FOOTPRINT - Florida Trail Association



FOOTPRINT - Florida Trail Association
The Magazine of the Florida Trail Association
Summer 2013
What’s Inside?
2013 Long Distance Hikers
Volunteer Hours
Staff Changes
Florida’s First Trailrider
In this issue
Our Mission
The Florida Trail Association develops, maintains, protects and promotes a network of hiking trails throughout the state, including the unique Florida
National Scenic Trail. Together with our partners we
provide opportunities for the public to hike, engage in
outdoor recreation, participate in environmental
education and contribute to meaningful
volunteer work.
5415 SW 13th St Gainesville Fl. 32608-5037
Phone: 352-378-8823 / 877-HIKE-FLA
Fax: 352-378-4550
email: [email protected]
President’s Message
Members in the Media
The Trailhead
Staff Changes
From the Field
Photo Contest
Trail Program Updates
FNST Volunteer Report
Hiker’s How To
Book Report
Special Section - Long Distance Hikers
Newbie on a Mower
Florida’s First Trailrider
Chapter Spotlight
Gator Hole to Oasis
Annual Conference Collage
Chapter Roundup
Photo Credits
Front cover
Zack and Cody Umbarger
Three Lakes WMA
Mike Unbarger
Inside front cover
David Snodgrass
This page
Christopher Boykin
President’s Message
In an era of diminished federal and state funding, with legislatures not fully committed to outdoor rec-
Carlos Schomaker
FTA President
Recently two adolescent brothers and their father completed their section hike of the entire Florida National
Scenic Trail (FNST), greeted at the Alabama line by a welcoming committee from the Western Gate Chapter.
You might have heard about it.
Recently a few leaders in our organization’s Heartland Chapter transported disabled individuals into communion
with nature, along trails and into the woods, with the aid of a one-wheeled contraption from British Columbia.
You might have heard about this, too. Both these items were covered by local media outlets.
reation’s value, it falls on those of us who care deeply about preserving our legacy to step up and build more
than trails. We must build and maintain relationships and alliances. We need to build tomorrow’s FTA, with
tomorrow’s leaders and volunteers. We need to build public awareness and excitement about the importance of
time spent in nature. We are engaged in this effort, conscious of its importance.
We are the Florida Trail Association. We’re building more than trails. Tell everyone you meet. Busy as they are,
they might not have heard about it.
Recently an FTA member in the Panhandle led her tenth annual regional hike event.
Recently groups of FTA volunteers throughout the state
maintained their sections of trail, taking advantage of cooler
temperatures and drier skies. Dozens of hikes and other
activities were ably led. Booths were staffed at public events.
You might have heard about some of these activities, especially if they were held near you.
We are the Florida Trail Association.
We’re building more than trails.
Also recently, a new Chapter Chair in Northeast Florida got a congratulatory note from a long-term member in
his nineties. You probably didn’t hear about that.
There were hundreds of kindnesses, pleasant exchanges, helpful gestures, and behind-the-scenes efforts carried out by FTA members earlier his year, but most of them went unheralded.
In carrying out the Florida Trail Association’s mission, much more than trailbed and blazes and infrastructure
gets built and maintained. Working with agency partners and the public, we also build relationships and maintain trust. Within our organization, we build friendships, mentor future leaders, and foster responsibility. We
build bridges to new hikers, and paths to new partners. We invite them to take part in our efforts. All these
accomplishments and gestures are part of the legacy of our organization.
The mission of building and maintaining a network of trails also leads to positive personal results. FTA and
other volunteer organizations build self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment, esprit de corps, and determination. Working well with others, in a spirit of generosity, builds character. Fresh air and physical exertion build
endurance and strength.
Building a relationship or providing a great outdoor experience, like maintaining an actual footpath, requires
proper tools. Chainsaws need fuel, maintenance, and capable operators; so too, does an organization. A great
section of trail requires foresight and planning and hard work; so, too, does ensuring that future generations
can enjoy that trail.
The commitment to our mission’s “hard” goals (like the completion of the FNST) can lead to the achievement
of “soft” goals (like a stronger, more diverse FTA). More capacity to maintain trail leads to a better, more
complete trail, which leads to a better experience for hikers, which leads to new participants, more interest in
preserving trails, more volunteers, and so on…The process can be synergistic, but it’s not automatic. It takes
focus and intent.
Members in the Media
PALATKA, Fla., April 9, 2013 -- Jake Hoffman, a volunteer with the Florida Trail Association, was recognized
today by the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board with its 2013 Bob Owens Award.
Since retiring from Georgia-Pacific, Hoffman spends his time volunteering with the Florida Trail Association and
is the Putnam County crew leader for trail maintenance.
In March 2002, the District purchased the 4,191-acre Rice Creek Conservation Area, which enabled the Florida
Trail Association to provide additional access to the public. Rice Creek Swamp covers approximately 70 percent
of the conservation area. Together with Palmetto Branch, Oldtown Branch and Hickory Branch, the swamp
forms the headwaters of Rice Creek, a large tributary of the St. Johns River.
The property includes part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Hoffman identified the best route to extend the trail through the swamp, then designed and directed a project
to build 1,885 feet of boardwalk. That portion of the trail is called “Hoffman Crossing” in his honor.
“Mr. Hoffman is the engineering genius behind both the Halifax/St. Johns Chapter and the Putnam County
Chapter of the Florida Trail Association,” said Board Chairman Lad Daniels. “He is an outstanding citizen-partner, and this award is a fitting tribute to his volunteer contributions to District lands.”
The Trailhead
Tom Daniel
V.P. Trails
The Trail Business!
FTA Chapter Sponsored Multi-day Trail Projects for 2013-14:
FTA recently initiated a chapter-sponsored multi-chapter / multi-day trail maintenance project initiative in the North
Region (eight chapters). The North Region is the roll out area with the goal of expanding further in the fall 2014.
Central and South Region chapters are welcome to jump in. Contact Eric Mason no later than June 28th to start
the planning. The primary objective is outreach and recruitment of undiscovered talent and FNST volunteer maintainers and FTA leaders at all levels.
Trail Skills Education:
In March, five FTA trail leaders attended formal trail skills courses offered at the University of North Georgia. The
curriculum covered: Trail Design and Layout, Maintenance and Construction, and Crew Leader Training. We learned
that trail maintainers have “trail eyes”. We walk a trail and are burdened with subconsciously evaluating trail layout
and maintenance. The courses were very educational and I now have a better “trail eye”. I suspect these new
trail skills are already being applied by the other four trainees. Application has definitely started on the Eglin AFB
Reservation. With luck, we’ll have the resources and opportunity to bring trail skills education to a wider FTA audience soon.
Chapter GPS Coordinators:
At the January 2013 Trail Committee Meeting, Trail Coordinators were asked to identify GPS Coordinators for their
chapter areas. A few chapters have submitted names but most have not. These GPS coordinators will be working
with FTA Trail Resource Coordinator Deb Blick to insure trail and infrastructure changes are recorded and our maps
are kept up to date. Chapter Chairs, please confirm that a GPS Coordinator’s name has been forwarded to Deb
Blick in the Gainesville office.
Activities and Volunteer Hours Reporting:
We’ve been inputting volunteer hours on-line since September 2012. Most are doing well but, according to the
hours reporting system, a few of our brethren are either highly efficient trail maintainers (less than 100 hours) or
the work isn’t getting done at all. A simple business rule is that the job isn’t finished until the paper work is completed. It is difficult to make inputting hours fun, but it is vital. Look at Megan Donoghue’s message and get with
the program. If you’re one of the guilty get with Megan. Bottom line, if your hours weren’t recorded, they didn’t
Scheduling Trail Maintenance:
It’s impossible to participate in what you don’t know about! A common road block to organizing effective trail
maintenance activities is a pattern of short-term planning and relying on a static pool of chapter volunteers. Choctawhatchee Chapter posts maintenance activities as much as eight months ahead. In August we schedule for
November – April (almost the entire maintenance season). Maintenance activities are scheduled first and take
precedent over leisure activities. Is short-term planning a problem? YES. How do I know? I’ve been looking at FTA
chapter webpages. If your chapter is not one of the guilty, thank your FTA mission-oriented chapter leaders.
FTA Staff Changes
With a new employee and some major swapping of job responsibilities, you may wonder who you should speak
with on the FTA staff nowadays. Hopefully this little primer will help you get your questions and reports to
the correct person. Of course, if you are unsure about who can address your question, you may always contact the FTA Office using our generic email of [email protected] or by phone. But going directly to the staff
member responsible will speed up the process and get your question answered in the shotest time possible.
We want to welcome Diane Strong to the FTA headquarters as Administrative Assistant. A long-time Gainesville resident, Diane joined the FTA staff in mid-April. More than likely, Diane will be the person to answer your
phone call to the FTA Office, so say hello and introduce yourself the next time you call.
1-877-HIKE-FLA or 352-378-8823
Administrative Director
FTA Administration
Chapter Rebates
Staff Board liaison
Trail Resource Coordinator
Administrative Assistant
FTA Footprint
FTA Mapping
FTA website (except for Volunteer
Hours & Volunteer Training)
Trail Questions
Hiker questions
Reporting trail changes & problems
Notices to Hikers
FTA Trainings
Activity Leader
Field GPS
FTA Membership & Donations
Joining and Renewing
Address & email changes
Activity paperwork
Chapter officer updates
Chapter reports
Store Orders
Long Distance Hiker Packets
Big Cypress & Eglin Permits
Trail Program Director
USDA Forest Service trail liaison
FNST Trail Projects
Orders for trail equipment & materials
Volunteer Program Coordinator
FNST Volunteer Program
Volunteer Hours Reporting
Volunteer Training
First Aid/CPR
Sawyer Certification
Volunteer Recognition Initiative
Trail Volunteering Inquiries
FTA Website - Volunteer Hours &
Volunteer Training
From the Field
It’s that time of year again! We know all of you have been busy on the Trail, whether by volunteering or
by hiking it! We want to see what your lens has captured this season on the Trail.
First Place – FTA T-shirt of choice & FTA baseball cap
Second Place – FTA baseball cap
Third Place – FTA patch and decal
By Eric Mason, FTA Trail Program Director
Engineers without Borders Volunteer on the
Florida National Scenic Trail!
Seven volunteers from Louisiana State University
joined Florida Trail Association in an environmental
cleanup and construction preparation project near
Spring Creek on the St. Marks National Wildlife refuge. The LSU Chapter of Engineers without Borders
(EWB) is a service organization designed to provide
technical assistance and equipment to aid development in local and international communities.
The volunteers stayed at the St. Marks National
Wildlife Refuge bunkhouse, which is cooperatively
managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the
USDA Forest Service, and the Florida Trail Association. Their first morning was spent reviewing safety
paperwork, including FTA’s Assumption of Risk and
Job Hazard Analysis forms. A communications and
evacuation plan were also discussed in the event of
an injury at the worksite. Following paperwork and
introductions, the crew went through a tailgate safety
session, where the importance of wearing personal
protective equipment, safe tool use, and job specific
hazards are discussed.
Once at the worksite, our first priority was removing
a dismantled boardwalk that had become a safety
hazard in the Spring Creek Salt Marsh. Volunteers
hauled over 350 linear feet of destroyed boardwalk
approximately 1.5 miles to a road and eventually to a
disposal site with use of FTA’s new motorized wheelbarrows.
Next, they removed a 30ft. wooden log crossing that
had become a hazard. With the help of Ian Barlow
and a crew of two USDA FS trail workers, Peter Bauer
and Chris Doupnick, volunteers dismantled the small
structure and removed it in preparation for its replacement this upcoming fall. Meanwhile, the other
half of the crew began hauling gravel in preparation
for approach ramps and turnpiking that will be constructed onsite.
All in all, the crew of EWB volunteers, USDA FS and
FTA staff brought over 6,000 ft. of trail to standard,
hauled in 4 cubic yards of gravel, and removed approximately 400 linear ft. of disintegrating boardwalk
from the salt marsh. They also removed one 30’ log
crossing that had become a hazard. We estimate
that the crew fed close to 1 billion mosquitoes and
gnats, and the total tick count was estimated at over
The Florida Trail Association would like to thank
Engineers without Borders for their great work! We
would also like to thank Chris Weber of the St. Marks
National Wildlife Refuge for his cooperation, as well as
our agency partners in the USDA FS. We will continue
to collaborate with the local chapter and our partners
in order to restore access through the Spring Creek
area of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Contest categories
Magazine Cover – A vertical photo suitable for the cover of FTA’s Footprint magazine.
