Colorfully dressed robbers with parrots on their shoulders descend on Hillsborough County every year, but Gasparilla isn’t the only entertainment option featuring invaders from the sea.
Hillsborough County’s Hiking with a Viking features park rangers and members of a volunteer historical reenactment group focusing on the Viking era. Together, the rangers and costumed marauders lead hikers through a Hillsborough County conservation park. On the journey, the Viking guides will teach hikers about the Vikings’ lifestyle, skills, crafts, weapons, combat and their appreciation of and dependence on nature.
The county and Wyrd Vikings Inc. are offering the following Hiking with a Viking events, all from 9-11:30 a.m.:
• Saturday, January 14, 2023: Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park, located at 8001 Double Branch Rd. in Tampa.
• Saturday, February 4, 2023: Edward Medard Conservation Park, located at 6140 Turkey Creek Rd. in Plant City.
• Saturday, March 4, 2023: Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park, located at 8001 Double Branch Rd. in Tampa.
The Hiking with a Viking event that had been held on December 10 reached capacity almost as soon as it was announced, and the other Viking hikes are expected to fill up quickly as well. Registration is underway for the January 14 event at Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park; registration has not yet been opened for the February 4 or March 4 events.
The January 14 Hiking with a Viking event will cost $5 per person (pay during registration). To register, you will need to login with an account to purchase tickets. There is a $2 park entry fee per vehicle for up to eight people (paid at the park). Participants should meet at the Nature Center. You are required to bring closed-toe shoes, and it’s recommended to have water in a refillable container, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and bug spray.
To register for the January 14 event, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/calendar/03-parksandrec/2023/celm/20230114-hiking-with-a-viking.
Hiking with a Viking is held in conjunction with Hillsborough County’s Hiking Spree. The Hiking Spree encourages people to exercise, explore the outdoors, and experience nature through the county’s parks and preserves. This year’s trail list features 24 parks throughout the county. Register for the Hiking Spree and complete at least eight of the hikes on the list before March 31, 2023, to earn a patch or medallion.