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Florida National Scenic Trail, FL

Jan 19 - Jan 27, 2019 -- $1250 ★

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 fat (or more accurately, improve body composition).

Our route will take us over 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 ecosystems. 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

Danielle Piscatelli
Chris Frey


$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, 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 even 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 19, 2019

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 407-857-9215 for a free airport shuttle that will pick you up and take you to La Quinta Inn Orlando Airport West, 7931 Daetwyler Dr, 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 20, 2019

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, SR 19, 10 miles South of SR 40. We may spot a car at Juniper Springs Recreation Area which will take about an hour

Hike 2.7 miles to Buck Lake.

Hike 0.7 miles around Buck Lake. Fill all water containers here as we will be dispersed camping in an undesignated spot that may or may not have water

Hike 2.0 miles to Farles Lake

Camp at or near Farles Lake Camground

Miles today: 5.4. Total Miles to date: 5.4

Possible bailout: SR 19 or Buck Lake

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hike 4.1 miles to FR 599.

Hike 5.5 miles to Juniper Springs

Camp at Juniper Springs Campground and Recreation Area, Sites Fern 061 & 062

Campground has coin-op showers

Miles today: 9.6. Total Miles to date: 15.0

Possible bailout: SR 40

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Pack up camp

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

Break Camp

Hike 4.0 miles to small wilderness creek

Camp just beyond small wilderness creek

Miles today: 4.0. Total Miles to date: 19.0

Bailout: Juniper Springs

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hike 6.5 miles to Hopkins Prairie Campground

Hike 5.0 miles to the Northen tip of Hopkins Prairie. Surface water available here.

Dispersed camp at Hopkins Prairie

Miles today: 11.5. Total Miles to date: 30.5

Bailout: Hopkins Prairie Campground

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hike 1.7 miles to Salt Spring Blue Blaze Trail

Hike 3.1 miles to CR 314.

Hike 4.2 miles to the Western Corridor of the Florida Trail.

Hike 0.5 miles to the blue blazed spur trail and set up a dispersed camp.

Day-Hike 1.0 round-trip miles to the 88 grocery store at Lake Kerr, just because. Fill up on water here.

Miles today: 10.5. Total Miles to date: 41.0

Possible bailout: CR 314

Friday, January 25, 2019

Hike 3.2 miles to Grassy Pond Campsite.

Hike 4.1 miles to Lake Delancy Campground.

Camp at Lake Delancy East Campground, site TBD when we arrive there.

Miles today: 7.3. Total Miles to date: 48.3

Possible bailout: Lake Kerr or CR 316

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Hike 5.8 miles to FR 77

Hike 1.6 miles to Rodman Resevoir / Dam

End of hike. Miles today: 7.4. Total Miles to date: 55.7

Return to La Quinta Inn Orlando Airport West, 7931 Daetwyler Dr, Orlando, FL 32812

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, January 27, 2019

Free Hotel Breakfast

Take Free Shuttle to Airport

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