Trail Volunteers – Photos of trail maintenance volunteers along the Trail.
Trail Magic – Photos that capture the “magic” of the trail, whether it be hikers, or scenic landscape images.
*Must be submitted online.
*Submission deadline is July 1, 2013.
*Photos can be color or black & white digital images of any location along the Florida Trail.
*JPEG or TIFF files are allowed but must be in a high resolution (at least 300 dpi).
*Digital photos entered in the Magazine Cover should be at least 8.5×11 inches at 300 dpi.
*Each photo must include a location and a detailed caption.
*Photos can be horizontal or vertical (except for the Magazine Cover category).
*You can enter up to 10 photos per category.
Submitted photos may be used in other FTA publications. By entering the photo contest, you are giving
the FTA the right to use your photos as we see fit to preserve, protect and promote the Florida Trail.
Winners will be announced in Fall 2013.
Email submission with attached photo to Megan Donoghue at [email protected] with the following information:
Phone Number:
Photo File Name:
Photo Caption:
Photo Location:
Submission Category:
Trail Program Updates
Projects. This summer we will be asking each chapter in the North and Panhandle Regions to propose
two trail maintenance projects that are a minimum
of three consecutive days and can be advertised on
chapter Meetup pages, the FTA website and various
forms of social media. We are looking for volunteers
interested in coordinating and hosting multi-day maintenance projects on the FNST. Projects will take place
during the 2013/2014 trail season and are intended to
give the chapters the ability to draw in additional volunteers to help keep up sections of trail that require a
lot of maintenance.
By Eric Mason and Megan Donoghue
We would like to start by saying “thank you” to all
of the work our volunteers do for the Florida National
Scenic Trail!
The FTA had a great trail season and we are already
getting excited about next season. Our program is
experiencing a lot of exciting changes that we will begin
to roll out come fall.
Megan Donoghue will be working as Florida Trail Association’s FNST Volunteer Program Coordinator. In
this role, she will be working on several initiatives to
increase volunteer hours, diversity, ensure safety, and
build overall program capacity.
This summer, the volunteer program will be focused
on planning and preparing for the coming trail season.
We are working on building a committee to help with a
Volunteer Recognition Initiative to help recognize FNST
volunteers from the 2012/2013 trail season. Our Trail
Program has purchased FNST Trail Crew t-shirts that will
be handed out as a small thank you for all of the great
work that was done!
We will be visiting the chapters in the North and Panhandle Regions to begin to roll out Trail Crew Leader
Packets to Chapter Trail Coordinators, which will include
things like the FTA Assumption of Risk form, Job Hazard
Analysis (JHA) forms, Trailhead Communication Plans
and a Tailgate Safety Checklist. We will also provide
new first aid kits and personal protective equipment
equipment (PPE) as needed. Our volunteers work
tirelessly to build and maintain the FNST, and we want
them to be safe while doing it.
We are working steadily with the volunteer hours
reporting system to identifying gaps and inefficiencies
with our current system so that in the future we will
be able to more accurately capture the accomplishments of our volunteers. These changes will take
place this summer and will include the addition of
individual volunteer profiles and individual hours reporting. This will increase our capacity to report more
accurate data.
In addition to our volunteer program, we have been
working with Chapter Council and Trail Committee
leaders to help increase chapter membership and the
amount of trail we are able to maintain each year.
Scheduling F-Troop projects and trainings well in advance and listing them online is essential to attracting
new volunteers and members. Providing a wide array
of stewardship opportunities on our website is a great
way to bring in diverse groups of volunteers. FTA
staff are committed to growing chapter membership
and engaging volunteers on the trail. Our chapters
are already doing incredible work hosting projects and
we are exploring ways to support their efforts.
One of the best ways to boost membership and volunteer numbers is to emphasize chapter lead F-Troop
If you are interested in organizing a collaborative, multiday maintenance project on the FNST for 2013/2014,
would like to help lead a project, or if you have additional questions, please contact Eric at [email protected] Volunteers interested in scouting trail, coordinating camping locations, or even cooking for projects
are all welcome. If you are interested in taking part in
the Volunteer Recognition Initiative, or if you have any
suggestions or questions regarding the volunteer hours
reporting system or trail crew leader packets, contact
Megan at [email protected]
We will support chapters that submit two project
proposals by ensuring they have necessary tools,
equipment, and personal protective gear. Central and
South Chapters are not excluded from this, but due to
location, FTA staff cannot commit to being onsite for
projects in that part of the state. Deadline for project
proposals is June 28th.
Halifax St. John’s Chapter has already begun coordinating for one of their projects! They will be hosting
a week long work party in Juniper Wilderness next
January! We appreciate their efforts and look forward
to working with them on the trail. Once details of
their project have been sorted out, Halifax St. John’s
and the rest of the chapter lead F-Troop projects will
be posted online September 6, 2013.
FNST Maps: Online and on your phone!
On-line mapping is here! While the USDA Forest Service continues to
develop its on-line web mapping capacity through our agency portal, we
are pleased to share the most up-to-date Florida National Scenic Trail
through the ArcGIS website.
b70c52 or go to and click on “FNST Mapping Tools”. Here you will be able to view the current route of the FNST,
designated trailheads, and campsites. The website also allows you to
turn on and off different base layers and to create and print your own
Interested in getting FNST maps on your smartphone? There’s an app
for that! Download the free ArcGIS app from your phone’s app store
and use its search function to navigate the FNST while on the ground.
To provide trail updates, data corrections, or comments, please email:
[email protected]
By Megan Donoghue, FTA Volunteer Program Coordinator
olunteers are the heartbeat of the Florida Trail Association. Without them, the Trail and all of the positive
outcomes the Trail provides would not exist. On behalf of the Florida Trail Association, I would like to thank
each and every one of you for the hard work and passion you put into the Trail and this organization.
This past year has been spent defining FTA’s needs and creating a plan for FTA’s future. As many of you
know, we implemented the online Volunteer Hours Reporting system in September 2012. This system
enables volunteers to enter their hours in more detail than in the past. By gathering this data, we are able
to better recognize the hard work of our volunteers and create a more accurate view of where the Florida
National Scenic Trail stands.
I am looking forward to the coming season and all of the great opportunities we have in store. I am here
to support your projects and assist you in any way I can. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when it comes to
recruiting volunteers, getting training or increasing your Chapter’s volunteer participation hours. I also want
to emphasize the importance of tracking volunteer hours. This system allows us to identify problem areas,
highlight where we have improved and gives us the opportunity to let the rest of the world know how much
incredible work our volunteers are doing. Each and every hour matters and makes a difference when building the Trail and building a positive volunteer community. We are working on identifying gaps in our system, so please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions about volunteer hours reporting. We
are here to help!
Below is the data gathered from volunteer work done on the Florida National Scenic Trail between October
1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. The numbers are broken down by Chapters within each region and then by
region totals. The data was collected through our database system and contact with the Chapter Chairs. I
am excited for a year from now when we can compare these numbers in same issue of this magazine. Our
volunteers do great work, and this work should not go unnoticed.
The Florida Trail Association builds more than trails. We build a sense of community, we engage youth in
the outdoors, and we provide natural resource protection, team building opportunities, environmental stewardship, and trail protection. We need to let others know what we do!
on the FNST
FNST Report
How To
Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes
for Ordinary People
by Robert and Martha Manning
Book Review by Linda Benton
Why a Hammock?
by Cary Beuershausen
The tent has been the mainstay of backcountry travel for decades but the hammock community is rapidly
gaining momentum. Advances in designs and materials have yielded ultralight hammocks resulting in lighter
packs and maximum comfort. Hammocks provide many tangible benefits in Florida as well as elsewhere along
the trail. Wetlands no longer pose a problem and you can hang high above the ticks and chiggers that may be
lurking in the grass. A hammock also makes a very quick and easy chair, which is great for lunch breaks and
infinitely more comfortable than sitting on the ground.
The typical hammock setup consists of three main components: hammock, tarp, and insulation. The beauty
of this system is that it’s completely flexible and customizable. When choosing a hammock consider both the
material and number of layers. These factors determine both the weight of the hammock as well as the weight
it will support. Most modern hammocks use ripstop nylon but other materials like taffeta are gaining popularity. Single layer hammocks tend to be lighter while double layer hammocks provide insulation opportunities and
greater protection from biting insects.
When it comes to weather protection nothing beats a good tarp. Not only will this keep your gear dry but it
can also help cut down the beating sun during warmer months. Along the Florida Trail, the tarp is also a great
way to keep pine sap off your gear. Like hammocks, tarps vary both in material and design from the very
minimal to the very large. Smaller tarps help lighten the load while providing minimal coverage. During inclement weather or when winter hiking, a larger tarp can provide additional protection against wind, rain, and cold.
Choose a tarp that extends at least 6-12 inches beyond the ends of the hammock to ensure adequate protection.
“Walking distance”. To couch potatoes that may mean two blocks.
To an avid hiker it could mean two miles. To the authors of this
book, it means anywhere from 11 miles for the Cinque Terre Trail
in Italy to 480 miles for the Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain.
Of special interest to Florida Trail members is their account of
their hike on the Ocala Trail, the 70-mile section of the Florida
National Scenic Trail that runs through the Ocala National Forest.
About ten years ago, this husband and wife decided to hike the
Long Trail in their home state of Vermont. They section-hiked a
day or two at a time, coloring in completed sections in the trail’s
guidebook. Upon completion of the hike they felt a great deal
of satisfaction, but then they began to miss their weekends on
Cody (Bear) kisses the last blaze
the trail and started to look for other walks. This search led to
their hiking many of the world’s great long distance trails. This
book describes the Mannings’ hikes on thirty of them, visiting eleven states and fourteen foreign countries.
The book begins with a history of walking and then offers advice on how to prepare for a long distance walk and suggestions on where to walk. Part two presents a chapter on each of the thirty hikes. Each trail description includes the location, a general map of the area, length, accommodations (motels, huts/refuges, camping), degree of difficulty, safety concerns, whether or not baggage
transfer is available and if there is an option to walk the trail in sections. At the end of each chapter is a list of resources which include websites and books on the trail. Quotes about walking from
famous people and large color photos from each trail are liberally sprinkled throughout the book.
Trail descriptions are not a mile-by-mile guide, but rather a short history of the trail, flora and fauna the hiker
is likely to see, and helpful hints such as the best time of year to hike and interesting stops along the way.
This narrative is a great introduction to hiking some of the world’s best trails. I had heard of many of them
and hiked parts of four of them, but this book has me itching to venture out on some I had never considered.
One drawback to hammocks is convection heat loss. Even a slight breeze blowing across your back can give
you a chill. An undercover is anything you hang snugly under the hammock to act as a windbreak. This could
be as simple as a lightweight nylon shell or DriDucks poncho. During winter trips synthetic or down quilts will
do wonders to keep you warm. Sleeping bags don’t work well since they lose their insulating properties as your
body compresses them and you’ll still end up with Cold Butt Syndrome.
In Florida one additional item you probably want to bring along is a bug net. These are integrated into some
hammock designs so you always have one. Other designs make the net an optional accessory that can be
taken when needed or left home to save weight when it’s not.
If you are looking for the ultimate in flexibility and comfort give a hammock a try. If it does not work out the
first time don’t give up. Just like your bed at home there is no one-size-fits-all hammock but there is bound to
be one that fits you and your sleeping style. For more detailed information visit my blog:
First Aid ~ CPR/AED ~ SOLO Wilderness First Aid in the Gainesville area
The Florida Trail Life of Zack and
Cody (the Conclusion)
by Mike Umbarger
Looking at our map in the hallway, this season we had to
cover a little over 600 miles if we wanted to finish the entire
Florida Trail before the end of March. We covered less than
500 miles our first two seasons, however both boys were
older and stronger so we set our sights on completion. In
order to do this we scheduled seven, weeklong hikes within
our six month hiking window.
