When I hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 2012 I became enamored with the beautiful mountain peaks, tranquil pristine lakes, and majestic scenic views that seemed to go on forever. I thought about hiking the Florida Trail (FT) someday but honestly, compared to the majesty of the AT I thought it would be boring. But over the past 3 years I thought more and more about hiking the FT which runs from Pensacola to Big Cyprus Swamp just South of Lake Okeechobee. The idea of walking from South Florida to Northern Maine had a satisfying ring to it.
To give the Florida Trail it’s due, it is filled with diverse and sometimes rare ecosystems. When you factor in the challenge of insects, snakes, alligators, and not to mention possible hurricanes, the entire 1200 mile hike should have it’s own set of challenges and treasures. It may not be equal to the beauty of the AT but it will be rewarding in it’s own right.
I had just about decided to hike the FT when I became aware of the need to replace 4 of the 5 air conditioners at Hosanna House. The benefit of making my trail hike a charity hike to raise the $25,000 needed became an obvious solution. So thank you if you have made a pledge towards that goal. If you are unable to pledge just enjoy the updates and pray for me when you think about it. This will be a “pre hike” update. Depending on weather and signal strength I will try and send an update every week to 10 days. I’m hiking with a friend, trail name SunnyD,, who I met while hiking the AT. He’s about my age and shares my love for hiking and adventure. Our plan is to motivate each other and watch each others back.
We leave Ft Pickens on Pensacola Beach on October1st and hike to Navarre and then North. In a few miles the FT starts East and runs close to Hwy 20 and Hwy 90 through most of the Panhandle. We’ll head South around Lake City and probably take the Western route around Orlando. I’m attaching a picture of my pack and gear so you can have an idea of what it takes to be self sufficient for 3 months of hiking. I will carry 5-7 days of food and try to keep my total pack weight including water to around 30 pounds. We have friends and family who will be meeting us weekly with food resupply. Once we get South of Ocala we’ll have to resupply differently. Our pace will be approximately 15 miles per day and our goal is to be finished by Christmas. Cell coverage will be spotty but I can always receive a text or email.
Your support means a lot to me. It also means a lot to Claire as she works daily to maintain the facility of Hosanna House and take care of needs of the ladies that God has entrusted to our care. From now on your updates will be from the trail from TBone (my trail name). If you’ve subscribed to eNews, you’ll emails when I post updates. Click here and sign up to subscribe.
The woods are lovely
dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost