south we found ourselves walking among dense trees along the water.
The final part of the trail was the most brutal. No shade. Open like a service road. Energy draining with every labored step. Eyes burning from salty sweat relentlessly dripping from our brows. The only picture I took was of these things because I don’t know what they are
We then followed the path back to where we started and counted our lucky stars that we made it without perishing from dehydration. I truly enjoyed the trails here and recommend them, but my tips would be to bring water because it’s longer than it seems and go in the morning before it’s too hot.
Our day ended with a dip in the ocean across the street, where my current love interest got tossed around in the waves like a bag of potatoes tumbling in the dryer. Bless him.