Mike, Zack & Cody at the northernmost blaze
It is much easier writing our day to day trail journal than it is to write a summary at the end of the season,
because once again we have experienced so much that it is hard to believe it has only been six months. This
season we found ourselves running full speed down the trail while getting crop dusted, standing on the shore
of the St Marks River trying to flag down a boat to ferry us across, accepting ice cold water from trail volunteers, hiking through severe thunderstorms and tornado watches, making our way around flooded parts of the
trail while finding out the section we just hiked yesterday is now six feet underwater. Not to mention hiking
through some of the most beautiful parts of Florida which we would have never seen had it not been for the
The First Day - 2010
One of our largest challenges was crossing the Big Cypress
Swamp. I had been anticipating this hike from the very
beginning waiting for the Zack and Bear to be strong enough
physically and mentally to cross it. Thankfully, we joined up
with Chuck Norris and Tigger and their group of thru hikers
for this crossing on their first week out. Chuck and Tigger
have been providing van support for thru hikers for several
years and had it not been for them our swamp crossing might
have been a negative one for the boys. Their support and
encouragement kept the boys going and brought their spirits
back up at times when they were low. Now even though Zack
and Bear say they may never hike the swamp again, they will
always remember and be thankful for the encouragement and
support they received from Chuck, Tigger, and the rest of the
group. During this time we were also privileged to attend the
dedication of the Official New Southern Terminus at Big Cypress.
Everything, however led up to our final hike. Each trip brought us closer to the end and we counted down
the maps as we made our way through them. Our final day was a short seven mile hike from North Hurricane
Lake Campground to the Florida/Alabama Terminus where I secretly arranged a welcoming committee for the
boys to cheer them on at the end. The weather was perfect with clear skies and 75 degrees. About 1 mile
from the end we ran onto one of the Florida Trail members who hiked out to be the first to see Zack and Bear.
He greeted us snapped a couple of photos, then walked us back asking about our trip. Next we spotted the
reporter and photographer who was snapping photos as fast as the motor his professional camera could take
them. Kimberly Blair, the reporter from the Pensacola News Journal, was videotaping with her smart phone
and did a quick interview with the boys right there in the woods, then continued her interview as the boys
hiked. Zack and Bear were answering questions as she walked along side them videoing and trying not to trip
on anything as she was trying to watch the video and walk simultaneously.
Ahead through the trees we could start making out the welcoming
committee and Zack said "I can see the end!” The pace picked up
and I wanted to try to finish all together so I figured I would have
a better chance trying to hold back a train than trying to hold back
Zack and Bear so I picked up the pace as well to keep up. A small
crowd cheered as we crossed the Florida/Alabama State Line with
cameras flashing. You would have thought a couple of movie stars
just got out of their limousine and stepped onto the red carpet at
the Oscars from all the excitement. Zack and Bear posed for some
photos on both sides of the State Line Kiosk which separated the
Alabama Trail and the Florida Trail then we walked over to the very
last Orange Blaze where we left our packs resting against the tree.
I made a joke about kissing the "last blaze” to which Zack responded "I'm not", but Bear laughed and said "I will"! and he walked
up and kissed the last orange blaze with a dozen cameras flashing.
Cody (Bear) kisses the last blaze
We walked back to the State Line Kiosk where Helen Wigersma, Chair of the Western Gate Chapter, presented Zack and Bear with official Certificates of Achievement as well as several gifts the Florida Trail Association headquarters sent to give them for being the youngest to complete the entire Florida Trail.
This has been a phenomenal two and a half year adventure with Zack and Bear, with every emotion, hardship, challenges, and triumphs along the way. We have “done so much, seen so much, experienced so
much” that our journal barely touches the surface, but we were the lucky three that got to enjoy it. Our
deepest heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes out to all the Florida Trail Members, Volunteers, Trail Angels, and Forestry Workers who spend their own money and time to see that this trail is open, maintained,
and improved so that people like me can take their kids out on a Grand Adventure that none of us will ever
forget. Even larger heartfelt appreciation and love goes out to our personal Trail Angels, my wife Dawn
and daughter Hannah, who spent hundreds of hours and drove thousands of miles to get us to and from
the trail, to pick us up early if we got sick, or bring us replacement equipment when something was broken
or lost. We also never started a day on our hike without a prayer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who
never let us go without water, food, shelter, or protection. Our hiking prayer is: “Dear Lord, Please help us
to have a safe and enjoyable trip. Help us to have a good time, to keep us safe, and not to get hurt. And
Lord please help us to find something new that we’ve never seen before. Amen” Our prayers were always
answered and we have had the time of our lives!!!!
We also want to mention some of the other hikers who completed the Florida Trail this season. As of press
time, the following people had contacted FTA with their completion notice:
Yvonne Lynn Entingh “Princess Doah” “Five-gallon”
Jim Eagleton “Rambler” Kerry Smithwick “Scribbles”
Jimmie Hoffman “Catman” Mark Suiters “Stumpknocker”
Emily Labit Johnny Thunder Palmasano
“Billy Goat” Joe Kisner “Tatu Joe”
Deanna Filkins Charles Chandler
Mike & Lynn Thompson
Joe Kisner set the speed record on the FT - 28 days! Trails legend “Billy Goat” celebrated his 74th birthday on the FT this year. Mike & Lynn Thompson - hikers and trail maintainers from south Florida - finished
up their hike. And Deanna Filkens completed her 20-year section hike. Congratulations to all our end-toenders.
I first started wanting to hike when we were looking at the pictures of my dad and brother's 2nd hike.
I wanted to see and do some of the things they had seen and done myself. So I asked my Dad if I could go
on the next trip with them, and he said that I could. I was eight years old.
When we go hiking the thing that keeps me going is the nights, because every night Zack and I would set up
the tent and then we would have a warm dinner. After the dinner the three of us would all get in the tent and
play a short game of Life on the kindle, and then have a good night's sleep.
One of my favorite things about hiking is that every time we would go out hiking, we always saw some kind
of new forest, or strange looking town. And I really enjoyed that! Sometimes we would see an area that
looked like the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter or an area that looked like a T-Rex had chased a rabbit.
Those are some of the best areas about hiking.
I also like the unexpected things. One time we were walking on what looked like a dirt road and we heard
a tree start to fall. We looked around and saw a tree that had already fallen over was hooked onto another
tree and the fallen tree snapped in half! That’s not something you see every day!
One of the hardest parts of the trail was near the Olustee Battlefield where a sign told us that the path ahead
might be rough, so there was an alternate route (which means more road walk) so we didn’t take the alternative and we went on. Right through the trees there was a big open one mile field, which looks nice, but is full
of briers and hills. For a one mile walk we were constantly stepping in holes with thorns getting driven up our
legs, which created quite a bit of cuts. Thankfully the battlefield has nice tables and a small museum, so it
was a nice place to take a long comfortable lunch break!
One of my favorite nights I’ve ever had on the trail was when we stayed at the Clewiston Inn. I’d wanted
to stay at an inn since last January. Once we got to the inn (around Christmas time) we were all so grateful by the looks of it. There was a giant Christmas tree right in the center of the room, decorations hanging
from the ceiling, and two nice chairs and one super nice couch. That night for dinner we ate in the little dining area. My dad and brother both got the special (meatloaf) and I got grilled cheese! In the morning they
served a free breakfast, and the selection was huge!
I feel very surprised, now that I’m done. At the very end it was like an unknown hunger. It was as if I wanted
to finish, but I didn’t want it to be done.
I would definitely recommend hiking the Florida Trail to a lot of people.
Cody Umbarger - Age 12
Well we did it, we finished up our adventure.
It’s still taking it’s time to sink in; I sure don’t feel
like it’s done. It’s nice having all of those memories that came along with hiking the Florida Trail. We’ve encountered numerous venomous snakes, the briar patch that seemed to come right out of the Disney cartoon
with Br’er Bear, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Rabbit, and thousands of alligators. The snakes are one of my favorite
parts about the trail, the only snakes I usually see around my neighborhood are black racers, but on this trail,
I’ve been able to see numerous species such as the cottonmouth, pygmy rattlesnake, Coachwhip Snake, and
dozens of other species. One of the time I saw a black racer on a tree, and right before I pointed it out, a
hawk came down and took it away. As it turned out, my brother and dad were just about to point out the
hawk zooming through the forest, they didn’t even see the snake.
Not only is it the wildlife that draws me to the trail, but the adventure that comes with it. After the everglades portion of the FT, we’ve gotten used to getting wet. We’ve even gotten to the point if it’s raining, we’ll
still hike, even though it’s not as fun as walking in the sunshine. One of the times it was really windy while
we were walking, strong gusts that seemed to try to push you over and keep you from going any farther.
Even though the gusts were strong, they helped to keep the temperature down, and we ended up doing 17
miles that day. What we didn’t know, however, is while we were hiking, there was a tornado warning in that
area, as well as severe thunderstorms. Even though it would have been really cool to see a tornado, it would
have been quite a scare trying to take shelter in the middle of nowhere.
Sometimes we had to get creative in setting up camp. One time when it was going to get really cold that
night, I found a small building and we set up the tent inside. That small shack kept us nice and toasty
throughout the night, and for that we were grateful. One of my personal favorite places we stayed out of
the whole trail was the Clewiston Inn, where I had some of the best mashed potatoes that I had ever eaten.
My other favorite place was at Stephen Foster State Park. If you haven’t had the privilege to visit that park
around Christmas time, then I recommend you head over there this holiday season. We hiked in there after
our first freezing night on the Suwannee River, we walked into the Stephen Foster and saw signs for their
Christmas light festival. We thought it might be over, but when night fell, we were amazed by the four million
lights that lit up the park. And not only were there Christmas lights to get us in the holiday spirit, but free
hot chocolate, pop corn, and marshmallows! I think I had five cups of hot chocolate that night, I had a small
stomach ache later, but I think it was worth it.
We’ve met several nice people on the trail; they’ve given us fresh water when we were by St. Marks when
there was only salt water on both sides of the trail, given us a place to stay, and even given us a lift across
a river. They all add into the adventure, and along the way, I got to taste some amazing biscuits that tasted
even better than the cheese ones at some of our local restaurants. If any of those people who helped us
along the way are reading this article, I want to say thanks for all the support. It made the trip much more
Now it’s all over, and it’s finally starting to sink in. Most people might call me crazy, but I can’t wait to take
some of my friends back out on the trail. I’ve had some friends hike with us, but they’ve missed out on most
of the trail, and I would like to bring them back to the parts they missed so that they could have an adventure soon. This last trip wrapped up our hiking season this year, but I think I might get to do one this summer when a friend comes down to visit, he said he wants to hike when he watched me finish the trail. He
said he wants to do Big Cypress, and I told him I’d do it with him at some point, but he has to promise me a
hamburger at the end. Thanks again for all the support in our adventure; I don’t think we would have been
able to do it without you.
Happy Trails,
Zack Umbarger - Age 16
Adventures Section Hiking the Florida Trail
“There they are!” Cries of joy went up from all members of the extended Umbarger family as first, Cody (trail
name, “Bear”), then Zack, and finally their dad Mike came into view, appearing through the beautiful pine
woods of Blackwater River State Forest. They had finally arrived at the place that had been their destination
for the past 2½ years – the final trailhead on the Florida National Scenic Trail. Doing the hike in sections, this
threesome had hiked 1,100 miles from Big Cypress Nature Preserve to the Florida/Alabama line in the Florida
Panhandle. What an amazing accomplishment!
Fire! Smoke! What can I do now as I can feel the heat from the shooting flames near by? Keep calm and
wait for the sugarcane field to finish burning. It was sugarcane harvest time, so as I continued I was
greeted by the engineer of the sugarcane train as I waited for the train to cross our trail. This road walk
sure was not boring.
The Western Gate Chapter Perspective - Helen Wigersma
Even more notable are the ages of Cody and Zack. Zack,
now 16, and Cody, 12, are two of the youngest – if not THE
youngest – to have ever completed the entire length of the
Florida National Scenic Trail. Truly an awesome achievement
for anyone, but an even more awesome achievement for these
young hikers, considering that they started when Zack was 14
and Cody only 10.
As members of FTA's Western Gate Chapter, Chapter Chair Helen Wigersma and Blackwater River State Forest Section Leader
Bob Browder were honored to serve as hosts to the hikers, the
rest of the Umbarger family, and a reporter and photographer
from the Pensacola News-Journal. Helen had assisted Dawn
Umbarger and the boys’ little sister Hannah in locating the various trailheads where the boys would be finishing sections of the
hike in the Blackwater Forest, including the final trailhead at the
state line.
