This weekend, taking advantage of the absolutely wonderful weather that graced us in north-central Florida, I decided to visit one of my favorite hiking trails, The Yearling Trail. You can probably already predict why I love it.
The Yearling trail takes visitors through the Big Scrub where Marjorie imagined many of the scenes in her novel, The Yearling to take place. It leads you to Pat’s Island, which became the model for Baxter Island in the book, which is a cluster (“island”) of pine trees surrounded by low-lying scrub bushes. It is also the site of the Long family homestead, where Marjorie stayed while doing research for her novel. Just as described in the book, bears, snakes, and, my favorite, the scrub jay can all be seen along the trail. (Okay, so I’ve never actually seen a black bear here, but I am quite okay with that.)
The Yearling was also turned into a film of the same title, which was shot on location here in the Ocala National Forest, featuring many of the sites along the trail. You can still see remnants of the film set along the hike, along with remainders of the Long family homestead, who lived on Pat’s Island, and served as the basis for the Baxter family in the novel.