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Florida National Scenic Trail, FL

Jan 16 - Jan 23, 2022 -- $1300 ★


The 1400 mile long Florida National Scenic Trail runs all the way from the Everglades to Alabama. Largely unknown and infrequently 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, visit a wild and seldom seen section of Florida and lose fat (or more accurately, improve body composition).

Our route will be along the so-called "Citrus Loop", the longest backpacking loop in Florida on a single piece of public land. Our trek will be 50 primarily flat miles through Western Corridor / Withlachoochee State Forest sections of the Florida Trail. The Citrus Loop features quite a bit of variety for Florida including longleaf pine forests, prairies, sand live oaks, sinkholes, caverns and the "famed" spongy karst. We may even have access to Mutual Mine. This route is a dry section of land with relatively large elevation gains (for Florida anyway).

Here is a short video of the Citrus Loop.


Weather

Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Fortunately, January is a ideal time to hike in West/Central Florida. Days are temperate and nights are cool. Expect a few desultory insects, 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.



Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Maxie Johnson


Cost

$1300 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, restaurant meals and any gratuities for guides.


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.


Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.



Important Notes

If Florida is experiencing a drought, we actually may see wildfires and drinking water could be scarce or non-existent for many miles, thus obligating us to carry up to 2 gallons of water at times. As the trip approaches, we will have a much better idea of the conditions.

There is a lot of hunting activity in Withlacoochie State Forest in January. Bring and wear a blaze orange vest and/or put one on the back of your pack.


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Packing List
Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
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Itinerary


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Fly or drive into Orlando (MCO). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving a few hours earlier or later, then do so. If you are driving, please let us know as soon as possible if you'd like us to make arrangements for your car.


Call (407) 240-5000 for a free airport shuttle that will pick you up and take you to La Quinta Inn & Suites, Orlando Airport North, 7160 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, FL, 32812, 407-240-5000


Equipment shakedown. We look through ALL your stuff and try to economize the weight you carry while making sure you're prepared for the elements.


Go to Bass Pro Shop to get last minute equipment if necessary


Trail mix distribution


"Before" body composition measurements taken


Go out for welcome dinner. Dinner not included in trip cost.



Monday, January 17, 2022

Second set of "before" measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage


Free breakfast in hotel


Depending upon water reliability, we may take an hour to cache water on the trail.


Shuttle almost 2 hours to Tillis Hill Recreation Area.


Today we will traverse areas with rocks, karst and sinkholes


Hike about 5.0 miles on a horse trail and the yellow blazed connector trail to CR 480


If we cached water, this is where it will be.


Hike 1.0 miles to Taylor Camp, PCZ-D


Camp at Taylor Camp, PCZ-D. No water here.


Miles today: 6.0. Total Miles to date: 6.0


Possible Bailout: CR 480


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Hike 1.5 miles to the Florida Trail


Hike 3.4 up-and-down miles through a sand live oak forest to a blue blazed connector trail


Hike 1.5 miles to another blue blaze trail


Turn down the blue blaze and hike 1.6 miles to Mutual Mine Frontcountry Campground, There is potable water here along with other amenities


Camp at Mutual Mine Campground, site 006


Miles today: 8.0. Total Miles to date: 14.7


Possible Bailout: CR 480 or CR 581


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Hike 1.6 miles on the blue blaze to the Florida Trail


Hike 2.7 miles on the Florida Trail to a concrete cistern that may hold water in an emergency. Along the way there will be a steep downhill that we may have to slide down.


Hike 1.9 miles on the Florida Trail to the Blue Blazed Trail.


Hike 1.4 miles on a blue blaze trail to the Yellow Blazed Connector Trail


Hike 2.6 miles to an intersection that leads to Jackson Camp, PCZ-B


Hike 0.5 miles to Jackson Camp, PCZ-B


There is a pitcher pump here (painted orange so we can see it). This is our last water until we reach a horse cistern tomorrow.


Miles today: 10.7. Total Miles to date: 25.4


Possible bailout: CR 491


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hike 4.3 miles to a horse cistern that holds emergency water if necessary. The water in this trough is supposedly reliable if unappealing. We will strain before filtering if we use this source.


Hike 2.5 up-and-down roller coaster miles to a blue blazed trail.


Hike 1.6 Southbound miles on the blue blazed trail.


Hike 0.9 Northbound (really East though) miles to another blue blazed trail.


Turn down the blue blaze and hike 1.0 miles to Holder Mine Recreation Area, There is potable water here along with other amenities


Camp at designated campsites 11 & 12


Miles today: 10.3. Total Miles to date: 36.7


Possible bailout: Holder Mine Campground


Friday, January 21, 2022

There is no water tonight so carry 6-8 liters


Hike 1.0 miles on the blue blazed trail to the Florida Trail.


Hike 2.3 miles on the Florida Trail to a cave on the West side of the trail


Hike 0.2 miles on the Florida Trail to a blue blaze that we took 2 days ago


Hike 1.4 miles on a blue blaze trail to the Yellow Blazed Connector Trail


The trail now descends steeply (remember though that this is Florida)


Hike 1.8 miles to Youngblood Camp, PCZ-C


Camp at Youngblood Camp, PCZ-C (No water here)


Miles today: 6.7. Total Miles to date: 43.4


Possible bailout: Holder Mine


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Hike about 3.5 miles on the Yellow Blaze to a horse trail


Hike about 0.5 miles on the horse trail to Tillis Hill Recreation area


End of Hike


Miles today: 4.0. Total Miles to date: 47.4


Possible bailout: Tillis Hill


Return to La Quinta Inn & Suites, Orlando Airport North, 7160 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, FL, 32812, 407-240-5000


End measurements taken


Go out for a celebration dinner. Dinner not included in trip cost.


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Free Hotel Breakfast


Take Free Shuttle to Airport


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