A trail angel dropped my hiking partner and me off to backpack Eglin and told us that there was only one
Log Bridge. We found out that one needed to be a gymnast to cross this log which was a tree that had
fallen over the river. The river was strongly flowing about five feet below the log. It was a very scary
crossing with lots of prayer.
Bob Browder & Helen Wigersma share gifts
With their backpacks and hiking poles, the threesome embodied the very look of the “thru-hiker.” Cody's backpack, in particular, seemed almost as large as he was, and both he and Zack were eager to drop them off their
shoulders upon arrival, but they were urged to keep them on for the final celebratory photos. With an almost
audible groan, they assented and dutifully stood at various locations, smiling all the while. Photo-shoot over,
including one shot with “Flat Stanley” who had accompanied them on the entire journey, the backpacks got
dumped and the hugs began.
A little ceremony followed their arrival and each boy was presented with a Certificate of Achievement plus a
treasured “End-to -End” patch and various gifts from the Florida Trail Association office. Mike Umbarger, looking like the very proud Papa that he was, thanked everyone who came, expressed his pride in their achievement, and then asked that everyone join Zack, Cody and himself as they concluded this hike in the manner
that they ended all of their daily hikes – with a word of prayer. His prayer expressed thanks to God for good
health, a safe passage and the beauty of the natural world, to the boys for their perseverance and good spirits,
and especially to his wife, Dawn, and daughter, Hannah, for providing the love and support that made this endeavor possible. A perfect ending to a perfect day on the Florida Trail. Congratulations Bear, Zack and Mike!
At River Ranch, I nervously witnessed two bulls fighting each other on our trail while another bull watched
the fight as I silently and cautiously found a way around. On another section two bulls were in the ready
mode with hoofs pawing the ground and heads down to attack me. So this section was rescheduled. Did
I tell you that I do not like cattle as hiking partners?
My two male hiking partners and I are in hip deep and cold water in Bradwell Bay hoping we will be out
before dark. The next morning I am complaining about cold feet in wet boots when I heard, “You may
have cold feet, but I have a frozen crotch.” This happened because his wet pants were left on a tree
branch overnight and the temperatures dropped below freezing result: frozen crotch.
Helen, reporter Kimberly Blair, and photographer John Blackie met Bob at the trailhead before anyone else had
arrived, but after waiting for a half hour with no appearance by neither family nor hikers, Bob suggested that
the reporter and photographer take a little hike down the trail to meet the boys and their dad. Amazingly, they
were both willing and excited to actually walk some of the trail themselves. This trek provided an opportunity
for them to experience the beauty of the area as well as to gain an appreciation for what hiking over 1,100
miles might be like. They were such good sports! After they hiked about a mile, Cody, Zack and Mike came
into view, and after introductions and getting some wonderful pictures of the boys striding along the trail, the
little group continued toward the final trailhead and the eagerly awaiting family members.
By Deanna Filkins
After an 18 mile day hike in the Panhandle, we were so looking forward to dinner and a shower at our
base camp. Instead we watched the flames as Clint’s car burnt and heard the tires explode. We saved
his new camera, but forgot to take pictures as so many other thoughts were dancing around in our heads.
After 20 years and many hiking adventures, I connected the last piece of my section hike of the Florida
Trail. It was not my intent when I did my first hike on the Florida Trail, which was in Ocala, to hike the
entire trail from Loop Road to Fort Pickens. That came after many miles and years. So in all kinds of
weather, year round, by myself, trail conditions, and with others I hiked.
All the trail angels are greatly appreciated by me. Thanks to all who have put in many hours in maintaining and routing the trail over the years. The pigs definitely need lessons on trail maintenance. I waited
long enough to complete some sections to be off the roads and too long where the trail went back on the
road. This was a great way to see the State of Florida and learn some of its history.
The Future of the Florida Trail
Your volunteerism and generous giving enables the Florida Trail Association to fulfill its mission of protecting and maintaining the hiking trails you love. But when you are no longer here to hike with us, how
will you ensure that your love of the trail lives on?
With planned giving, your gifts can continue forever. Please consider joining the Legacy Circle by including the Florida Trail Association in your will or estate planning. Planned giving helps protect your hiking
legacy for many generations to come. Email [email protected] or call (352) 378-8823 to learn more.
“Queen of the Panhandle Trace Hike”
by Scott Lunsford
Paul Guyon and the Loxahatchee Chapter once
again put together an excellent backpacking
trip. Twenty-six backpackers participated in the
event from February 16th to 21st and twenty
were able to complete all six days. The group
was made up of seasoned backpackers and
those new to the sport. There were locals,
people from around the State and one couple
from Michigan came down for a break from the
snow! All seemed to have had a great time.
(A side note: during this event the Loxahatchee
Chapter leads three or four day hikes on the
OTLHT and this year another 25 hikers enjoyed
those day hikes.)
As the last of the initial 18 hikers who had started the
100-mile Panhandle Trace Hike completed their journey
at the Fort Pickens trailhead in Gulf Islands National
Seashore, they were surprised to be greeted by a number of others who had gathered there for a special celebration – a celebration in honor of Peggy Grantham.
This year – 2013 - marked the tenth and final year that
Peggy Grantham has served as the organizer, leader,
and support person for this unique, signature hike that
she created in 2003. The trail of the Panhandle Trace
Hike (PTH) leads from the Florida National Scenic Trail
trailhead at Fort Pickens all the way to the terminus at
Queen Peggy
the Florida/Alabama state line. Peggy envisioned this
hike as a way of introducing hikers to the Florida Trail
and to the flora and fauna of the western Florida Panhandle, much of it unique to this section of the state.
She has been hugely successful in achieving her goal.
2013 Panhandle Trace Hikers
In recognition of her amazing achievement in creating and organizing the PTH hike and in appreciation for her ten years of service,
the Western Gate chapter felt it only fitting that Peggy be crowned
“Queen of the Panhandle Trace Hike!” As Chapter Chair Helen
Wigersma read a Proclamation recounting her many contributions
that made the Hike such a success, other Western Gate members
placed a tiara upon her head, pinned a lovely corsage to her Panhandle Trace Hike 2013 tee-shirt, gave her a “memory book” with
notes of admiration and appreciation from the current year hikers
and friends in the Western Gate chapter, and a gift certificate, perhaps to be used for gasoline, considering the many miles she has
traveled over the years, shuttling and providing support to the PTH
Celebrants included both the current year PTH hikers and charter members of the Western Gate Chapter. In addition to Peggy,
charter members included Ginger and Ed Moore, Susan Fishbaugh,
George and Annette Brinkman, and Helen Wigersma. After many
hugs, handshakes, and picture taking, everyone adjourned to PegLeg Pete’s restaurant – a Panhandle Trace Hike tradition – for lunch
and story-telling about all the joys and good times experienced with
Peggy over the past ten years of the hike.
Western Gate Charter Members
Though Peggy is retiring from active service to the PTH, the hike
will be continued by another of our Western Gate chapter members, Christine Hale. Watch for a future announcement for the Fall, 2014.
The trekkers met at Harry and the Native’s in
Hobe Sound for breakfast before being shuttled to Port Mayaca on Lake Okeechobee as once again the hikers
were walking from Lake to Ocean. It was a clear and cool (low 50’s) morning for the start. Rain in the previous few days had the trail wet though for the first few days and had co-leader Fred Davis requesting a check
of night four’s campsite for standing water.
The group hiked into the youth camp in J. W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area for night three and was
treated to Fred’s famous chili dinner and cold drinks. The weather was still cool and great for hiking and all
seemed to enjoy the hot showers. Tropical Trekkers’ Lori Burris provided a special treat and prepared a hot
breakfast for the backpackers before they headed out on day four.
The weather warmed a little and brought only one light shower as the backpackers continued towards the
Atlantic Ocean. They found the campsite dry in the Loxahatchee Slough and enjoyed a new pitcher pump well
put in by Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management. A couple of backpackers were carrying
the recently published booklet, “Walking the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail”, by Dean Drake and this fact led to a
highlight of this year’s hike. The booklet contained the words to “The Florida Trail Song” by Gordon Johnson.
Led by Larry Myers the group broke out in song around the campfire and sang “The Florida Trail Song”!
The group continued on towards the ocean and this year enjoyed the new and improved crossing of the Hobe
Groves Canal. There is still no bridge but the
canal bed was improved with a geo-web material and the banks aren’t as steep. The water
was just over knee deep but, as in years past,
there were several that used the opportunity for a
The final day was the warmest and the backpackers trekked the ancient sand dunes of Jonathan
Dickinson State Park before the road walk and
lunch at Taste Restaurant in Hobe Sound. Then
with full bellies the bunch finished the last mile on
Bridge Road in the shady tunnel of ficus trees and
finally reached the beach. The required group
photo on the sand of the Atlantic Ocean was
taken and signified the end of this journey!
Camino de Santiago
Sue “Hammock Hanger” Turner
Two days after my 55th birthday I boarded a plane
bound for France. I was headed to Europe on my first
international backpacking adventure. After 3 plane
flights and 2 train rides, my partner and I arrived in St.
Jean Pied du Port, France. This is the starting point for
the Camino de Santiago - the Way of St. James.
After a day of rest, we headed west up into the Pyrenees. Today was, in my mind, nothing short of a
miracle. The Camino is a very spiritual hike for most
people. I really wasn’t here to atone for anything in
particular, nor was I here to work through problems in
my life. I was here to hike, for me that was my issue.
Day 1 Leaving St Jean Pied
Most of my hikes the past few years have ended early
due to knee issues, which means pain. Now, here I was
on a 500 mile adventure with two brand new knees. I had gone through total knee replacement surgeries
just a few months back. On the Camino you hike from town to town, church to church. I said a prayer in
every church that my knees would stay strong and carry me all the way to the end.
My partner and I made it up and over the Pyrenees and crossed the
border into Spain. Here I was expecting to sleep in a dorm room with
120 other Pilgrims. (The Camino hikers are referred to as Pilgrims.)
You can imagine what kind of noises would transpire in a room like that
at night. Luckily, we were surprised with a brand new facility that had
nice little cubicles of 4. Technically, the open cubicles still let the noises
flow but helped to buffer it some. I became very attached to my purple
As with all hikes, the hikers become friends very quickly. We seemed
to hike together or at least end at the same place each night. I enjoyed
my trail family immensely. It consisted of a man from Denmark, a lady from Holland, a lady from South
Africa, a couple of English ladies and two ladies from New Zealand.
This is a very international trail. It is located in Spain but the Pilgrims
are from all over the world.
French Pyrenees
My days consisted of hiking up and down the mountains, through farmlands and vineyards. A number of times each day the trail would take
you through a small town, village or hamlet. Most had at least one
cafe/bar. In the morning that meant cafe con leche (coffee with milk)
for most and a tea for me. Chocolate croissants and potato tortillas
were always a treat for breakfast. The main breakfast served at the
HH on the Trail
alburgues (hostels) is bread, butter & jam. That gets old very fast. If
it was later in the day, the cafe/bar would be the spot for wine or cerveza limon (a mix of beer and
lemon soda). I preferred just the lemon soda. Lunch would be a bogadilla (sub). It consisted of 2-3 thin
slices of meat, a slice of cheese and tomato upon request. No condiments, just dry bread. I ate plenty of
them, a hiker has got to eat.
Our daily routine was walking, securing a bed in an alburgue (hostel), showering, doing laundry, and finally
relaxing a little before going to the Pilgrim dinner.
There were usually 2 or more alburgues in town, the
more desirable ones filled up first. It was not unusual
to find a “Completo” sign on the door if you came in
late in the day. Then you had to hope your second
choice still had beds available. If not, you found yourself back out on the trail moving on to the next town
in hopes of an available bed. Luckily we were hiking
near the end of the season and only had to move
on a couple of times. Not to mention we hiked short
mileage days, so we got to the alburgues early in the
The Pilgrim dinner was either included in your bed
rate or you would go to a cafe/bar in town. I found
that the alburgues that cooked had the best food.
The cafe/bars all seemed to serve the same meals
over and over.
We did not have the time to hike another 3 days to
go to Finisterre, so we went by bus. Finisterre is
known as the end of the earth. Until Columbus came
back from his voyages, it was commonly believed that
when ships sailed from here and were no longer visible on the horizon, they had fallen of the flat edge of
the earth.
This was a wonderful adventure. The trail was full of
hikers from around the world and varied in age (although I will say most were over 50). It was a great
multi-cultural hike for me. I hope to repeat this hike
with my husband. There are many other Caminos in
Europe. A number of them are already on my to-dolist.
