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Florida National Scenic Trail, FL

Jan 24 - Feb 1, 2015 -- $1050 ★

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 50 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. To kick-off the trip, we will take a half-day canoe trip starting from crystal clear Juniper Springs, where year-round warm water temperatures encourage swimming and where unintentional swamping your canoe is warm and refreshing. Don't be surprised to see an otter or alligator along the way!


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 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.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Dan Shafto


$1050 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, canoes, fees and awesome guides.

Important Note

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.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

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 407-856-8896 for the free airport shuttle and they will take you to Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Orlando Airport, FL 5440 Forbes Place, Orlando, FL 32812

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 dinner at TGI Friday's. Dinner not included in trip cost.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

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

Shuttle to Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs Campground and Recreation Area, SR 40.

Set up camp at Fern Sites 078 & 079

Take a half-day canoe trip from the crystal clear, year round 70 degree Juniper Springs headwaters. Canoeing experience helpful, but not necessary. We'll be picked up and transported back to camp.

Camp at Juniper Springs Fern sites 078 & 079

Possible bailout: Juniper Springs

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hike 9.6 miles to Farles Lake Campground.

Camp at Farles Lake Campground

Miles today: 9.6. Total Miles to date: 9.6

Possible bailout: SR 40

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hike 2.3 miles to Buck Lake Group Camp, potable water from a pump here.

Hike 3.2 miles to SR 19

Hike 3.9 miles to Alexander Springs Recreation Area, site 008 & 010

Miles today: 9.4. Total Miles to date: 19.0

Possible bailout: SR 19

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hike 5.7 miles to a Powerline

Hike 4.8 miles to Clearwater Lake Recreation Area and Campground

Camp at Clearwater Lake, Sites 15A & 16A

Coin-Op Showers available here

Canoe rentals available here

Miles today: 10.5. Total Miles to date: 29.5

Bailout: CR 42

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No water sources today, so fill all containers including spare ones

Hike about 8.0 miles into Seminole State Forest

Wilderness camp at unmarked site, practicing Leave No Trace ethic.

Miles today: 8.0. Total Miles to date: 37.5

Possible bailout: CR 42

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hike about 2.0 miles to Royal Trails Trailhead

Hike 2.3 road miles along SR 44 to Dead Cow Sink

Hike 3.8 miles to Black Creek Campsite.

Camp at Black Creek Campsite.

Miles today: 8.1. Total Miles to date: 45.6

Possible bailout: SR 44

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hike 4.3 miles to SR 46

End of hike. Miles today: 4.3. Total Miles to date: 49.9

Return to Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Orlando Airport, FL 5440 Forbes Place, Orlando, FL 32812 | (407) 856-8896


End measurements taken

Go out to dinner. Awards Ceremony. 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, February 1, 2015

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take Free Shuttle to Airport

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