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Florida National Scenic Trail, FL

Jan 16 - Jan 23, 2021 -- $1250 ★

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 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.

Trip Leaders

Chris Frey
Julie Quibodeaux


$1250 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.

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 and/or put it on the back of your pack.

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

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 407-826-5258 for a free airport shuttle that will pick you up and take you to Wingate by Wyndham - Orlando International Airport, 5750 Hazeltine National Drive Dr, Orlando, FL 32822

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.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

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 about an hour and a half to Homossa Springs at the intersection of CR480 and the Citrus Loop to cache water for our 3rd night on the trail.

Shuttle about a half hour to Inverness, FL. We will drop the group off at East Haven St. and one of the guides will park at Whispering Pines Park where it crosses the Florida National Scenic Trail. The guide will walk back to the group before we embark.

Carry 2 gallons today as there is no reliable water

Hike 2.2 Southbound miles along the Florida Trail to Citrus Loop A.

Turn Right on the yellow-blazed A loop and hike 3.0 miles through longleaf pine forests to a blue-blazed trail intersection.

Hike 1.5 up-and-down roller coaster miles to horse cistern. The water in this trough is supposedly reliable if unappealing. We will strain before filtering if we use this source.

Dispersed camp near horse trough

Miles today: 6.7. Total Miles to date: 6.7

Possible bailout: Inverness

Monday, January 18, 2021

Hike 4.3 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 the cache we placed. Because of this, cook and eat dinner here. Then load up with 6-8 liters.

Hike 0.5 miles back to A Loop

Hike 2.4 miles to a blue blazed trail intersection

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. Eat lunch for dinner to minimize water consumption)

Miles today: 9.5. Total Miles to date: 16.2

Possible bailout: CR 491

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Today we will traverse areas with rocks, karst and sinkholes

Hike 2.6 miles to a blue blazed connector trail

Hike 5.7 miles to CR 480

This is where we cached water

Hike 1.0 miles to Taylor Camp, PCZ-D

Camp at Taylor Camp, PCZ-D

Miles today: 9.3. Total Miles to date: 25.5

Possible Bailout: CR 480

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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, sites 004 & 005

Miles today: 8.0. Total Miles to date: 33.5

Possible Bailout: CR 480 or CR 581

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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 0.2 miles on the Florida Trail to a cave on the West side of the trail.

Hike 1.2 miles to another blue blazed trail.

Hike 0.9 miles to yet 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 023, 025 & 027

Miles today: 9.5. Total Miles to date: 43.0

Possible bailout: Holder Mine Campground

Friday, January 22, 2021

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

Hike 1.1 miles on the Florida Trail to Citrus Loop A.

Hike 2.2 miles on the Florida Trail to East Haven St.

End of Hike. One of the guides will fetch our shuttle vehicle

Miles today: 4.3. Total Miles to date: 47.3

Possible bailout: Inverness

Return to local hotel (TBD)

Return to Wingate by Wyndham - Orlando International Airport, 5750 Hazeltine National Drive Dr, Orlando, FL 32822

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.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take Free Shuttle to Airport

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