Full daily journal: trail
About midway into the hike we came to the Meseta,
a very flat region without much in the way of scenery
to look at. Well, at least in late fall, when all the farms
had been harvested. The flat, repetitious walking seemed to have many of the hikers, my partner
included, suffering from tendinitis. I was lucky not to
be bothered and I was thrilled that the knees were
holding up well.
We did stop in a few of the bigger cities along the
way - Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. Each had large
ornate cathedrals. It took hours to tour the one in
Burgos. Even the small little churches in the towns
along the trail had ornate golden alters.
As we got closer to the end of our hike we had temperature changes. The days were still pleasant but
the mornings and nights became pretty cold. I also
could see that the Pilgrims were picking up there
pace and hiking more miles each day. As my partner
put it, they were being drawn into the Santiago vortex. We actually slowed down a bit in no hurry to end
our journey.
Finally my knees carried me into the city of Santiago
and my journey was over. I had hiked 500 miles along
the Camino de Santiago, through small Spanish villages and large cities. I went to the Pilgrim’s office
and obtained my Compostella (certificate of completion) and then attended a mass for the Pilgrims in the
Compostella in Hand
How Walking in Spain Got US Hooked on Florida’s Trails
Learning To Mow On Trail Maintenance - A Bad Hair Day
Russell J Hall and Peg Rooney Hall
Gordy Hawkins
The year we turned 40, Peg ran the Maryland Marathon. What an accomplishment for someone who grew up when girls ran only half-court
in basketball! But one marathon was enough. Russ’s shins had given
out even before the race, so he didn’t get to do it. We never ran again.
No need for a hiking stick today. No need for a raincoat. Yes, a need for a light jacket, 57 degrees. Okay,
grab your knapsack, snacks and go.
The year we turned 65, we walked 150 miles on an old pilgrimage
route, El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We wondered
if we’d gone over the edge to even consider doing it. We never would
have believed that walking hundreds of miles would be energizing—that
it would get into our blood! We did 200 more miles of the Camino in
2009; then, 300 in 2011, and 150 last summer.
The best part was that walking the Camino introduced us to walking in Florida. We needed to train, and having
recently retired, we had desk-job weight and weakness to overcome. Starting in the fall, we survived a month
of three-mile loops from our home through San Felasco city park. Elated to have lost weight and beginning to
feel stronger, in Month Two of our training we headed out to San Felasco Hammock.
Oops, we weren’t quite ready for the almost six-mile trails. But we were immediately in love with the woods.
We would walk through the scrub and onto the yellow trail. The old growth hardwoods surrounded us on our
way to the split with the blue trail. After our first rest, we’d proceed through the tall forest of longleaf pines,
watching for the often observed red-bellied woodpeckers who hang out there. Our second rest spot was at the
left turn before heading down and up the hills on the far side of the trail to our favorite gopher tortoise burrow, near our third rest spot.
After two more months of training we were lighter still, and walking entire loops with no rests needed.
Another favorite walk was in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, near Cedar Key. We would park
near the boat ramp at McCormick Creek and walk the Nature Road to Barnett Creek and back, for about a sixmile round trip. We saw swallow-tailed kites, alligators, tortoises, a baby cottonmouth, butterflies, wood storks,
eagles, ospreys, and broad vistas of marshland punctuated with distant clumps of cabbage palms.
We established an 8-mile route in Cedar Key, from the cemetery to the
Jernigan Road end, back to the airport, and around Dock Street and
back to the cemetery. By spring, we were each about 25 pounds lighter,
and only occasionally tempted to stop on Dock Street for a rest on the
8-mile training walk.
We continue to walk almost every day in Florida, and in 2013, we will
return to the Camino and will walk another 150 miles. We’ve also accepted a volunteer posting in May to serve other hikers as innkeepers
(hospitaleros) at one of the hostels (albergues) where walkers are not
charged a set fee, but pay a donativo—whatever amount seems appropriate to them. Once again, we wonder
if we have lost our heads…cleaning, cooking, and hosting for 28 pilgrims each day.
We’ll let you know in the fall.
We met on dirt road which is the north end of Forest Road 3 in the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State
Forest. It was a short drive to the starting point of our day’s work. A few days earlier I had gone through
and removed most of the blowdowns from the trail. The rainy season had been good for the forest and the
ground was now dry to make mowing practical. You could see the trail, but sometimes these very pretty,
tall, spindly forest weeds had grown so high and prodigiously that the trail was sometimes inconvenient for
Mitch Almon, long standing section leader of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Trail Association, was my
mentor this day.
From the bed of his truck, Mitch attached a ramp and took the DR mower down the incline. We were ready
to begin. The agenda today would be to go from Forest Road 3 to the main orange trail of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which is about a mile north of Tucker Hill Fire Tower.
We would proceed with Mitch pushing/ being pulled by the mower and I would go up ahead and help reformulate those sections of the trail which were sketchy. It took about 40 minutes to get the path mowed
to our turnaround. When mowing, Mitch had gone slightly off center to the the left of the trail. I would
retrace our route, going in the opposite direction, of course. My cut would also be slightly off center to the
the left, in essence giving a double mower-wide path.
Description of the mower: It is a commercial size self propelled mower. It looks like a huge backyard push
lawn mower, but approximately 30 inches wide and approximately 350 lbs. There are 4 speed gears, neutral, reverse and a dead man’s gear (if you are not squeezing the gear, the mower will automatically shut
off). It is a powerful mower that will cut most anything up to 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches thick. The mower
moves at the speed of the gear you are in. 1st gear quite slowly, fourth gear about a pace of 22 minute
mile. Because it is a monstrosity, you do not control it with the finesse of a topiarist, but gradually manipulate and guide its direction. You change gears to slow down and speed up according the to terrain. As
advised by Mitch, if you are going to go in reverse, always look behind you beforehand to be sure you have
space to back up, it can push you backwards quickly. Do not hold the handle gears tightly or with straight
arms as the vibrations will jar you all the way up to your jaw.
Time for me to give this behemoth a try. The hardest thing for me was remembering if you push in the
knob or pull out the knob to engage the blade. An example of that is that I was pushing the mower gaily
along for about 10 yards with the sound of the mower’s engine dominating the forest. Mitch noticed,
alerted me as I was pushing the mower and nothing was cutting. I then engaged the blades and was back
to cutting my half of the trail.
After several minutes, Mitch said, “Turn around and see the trail.” And sure enough I knew what he was
talking about. The mower encasing is about 3 inches wider than the interior blade diameter. So as I was
aligning my cut of the path off the very edge of Mitch’s cut, I was leaving a path with 3” swath of high
grass/weeds in the middle - definitely a bad hair day (mohawk style).
SHERPA FOR A DAY: Florida’s First Trailrider GiveS Polk Disabled Access to Trails
Story and PHOTOS by Kim Fatica (reprinted with permission of the author)
Tired of seeing her friends' pictures and hearing their stories
from wilderness trips, 63-year-old Emily Bennett of Winter
Haven was ready for her own experiences. The ride she was
about to take through the Circle B Bar Reserve would be very
"The freedom to get out in the's like an uplifting of
your spirit," she said, "It sort of leaves a hole in your heart
not to be able to go out and this experience will be extremely
Twenty-four years ago Bennett was in a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver. Her speech is slow and deliberate, her arms atrophied. She is self-sufficient, but is bound by
a wheelchair and crutches for very short distances.
She became Florida's first beneficiary of the TrailRider, described by Melissa Aldridge of the Florida Trail Association as a cross between a lawn chair and a wheelbarrow. A TrailRider can go where it's unthinkable to
even consider a wheelchair, which, Bennett pointed out, "is not designed to four-wheel."
I was hooked on this story since January 6 when an email from Aldridge had a subject line of Disabled
Access jumped out from my laptop screen and her basic message screamed, "I should be getting the first
TrailRider in the state of FL this month if all goes well. That is a sweet little device to get quadriplegics and
other disabled folks into the woods and wilderness areas." Understand that Aldridge spent one year of her
personal time to get it here. The arrival of the TrailRider last week was cause for celebration. "It's arrival...
it was huge!" she said. and The Ledger got the first look and I became Aldridge's first
sherpa guinea pig during our visit to Circle B Bar Reserve.
Aldridge couldn't wait to get me in the vehicle for a trial ride before Bennett, actual rider, took the seat. I
climbed in, strapped down my legs and held on while she and husband, Jim, pulled me around the parking lot and part of a trail. It was a very comfortable ride, even over parking bumps. The thick foam pads
and stable arm rests kept me firmly in place while allowing for a cushy ride. While we were out with Bennett, Jim
and Melissa took her over a large tree that was down. The
pudgy pneumatic tire had no trouble going over the largest
part of the trunk.
I kept watching Bennett's expression as they moved the
TrailRider along the groomed trails at a snappy pace. At
one point I looked over at Bennett and she reminded me
of a kid just getting her first ride on a go-cart, a broad
smile stretched across her face, neck forward, as a slight
breeze blew her silver hair back. Put the look together and
you would have thought she was bombing downhill in the
Soap Box Derby.
It's that very expression that is the telltale sign of the TrailRider's worth, the psychological benefit of being
able to get off-road and breathe fresh air, breaking the routine of living life "safely" and in the same conditions.
Melissa understands its benefit very well. Back in 2005 she suffered a spinal cord injury. She thought she was
done with all of her favorite activities.
While she was rehabbing herself, she scoured the Internet – for four years, she emphasizes – and one Google
search finally helped her stumble upon a solution.
"Eureka, they did it!" she recalls shouting, "Sam Sullivan did
it! He solved the problem. He simply designed it looking at
a deck chair on a pool deck one day; scribbled it out on a
cocktail napkin. He cross-bred a bicycle and a wheelbarrow
and here we have it!" Sullivan, the co-inventor of the TrailRider, is a quadriplegic.
About a half mile in to the trail, and after Bennett stops to
watch a blue heron just a few feet off the trail, it was my
turn to become a sherpa for Bennett. Jim and I worked
instantly in tandem without pulling and tugging against
one another. For a one-wheeled unit, it wasn't as unwieldy
and difficult to balance as I expected. In fact, the unit was
almost effortless with two people and it was quite nimble.
Jim was wearing leather gloves and in charge of braking,
if necessary. The light metal frame weighed in around 50
pounds and was outfitted with some user-replaceable parts
like the wheel and the Avid disc brake system found on
many mountain bikes. For the record, my Cannondale still
uses old-fashioned V-brakes and rim pads.
I had the front of the TrailRider for the rest of the 1.5-mile
jaunt, passing by friendly and curious hikers craning to get
a good look at what I think of as a wilderness rickshaw. My
arms, back and neck weren't in the least bit strained. Bennett, of course, hated for it to come to an end.
"It was amazing," she exclaimed, "so uplifting!"
As for Aldridge, this is just the beginning. Now she wants to
get everyone on board with her program, a vision of having a network of sherpa volunteers and more TrailRiders in
order to get more people out in the wilderness.
"We'll now be able to host a disabled person on all of our
hikes," she beams. "Hopefully, then, we'll eventually get
this established statewide where the entire Florida Trail Association will be a disabled-accessible hiking organization."
The Footprint Magazine
Submission Guidelines
Without the help of FTA members and volunteers, there is no magazine. We strongly encourage your submission of photos and content
for every issue.
Photos: We are looking for high resolution
(300dpi) photos for publication. Make sure
that if they are photos of people that they have
signed the necessary photo release. We are
always looking for cover photos, which need to
be vertical format and at least 300dpi.
Pictures can include:
People hiking on the trail
Trail maintenance and work hikes
Different trails, signs and blazes
Flora and Fauna
Articles: We hope for contributions from the
various chapters highlighting events and accomplishments, especially those that involve
new groups and outreach opportunities. We
also look for unique hiking stories from members, and articles regarding anything that
pertains to hiking and camping (trail recipes,
hiking and safety tips). If you submit a story,
please make sure to include photos that you
would like to go with it. Word count can be
anywhere from 400 to 900 words, depending
on photos and page length.
Please do not embed photos within a document, but instead send them in as an attachment.
Please send all submissions to
[email protected]
The deadline for the fall issue of The
Footprint is August 1, 2013.
Chapter Spotlight
North Florida Trailblazers
Counties: Baker, Bradford, Clay,
Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and
Union counties
Sections of trail they maintain:
From Etoniah Creek State Forest west to the city of White
Interview with Cary Beurshausen, Bill Gentry, Janie Hamilton
and Leslie Wheeler.
FTA: Trailblazers seems to have undergone a
rejuvenation in membersip and leadership. To
what do you attribute this success?
TB: Meetup is probably responsible for bringing more people out to our events. And not
just fun hikes, but trail maintenance as well. It
was slow getting started - we’ve been using it
for over 3 years now - so other chapters just
getting started should realize it takes a while
to really gain momentum. Meetup certainly
has been a huge driving factor in getting interest up. So we have a bunch of new people, so
we can do more activities in more areas which
brings in more people. Also, Jacksonville has
really grown recently and we’re getting a lot
of transplants coming out - hikers who have
moved here from other parts of the country
and are looking for hiking groups.
FTA: Of course it’s always a challenge turning
Meetup membership into FTA membership.
How are you doing that?
TB: The way we sell FTA at events, meetings
& on the trail itself, I think we’ve gotten better
at promoting ourselves. We always start every activity by talking about FTA and handing
out brochures, but it’s the personal chats that
you have with people while you’re hiking or
working that make the diffference. And now
we’re seeing many of the relatively new folks,
who are not yet ready to be Activity Leaders,
but who are really helping out by
being our promoters on activities - talking with the new people
FTA: Has this translated to maintenance activities as well as hikes?
TB: Oh yes, we’re having record
numbers of people showing up.
Again I think it comes down to
selling it. They’re work hikes, but we have fun too.
You get those informal advertising avenues going. The
work hikes actually give us more exposure than the
other hikes. The people who are working - trimming,
blazing, mowing - feel like they are actually doing
something for the FT. You have the opportunity to talk
to people more working in small groups and they feel
good about what they’ve done. And they go back and
tell other new people about how much fun they had.
weekend only for Activity Leaders. Just a nice little way of saying thank you for all their hard work. And
we’re doing a joint hike with the Native Plant Society for their Annual Festival - with people from all over the
FTA: How about your relationship with your land managers
for trail maintenance?
TB: The only relationship we really need to tweak is Plum
Creek Timberlands on the Lake Butler Forest. Our relationship with the Osceola National Forest is good. Allison Williams, their SCA outreach intern, has become an FTA Activity
Leader. Gold Head has been wonderful to work with on
trails. The manager - Kevin Patton - views the FNST through
his park as it’s biggest asset. Natural Resources personnel
at Camp Blanding (Florida National Guard) actually came to
us with some suggested relocations when the FAA closed
down the Keystone Airpark section. Blanding wants our trail
there because it supports their mission of outreach to the
FTA: Any final words about recruiting and involving new members?
TB: Be open to new people. People have a wide range of interests, so the way to get new people in is to
provide a wide range of activities - Christmas campouts, day hikes, backpacking trips, beach walks, maintenance hikes - advertised through a wide variety of media - Facebook, Meetup, websites, newspapers, notices
on trail kiosks, anyplace you can think of. Then when they show up, your job is only half done. Then - be
nice to them and really sell them on the value of joining and supporting FTA.
Also, it’s good when these new people on an activity
go back to Meetup and give the activity a good review.
That motivates the other new people to come out better than if we old-timers had posted anything.
FTA: What are some of the notable activities your
Chapter has done in the last couple of year?
TB: For several years we have organized the IDidAHike. It’s a one-day hike of about 15 miles that draws
in more people every year and has been a nice fundraiser for both the chapter and FTA. We did it locally
last year (near Keystone Heights) and advertised it a
lot locally. A local church loaned us buses and a lot
of their people became interested and came - just to
support us. But we did pick up some new members
from that. So we will do it again next year - along the
Suwannee River. We have people from all over Florida
and Georgia who come to the IDidAHike.
This past fall we hosted the North Regional Conference
and felt we couldn’t do it and the IDidAHike the same
year. That took a lot of work but it was very rewarding
and I think those who attended had a great time.
Then Alton & Paula Snellgrove are hosting a special
TravelCountry staff members Brian and “Krispy Kritter” are
avid hikers and backpackers. At TravelCountry, we don’t
just talk the talk, we walk the walk!
407.831.0777 ~1101 E Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL
15% OFF
Present this ad to receive 15% off any regularly
priced purchase or use promo code “FTA” online.
An Epic Trek around Robert’s Lake
from Gator Hook to Oasis
Article & photos by Chrisopher Boykin,
FTA Southeast Regional Coordinator, [email protected]
I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t been overly excited about each and every hike that I’ve led and coled over the past four months. However, this hike in particular really had my adventurous spirit soaring – it was
hard to sleep the night before. Most of our hikes our out and back, which is great, because you get to see your
favorite trees from different angles and nothing is ever the same. The light and clouds are always changing.
I’ve considered myself a lover of south Florida wildlands for
many years, but it was only recently that I stumbled upon magical edens like Deep Lake, Robert’s Lake Strand and a secret
place I call “ghost orchid alley” that has elevated my love affair
with finding remote places like this within Big Cypress National
Preserve (BICY) into an obsession. Robert’s Lake, the focus of
this story, is actually three lakes within Robert’s Lake Strand
and located roughly 3-miles south of US 41 and the Big Cypress
Oasis Visitor Center (OVC). None of the lakes are on the Florida
Trail, but rather a quarter to half mile off the trail.
Most of you are aware the southern terminus of the FT was
moved from Loop Road to the OVC for logistical reasons like
parking and restrooms. Robert’s Lake Strand lies within this
seven mile “loop section” (the old terminus), which is known for
its high water, deep mud and rugged beauty. The trail essentially
runs due north from Loop Rd to US 41.
Five miles to the east of Robert’s Lake is the western portion of Loop Rd (near Monroe Station). It is here that
BICY maintains the “Gator Hook Trail (GHT)”, which runs 3-miles east. Beyond GHT, there is no trail for the
remaining 3-miles to Robert’s Lake. However, we were told it was possible to find the remnants of a very overgrown logging road to “pick up” those three “off trail” miles and reach the lake.
Nina Dupuy of the Big Cypress Chapter of the FTA was co-leading this trip with me and very amenable to trying this route with a group of hikers. We warned everyone that this was an “exploratory hike” where we would
possibly be lost for a brief period and a long day with some bushwhacking, but that the beauty would be well
worth the effort. Nine willing souls agreed to join us for this hike, which I coined “The Real Muddy Buddy” and
we took great care to ensure that only hikers that had been in “the Loop” portion with us before could join.
Most of the participants were adventure racers, triathletes and naturalists and EVERYONE was up for going
“off trail” for three miles and possibly getting lost while “finding ourselves in nature”. We met at 7:45 am at the
OVC and then carpooled in three cars to the GHT where we started the 9-mile journey.
Along the GHT, we saw several beautiful orchid and bromeliad species, as well as a cottonmouth water moccasin (the seemingly most common snake within Big Cypress), as well as a great crested flycatcher, a white eyed
vireo and we found a nice skull from a one of three great blue
herons, that Nina assumed a stealthy bobcat had eaten. The
GHT was surprisingly shady, though it did feel like 96 degrees
in the shade with our sub-tropical humidity that the orchids
and bromeliads we came hoping to see thrive in.
Once the GHT ended, we were surprised to find flagging and
a less traveled trail that continued east past some limestone
holes/semi caves, an old lightning whelk shell that was clearly
a tool used by local Indians, the shell of peninsular or red-bellied cooter, the shell of striped mud turtle, a cute little squirrel
tree frog that some folks have trouble distinguishing from a
juvenile green tree frog, as well as a white-eyed vireo nest at
our lunch spot! Such a dainty and perfect nest and everyone
was ready for lunch. We had heard that Big Cypress wanted to connect the GHT to the FT by Robert’s
Lake Strand and apparently someone has been doing a little flagging to start this process.
The old tram road proved to be easy to lose and there was more than one occasion when Nina was studying her GPS and I my favorite new app called Topo Maps (see attached screen shot) while pointing in opposing directions (just kidding, they were similar). They
both have varying degrees of accuracy, but we certainly
all did a little victory dance when we got a glimpse of the
FT’s orange blazes near Roberts Lake. The quarter mile
journey to the edge of the lake gets wetter and narrower
and grows lusher with each step. A sort of sacred hush
fell over everyone as we inched closer to the lake’s edge
in wonder and amazement amidst the strap ferns, cardinal bromeliads, pickerel weed, pond apples, pop ashes &
cypress trees. We took in the beauty of the lake, counted
umpteen gators, filtered water with a Katadyn Base
Camp gravity filter and then proceeded to circumnavigate
the huge lake under the canopy of ancient cypress and
other-worldly pond apple and pop ash trees laden with
resurrection fern. I was confident that Gandolph or a random hobbit might appear from behind a tree at any moment. Exploring the perimeter of Robert’s Lake and wading in pond apple bogs was certainly the highlight
of the trip for everyone.
Roughly an hour later, we were back on the FT and had an easy jaunt back to our cars at the OVC. In the
wet season nothing is easy about hiking the loop section south of 41, but we hit it just right and trail was
bone dry. If it weren’t for wandering around the edge of Roberts Lake, our adventurous hikers would’ve
never even have dipped a toe. It was a magical day with a wonderful group and I hope some of you will
join us in Big Cypress National Preserve when visiting south Florida.
Take a look at our post-conference video at
Apalachee Chapter...
celebrated our 30-year anniversary. At grand events
and in small moments we were reminded of our Chapter’s gifts of Trail and the great outdoors to those who
love natural Florida. Anniversary logo mementos--tshirts, coffee cups and more--flew off the shelves.
A very special event was the Apalachee Transit: a backpacking trip covering 135 miles of the Chapter’s FNST
through the Apalachicola National Forest, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and Aucilla Sinks & River section.
The Trail received some extra-special maintenance in
preparation for the Transit and for the season’s dayand thru- hikers. New activities--like “Lite and Fast”
power hikes, “Under-40” hikes, and more--expanded
what we offer to members and the public. It was a
very good year.
Choctawhatchee Chapter...
membership is continuing to grow, to the extent that
we have had to move to a larger facility to accommodate our numbers. We now meet at the Rocky
Bayou Country Club in Niceville. We are getting a large
number of participants at our activities... This is a good
problem. We are formulating a plan to accommodate
the larger attendance.
We completed our annual maintenance cycle on 76
miles of the FNST by the end of December, 2012. We
are working with Eglin AFB to build a new Demon
Bridge across Alaqua Creek.
We have initiated mid-week hikes on the FT and are
having a good response. We also initiated shorter
hikes/cook-outs for children, in partnership with E.O.
Wilson Biophilia Center.
Highlanders Chapter...
had a busy trail maintenance season with 13 Chapter
work hikes and 13 other maintenance events adding up
to about 1300 volunteer hours and over 10,000 miles
of travel.
Highlights include re-routes of trail segments in Royal
Trails and Seminole State Forest to take the trail off
roads and into newly-acquired public land. The Seminole SF project was a combined Boy Scouts of America
and FTA project.
Central Florida
hosted the second annual
CCC (Central Chapter
Crew) Project in April.
There were twenty volunteers who participated to
complete eight trail projects during a 3-day weekend.
The goal, as always, is to make the trails safer for hikers and to improve the hiking experience and opportunities in Central Florida.
The projects this year included: adding a step at the
end of a bridge where erosion had created a hazard,
moving the trail to the other side of a fire road as
requested by the Florida Forest Service, rerouting a
short section away from bike trails, stabilizing a bridge
and adding mesh on the approach ramps, extending two boardwalks, & building a new boardwalk on a
new section of trail.
Tropical Trekkers Chapter...
is still working with the USDA Forest Service on
the new route moving the FNST to the east side
of the Kissimmee River. Chapter members have
been meeting with land managers and the Forest
Service. Lori Burris led a backpacking 101 trip on the new
trail at Starvation Slough.
The Trekkers offered three FNST backpacking
trips this year. The first was a November hike from
Christmas to Cassia – approximately 70 miles. The
second was December 27 to Jan. 4, a hike from
Kicco to Christmas over 9 days and 100 miles. The
third was Loop Road to I-75, 37 miles over 3 days. Also, we started using Meetup this year in an attempt to increase membership.
Most of the chapter’s routine trail maintenance is
completed in the fall with twenty work days scheduled on Wednesdays. In the spring the crew tackles
special projects.
Halifax - St Johns Chapter...
called a series of early season work days to get our
section of the Western Connector done last fall for the
Western Corridor Hike Series that started in December. These hikes were 11.7 miles each day -- more
than many could comfortably hike. We decided that we
would hold a series of hikes later when we could enjoy
hiking the trail at our own pace. In February Dick Schuler made up posters advertising the hikes and put them out around the forest. In
March we held our own four-day series of hikes. What
a treat to enjoy the trail in all of its spring beauty. And it was gratifying to have hikers from Salt Springs
and Fore Lake join us. We plan to try a series of hikes
again next year. The Contemporary Sportsman
The Contemporary Wingshooter
Local Chapters
FLorida Trail Association
Florida Trail Association
5415 SW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32608
[email protected]
Carlos Schomaker, President
Tom Daniel, VP Trails
Holly Parker, VP Outreach/Development
Leslie Wheeler, Secretary
Pam Hale, Treasurer
Eve Barbour
Chuck Barrowclough
David Denham
Fred Goldstein
James Powell
877-HIKE-FLA or 352-378-8823
Janet Akerson, Administrative Director
Deb Blick, Trail Resource Coordinator
Diane Strong, Administrative
Eric Mason, Trail Program Director
Megan Donoghue,
Volunteer Program Coordinator
Deb Blick
Deb Blick, Editor
Rob Smith, Jr, Cartoonist
Contributors retain copyright to their
work. Articles are subject to editing
for clarity and space. Materials will be
returned if accompanied by a selfaddressed stamped envelope. Opinions,
observations, and endorsements made
within the Florida Trail Footprint do not
necessarily reflect those of the board or
staff of the Florida Trail Association.
Summer 2013
Volume 30, Issue 3
1983 - 2013
Celebrating 30 years of a proud partnership in the National Trails System
with the USDA Forest Service.
The Footprint (ISSN 1064-0681) is published
quarterly (December, March, July, September) by the Florida Trail Association, 5415
SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608, 352-3788823. Bulk rate postage paid at Gainesville,
Postmaster: Send change-of-address form
3597 to Footprint, 5415 SW 13th St,
Gainesville, FL 32608.
© 2013, Florida Trail Association
All rights reserved.
The Footprint is printed with
soy-based inks on paper with
post-consumer content
Deadline for the Fall issue of The
Footprint is August 1, 2013.
Deadline for chapter activities to appear in the electronic version of the
Fall issue of The Footprint is August
15, 2013.
The Footprint is published by the
Florida Trail Association, a volunteerbased nonprofit organization focused
on Florida hiking and trail building.
Since 1966, the primary mission of our
organization has been the care and
protection of the Florida Trail, a 1,400mile footpath across the Sunshine State
- Florida’s own National Scenic Trail. The
Florida Trail Association also publishes
maps and guidebooks to assist hikers in enjoying this public recreational
To provide outreach to our readers
through informative articles that express
appreciation for and conservation of
the natural beauty of Florida; to inform
our readers of Florida Trail Association
business; and to provide information on
Florida hiking and outdoor recreation
Contributors are welcome to submit
items for our various departments as
well as trail and association-related
news. Please contact the editor at
[email protected] to
discuss ideas for feature stories prior to
If you’re not already a member, join
now. As a Florida Trail member, you
receive a subscription to The Footprint magazine, membership in a local
chapter, a local newsletter with local
activities, opportunities for outdoor skills
training, participation in regional and
annual conferences and more. Commercial and Alliance memberships and
event sponsorship opportunities are also
available. Call toll-free 877-HIKE-FLA for
more information.
Reach a highly targeted demographic of
Florida outdoor enthusiasts by advertising with us or becoming a regular
sponsor. Your advertising dollars directly
support production and publication of
this magazine and assist the Florida
Trail Association in fulfilling its mission.
Call 877-HIKE-FLA or email [email protected] for more details.
Halifax-St. Johns
Linda Taylor [email protected]
for meeting time and place
Happy Hoofers
2nd Thu 7:30 PM, Fern
Forest Nature Center,
201 Lyons Rd,
Coconut Creek
Alligator Amblers
3rd Thu 7 PM at Bass Pro Shop, Gulf
Coast Mall, Alico Rd.
Sub Chapter
Fisheating Creek
2nd Tue Sept-May
270 Avenue L,
Moore Haven, FL
Florida Crackers
3rd Thurs. at 6:30 pm
Gainesville: Brasington Adventure
Ocala: Marion Cnty Growth Management Training RM
Central Florida
2nd Thu 7 PM, Camilla Rm,
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Tropical Trekkers
2nd Mon 7 PM, Palm City Recreation
Center, Martin
Downs Blvd & Cornell Ave
1st Monday 6:30 PM,
Palms Conf. Center,
9129 Front Beach Rd.
2nd Tues 7 PM, US Forest
Service Conference Rm
325 John Knox Rd
3rd Sat of odd months. See website
1st Mon 7 PM, Okeeheelee Nature Center, Okeeheelee Park, Forest Hill Blvd
Western Gate
3rd Thu 6:30 PM, First
Christian Church,
Langley & Goodrich
Florida Trail activities are organized by our local chapters
and led by authorized volunteer
activity leaders throughout the
state. They can be found online
under Activities>Find an Activity
at and on
our local chapter websites. Participants in activities must sign
an Assumption of Risk form and
agree to accept personal responsibility for their safety and the
safety of accompanying minors.
Always contact the activity leader
in advance for more information,
to let them know you are attending, and to find out any special
requirements for the trip.
North Florida
See website for meetings
See website for meetings
4th Thu 6:00 PM, Leesburg Public
Library, 100 E Main
2nd Mon 7 PM, Suwannee River Water
Management District Office,
CR 49 & US 90
Indian River 1st Mon
6:30 PM,
Melbourne Public Library,
Fee Ave
Big Cypress
2nd Tue (except June-Aug) 7:30 PM,
Jabez Center,
12118 SW 114 Place
4th Tue 6:30 PM at Ed’s Hometown
Seafood & Steak Restaurant, 1027
John Sims Pkwy
FTA Chapters
Welcome New Members
Fisheating Creek Outpost
Don Adams
George Aguilera
Alex Agurcia
Darlene Altman
Carlo Amalfitano
Martin Ander
Jason and Holly Andreotta
Carl and Anne Angstrom
Alma Armendariz
Ken Armstrong and Erin
William Arney
Mark Babcock
Nadine Bacon
Melissa Bailey
Danilo Balladares
Helder Balladares
William and Maureen Barbuto
Jeromee and Janet Beaudette
Jacqui Beekwith
Jennifer Beerli
Lauren Benitez
Kathleen Benson
Mike and Karin Besser
Lyn Bevis
Swami Bhariti
Linda Billups
M. Bisplinghoff
Elaine Blaylock
Karen Bledsoe
Carrie Boudreau
Christopher Boykin
Linda Bradbury-Givens
Paul Brannon
Arlie Brashear and Brashear
Katie Brattebo
Kevin Brewer
Linda Brewington
Pike Briggs
Jeanine Brown
Patricia Brown
Wendy Buckingham
Sue Bunge
Ray and Mary Jo Burdett
Vernon Burkhart
Charles Burnette
Jessica Cabral
Vaudeen Cagnina
Joseph Campfield
Luis Camps
Matthew Casella
Eve Cater
Joanne Cave
Debra Chadwell
Charles Chandler
Debbie Chapman
Jen Chenden and Andrei
Skip Clark
Joseph Claxton
Dale Colby
Nancy Colesi
Diane Collar
Laurie Contratto
Carol Coyne
Troy Craig
Cesar Cruz
Rachel Damiani
Esteban de la Ossa
Kristine and Allen de
Nora Denslow
Jim and Lynn Derck
Mike Dewitt
David Diez Ortiz
Susan Ecenia
Nicholas Espinosa
Dale and William Fairbanks
James Farber
Jimmy Farrar
Vinson Faulkner
Carmen Fermin
Marion Feusner
Kevin Fitzmaurice
Doug Foster
Alexis Foxx
Peter Frezza
Becky Fromm
Katalin Fulop
Elsa Gagnon
Sandra Galang
Nick Garcia
Mary Gauden
Colette Gay
William and Jonathan Gecks
Joseph Gentile
David Gentry
Christopher George
Ruth Gibson
Phillip Gillette
Chris Glass
Brian Goray
Adria Gosney
Kelly Gracie
Andrea Grasso
Lenora Grubb
Susan Hanlon
Leah Harman
James Harper and Yolandre
David Harris
Dan and Bonnie Hartke
Teresa Hayes
Robert and Eleanor Hein
Lisa Heintzleman
Christiane Hermie
Christopher Hernandez
Janet Hildebrand
Karen Hill and Karen Hill
Andres Hincapie
David Hirst
Thom and Patty Holloway
Micheal Hosvath
Tracy Hyde
Rowena Iliescu
Jimmie Jarratt
Julio Jemenez
Suzanne Jepson
John and Patricia Joyce
Cia Kaack
Tom Kaltenbach
Jocelyn Karazsia
Dylan Keeeler
Judy Keppeler
Carol Kirk
Alan Klompus
Mike Knox
Robert Lakin
John Lamanna
Jeff Landau
Debra Landre
Michael Lang
Richard LeBow and Fran
Everett LeClaire
Debbie Leiter
Linda Leon
Fredda Levenson
Welcome New Members
Karen and Gordon Lindenberger
Sharon Lindgren
Lawrence Lokken
Mario Longono
William Lovett
John and Beate Lutkenhouse
Scott Lynch
Mark Macbeth
Paul Madeira
Aaran Maharaj
Maura Malloy
David Maltby
Chiara Manton
Melissa Marchetti
Heath Martin
Kathleen Martins
Sarah Martins
Casey Mason
Patricia Matadobra
Alvin Matium
David Mazorra
Dave and Jackie McCullen
Sam McLean
Janet Miller
Michael Miller
Rich Miller
Mike Moore
Woody Morgan
Deanna and John Morris
Jacki Morris
Gregory Moyer and Rich
Brian Mulcare
Tracy Munson
Tina Murphy
Arathi Nandyala
John Nienstedt
Christopher Norris
Sean and Molly Novosad
Dana O’Brien
Manuel Ortiz
Deborah Osmond-Frankel
Tobias Packer
Christina Page
Tom Page
Helen Palacios
Charles Palmer
Jeanette and Larry Pardo
Pamela Paris
Jim and Patty Passolt
Anish Patel
Joy Payton
Michael and Lori Peel
Edward Perry
Laurie Peterson
Kathy and Frank Pierce
Kimberly Pigott
Jill Piltz
Madeleine Pinaire
Roger Pinholster
William Piriczky
Stratton Pollitzer
Logan Porter
Rhonda Powell
Marjorie Pugh
Gina Reed
Candace Register
Taylor Reid
Virginia Rentz
Sebastian Ricaurte
Yarrow Ries
Marsheila and Chris Riggs
Edward Ritter
Tavia Robb
Fredericka Robbins
Rick Robbins
Kirsti Roehm
Rhonda Roff
Brian Rogers
Kathleen Rogers
Mary Rose
Daniel Ross
Dan and Lisa Rothen
Douglas Rowlett and JoAnn
Ivan Ruiz
Deborah Rulkowski
Anne Ruskin
Cindy Russell
Meredith Rust
Amel Saied
Dana Sanchez
Linda Sanderson
Dan Schupka
Sylvia Severdija
Rosemarie and Maury Shor
Vickie Siegel
John Simpson
Chris Simser
Jeanette and Dennis Skelly
Alisha Smith
Erin and Matthew Smith
Susan Smith
Tammy Smith
Ray Sotomayor
Joseph Spooner
Tanya Staats
Eric Stillson
Pauline Strauss
Diane and Chuck Strong
Randy and Mimi Swaringen
Pamela Sweeney
Trace Talley
William Tarbell
Debra Taylor and Andy
Stephen F Theberge Jr and
Lisa Rahn
Geoffrey Thomas
Gerald Timoney
Katharine Tzadik
Andrew Van Heden and
Waylon Reynolds
Elizabeth Vanderpool
Catherine Vayias
Karl Von Der Heydt and
Carolyn Van Der Heydt
Ryan VonBargen
Lexana Vrieswijk
Kevin and Amanda Wagner
Steven Waldman
Steve Waldo and Steve
Waldo - Family
Mike Walls
Julie Wammack
Scott Weaver
David Whalley and Theresa
Charles Wilde
Elizabeth Williams
Michael Williams and Rodney White
Angela and Patrick Winternheimer
Martha Wiswell
Joanna Wright
Dennis R Wyant and Jane E
Joe Wyatt
Marc and Helen Yacht
Dennis Ziosel
a special thanks to
our generous donors
February 2013 tHru April 2013
ORDER BY FAX 352-378-4550
Name ___________________________________________________ Daytime Phone Number ______________
Address _________________________________________________ Email ____________________________
City ____________________________________________________ State _______ Zip __________________
Provides funds to ensure a
steady income stream for
Florida Trail Association
operations. It’s how we keep
the lights on and the Footprint
Donations of $1000 & Above
Eve Barbour
Diane Haines
Carlos Schomaker
Debra Lawrence
Please mark one of the boxes below if you are joining or
newing your membership in the Florida Trail Association
Name _____________________________________
$35 Individual
$50 Family*
$125 Sustaining*
$250 Supporting*
$1000 Individual Life
$1500 Family Life*
$30 Senior (65+) or Student (18-23)
$45 Senior (65+) or Student (18-23) Family
Address ___________________________________
City ______________________________________
*Includes spouse and children under 18.
