Ocala National Forest / Florida Trail
The 1400 mile long Florida National Scenic Trail
runs all the way from the Everglades to Alabama. Largely unknown and rarely hiked, the trail is home
to a panoply of wild (and not so wild) animals including deer, wild hogs, sandhill cranes, wild turkeys,
bald eagles, alligators, great blue herons, turtles, egrets, ubiquitous cows, and even black bears. Follow
through on your New Year's resolution, get away from your frigid climate, see a wild and seldom seen section of
Florida, and lose weight (or more accurately, improve body composition).
Our route will take us almost 60 primarily flat miles through
Ocala National Forest,
which because of its fine scenery and wild character, was the very first section of the Florida Trail
that was protected. It is a fascinating amalagmation of Live Oak Hammocks, Pine Forests, scenic prairies,
and many other interesting eco-systems. A day or two into the trip, we will take a half-day canoe trip
starting from crystal clear
where year-round warm water temperatures encourage swimming and where swamping your canoe is warm and
refreshing. Don't be surprised to see an otter or alligator along the way!
The Florida Trail Fitpacking Trip will be from December 31, 2012 - January 8, 2013. See the
Most of the trail will be very flat, with occasional small hills tossed in.
Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Fortunately, January is a
ideal time to hike in Central Florida. Days are temperate and nights are cool.
Expect a few desultory bugs, but nothing compared to swarms during other seasons in Florida. Please come prepared for
rain, an occasional cold night and the possibility of blazing heat. Midday temperatures during the January 2007 trip
reached the 90s for a few days, but this, like cold weather is atypical.
lives in Phoenix, AZ and has hiked all over the Arizona Desert. She had guided
Fitpacking trips to
- White Mountain National Forest, NH
- Four Peaks Wilderness, AZ
- Gila National Forest, NM
- Sedona, AZ
- Shenandoah National Park, VA
- Olympic National Park, WA
- Isle Royale National Park, MI
- Florida National Scenic Trail, FL
- Appalachian Trail, CT
- Yosemite National Park, CA
Deb is a WMI certified Wilderness First Responder and a Certified Food Handler.
lives in West Bloomfield, MI and has guided the Mt. Rainier, White Mountains and Isle Royale Fitpacking trips.
She also guides trip on the Grand Canyon's South Rim and in Havasupai. She has spent many summers directing 7-9 year olds and
staff at Camp Tamakwa, in Algonquin Park, Canada.
Here is a
list of equipment
we suggest you bring.
The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you
from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from
It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us
know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of
our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to
discuss any gear with us before the trip.
We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity.
You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important
to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the
is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it.
After carrying it over 60 miles, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer
$1000 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel
room with another trip participant. You will also be
responsible for transportation to and from Orlando, FL (MCO) as
well as personal equipment and any restaurant meals.
Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.
Depending upon weather conditions, the trail may be flooded in places. This may mean inch deep
water or in rare conditions, ankle deep water. Similarly, if Florida is experiencing a drought, we may see wildfires
and drinking water could be scarce or non-existent for many miles, thus obligating us to carry as over a gallon of water
at times. But these are anomalies. As the trip approaches, we will have a much better idea of the conditions.