I do not want my address shared with FTA-affiliated organizations
Donations of $100 to $999
Richard Beilock
Fred Davis
Rik Edmonds and Junia Mason
Joseph and Pamela Hale
Heartland Chapter
Microsoft Matching
William Piriczky
Ronald Spitznagel
Richard Ward
Jean Williamson and John Koval
Provides an ongoing
endowment to the
Florida Trail Association
from interest earnings.
It is the gift that keeps
on giving.
Donations of $5 to $99
Active Network
Robert and Doris Adams
Carla and Brian Akers
Charles Auer
Rachael and Louis Augspurg
Michael Beach
Karen Bledsoe
Sarah Ann Bowditch and Larry
Maria Boyd
Paul Brannon
John and Antionette Brolmann
Michael Campbell
Ken Castner
Marcie Clutter
Combined Fed Campaign
Douglas Dankel II
John and Alice Deagan
Winchester and Chrisoula Dermody
Tonita Disch
Ingrid Dow
Brian Goray
Michael and Jillian Harker
Christiane Hermie
Joan Walker Elementary
Richard and Florence Jurczik
Rose and Jim Kellermann
James Kern
John Koons
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Donald and Gloria Neale
George Owen
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Janice Scroggie-Anderson
Vickie Siegel
Noelle Silk
Alberta Smith
Joseph Spooner
John Terry
Larry Timmons
Margaret Towe
Helen Wigersma
Craig Wood
Alligator Bob Young
Norma and Jay Zeman
Supports land acquisition and
trail construction
projects with the ultimate
goal of protecting the trail
corridor and completing the
entire Florida Trail. Independently funds programs
like F-Troop, trail crews,
and outreach to implement
programs wherever they are
needed within the Florida
Trail System.
State _____________ Zip _____________________
Employer/Occupation ___________________________
Daytime Phone Number _______________________
Spouse/Occupation _____________________________
Email _____________________________________
Number of children _____________________________
Ship membership package to
New Member
I learned about the Florida Trail from _____________________________________________________________
I am making a gift to the Florida Trail Association and want my gift designated to:
Annual Fund
Please send a gift membership to:
My gift is
Endowment Fund
Trail Protection Fund
Map Fund
In Memory of _____________________________ In Honor of ______________________________
MEMBERSHIP TOTAL _______________
GIFT TOTAL _______________
5415 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608
TOTAL _______________
CHECK: Make checks payable to “Florida Trail Association”.
American Express
Credit Card
Number:____________________________________________________________ Exp. Date: _____________
Signature: ________________________________________ Security Code (3 or 4 digits): ________
Provides funding for
updating the Florida Trail’s
maps and databook.
To order merchandise from the Florida Trail General Store, visit
or call the Florida Trail office at 1-877-HIKE-FLA.
Florida Trail Association
5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville FL 32608
Nonprofit Organization
Permit No. 702
Gainesville, FL
Dates to Remember!
Summer Board Meeting 06/15/2013
Fall Board Meeting 09/15/2013
Trail Committee Mtg 09/16/2013
North Regional Conference 10/26/2013
Panhandle Regional Conference
South Regional Conference 11/15-17/2013
Allison Williams
Unless specifically noted, all FTA activities are open to the general public. Always contact the Activity Leader
to sign up in case of last minute changes. The FTA office had no detailed information on Chapter activities,
please contact the Activity Leader directly for more info.
Alligator Amblers Chapter
Trip to Venice Beach
Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Venice Beach - call for exact location
Description: Meet at 4pm to stroll on the beach looking for shark's teeth, swim, perhaps dinner afterward.
Full moon will rise this night (if we stay long enough). Limit: 10 people. Difficulty: leisure.
Activity Leader: Bonnie McLaughlin 239-765-5450
Kayak and snorkel trip
Date: June 29-30, 2013
Location: John Pennekemp State Park, Key Largo, FL
Description: Kayak the crystal clear water of the mangrove channels within the park and see fish, shells and
seabirds. Stop for lunch around noon and board the snorkel boat trip for a wonderful trip to the reefs and see
beautiful tropical fish, sea fans, etc. Spend the night optional.
Activity Leader: Brenda Carneri 239-594-0401 [email protected]
Tubing on Ichetucknee Spring
Date: July 13-14, 2013
Location: Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Ft White, FL
Description: Enjoy local attractions in Gainesville,Fl Natural History Museum, Devil's Millhopper etc. Then
tube the Ichetucknee Sunday morning 4 hrs. Entrance fee to park $5 per car- tubes $10. Limit: 10 people
Activity Leader: Bonnie McLaughlin 239-765-5450
Rainbow Spring Tubing
Date: August 10-11, 2013
Location: Dunnellon, FL (carpool from Ft Myers)
Description: Tube Rainbow River, possible kayak the river, enjoy Rainbow River State Park. Stay at Econo
Lodge $68.39 per night. Call for further information.
Activity Leader: Bonnie McLaughlin 239-765-5450
Fun at the Beach!
Date: August 24, 2013
Location: Delnor- Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Fl
Description: Day at the beach(bring lunch and plenty to drink). Swim, snorkel offshore reef look for shells.
Cost $6 per car $4 for additional people. Difficulty: Leisure. Limit: 10 people.
Activity Leader: Bonnie McLaughlin 239-765-5450
Guided Tour at Historic Spanish Point
Date: September 14, 2013
Location: 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL
Description: Meet at 10:30am - Admission fee - $12 adults, $10 seniors. View video of Mrs. Palmer's 1901
estate and cattle industry, tour botanical gardens, citrus pacing room and sunken garden. Optional visit to
Oscar Scherer State park for walking/biking on a shaded trail. Difficulty: Leisure. RSVP. Limit: 10 people.
Activity Leader: JoAnn Luce 239-495-7644 [email protected]
Apalachee Chapter
Ft Braden Interpretive Hike
Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Ft Braden Tract
Description: This annual hike will be lead by Senior Forester Tom Gilpin. We will walk the trail during the
cooler morning hours and learn about resource management objectives of Lake Talquin State Forest. Wear
sturdy walking shoes, dress for the weather, bring bug spray, water and any personal items like medications.
While the hike is leisurely and will be over about noon, there is uneven ground and some slopes to navigate.
Meet at 8:15 a.m. at the trailhead which is on Blountstown Hwy (SR 20) about one mile west of Coe Landing
Rd. Entrance sign is on the right (north) side of the road. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Howard Pardue 850-386-1494 [email protected]
Paddle Spring Creek-Chipola
Date: June 22, 2013 Saturday P/L
Name: Paddling Spring Creek-Chipola
Description: We’ll put in at the dam and enjoy a leisurely paddle down the mostly canopied Spring Creek.
We’ll stop near the confluence with the Chipola River for snacks and cooling swim. Join us for lunch afterwards in Marianna. No limit. Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Gwen Beatty (850) 539-6027
Apalachee Chapter Meeting
Date: July 9, 2013
Location: Early Learning Coalition Training Room at Northwood Centre, Tallahassee
Description: “Harley Means, Sinkholes in Florida.” Media attention was recently focused on a tragic event
that happened near Brandon, Florida. A person lost his life during a catastrophic collapse of his home into a
sinkhole. Sinkholes are part of Florida’s landscape. Why do sinkholes occur in Florida? How many are
there? Can a sinkhole occur under my home? What happens if I have a sinkhole on my property? These
questions and more will be addressed as we discuss sinkholes in Florida. Public Welcome. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Linda Patton 850-668-4334
Overstreet Hike, Swim and BBQ
Date: July 13, 2013
Location: Maclay Gardens State Park
Description: Carpool at 8:30 a.m. into park from nearby location to save on admission fee ($6 per car for up
to 8 people); deposit coolers, picnic baskets and lawn chairs at selected Lake Hall picnic site near swimming
area and then drive short distance to hike 5 miles around Lake Overstreet Trail, stopping after a couple miles
for snack before returning to picnic site. Light charcoal, jump in lake to cool off while fire heats up
(bathhouse has changing rooms); then cook and eat. Bring own meat to cook and drinks, and dish to share
(will have signup sheet). After eating, folks can linger and swim more or walk through the formal gardens.
Limit 25. Contact leader to sign up and for details.
Activity Leader: Wendy Dial (941) 320-8470 [email protected]
Wednesday Walkabout
Date: July 17, 2013
Location: Edenfield Trailhead, Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
Description: Get together in the early evening to eliminate stress, burn fat, meet folks of similar interest and
just get some exercise! Bring water, energy bar, light trekking or trail running shoes. This is not a trail running group, but we will maintain a minimal power walking pace (approx. 3.5 mph). No limit to number of hikers. Pets (on leash & clean up after them) must maintain group pace. Sign up on Meet-up or call the leader
for any last minute updates or cancellations (due to weather or change in leader schedule. Meet at 5:30 p.m.
for meet & greet--then we hit the trail at 5:45 p.m. (sharp). Meet at the Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
- Edenfield Trailhead parking lot at the Miccosukee Greenway trails (near the intersection of Miccosukee and
Apalachee Chapter (CONTINUED)
Edenfied Road) for a 3-4 mile walk. The parking lot has a bathroom and plenty of room for changing clothes.
Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Dawn Griffin (850) 509-6103 [email protected]
Interpretive Hike at Letchworth-Love Mounds
Date: July 27, 2013
Location: Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park
Description: This state park has Florida’s tallest Native American ceremonial mound, built between one and
two thousand years ago, predating the Lake Jackson Mound. Artifacts from the site span a period of 12
thousand years. The morning hike will be led by Ranger Rob Lacy, who will tell us about the history of the
mounds and the land they sit on. Bring a lunch and after the walk we’ll eat at the picnic pavilion. Entrance
fee is $3 per vehicle (up to 8 occupants), $2 per walk- or bike-in. We will meet outside the Park to car-pool.
LIMIT 20. Difficulty: Moderate. Contact leader to sign up.
Activity Leader: Linda Patton 850-668-4334 [email protected]
Wednesday Walkabout
Date: August 7, 2013
Location: Edenfield Trailhead, Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
Description: Get together in the early evening to eliminate stress, burn fat, meet folks of similar interest and
just get some exercise! Bring water, energy bar, light trekking or trail running shoes. This is not a trail running group, but we will maintain a minimal power walking pace (approx. 3.5 mph). No limit to number of hikers. Pets (on leash & clean up after them) must maintain group pace. Sign up on Meet-up or call the leader
for any last minute updates or cancellations (due to weather or change in leader schedule). Meet at 5:30
p.m. for meet & greet --then we hit the trail at 5:45 p.m. (sharp). . Meet at the Miccosukee Canopy Road
Greenway - Edenfield Trailhead parking lot at the Miccosukee Greenway trails (near the intersection of Miccosukee and Edenfied Road) for a 3-4 mile walk. The parking lot has a bathroom and plenty of room for
changing clothes. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Dawn Griffin 850-509-6103 [email protected]
Day Hike, Picnic and Free Swim
Date: August 10, 2013
Location: Wakulla Springs State Park.
Description: We’ll hike early (up to 6 miles depending on the interests of the group) while it is cool and spend
the rest of the day enjoying the park. Bring water and trail snacks for the hike, something to cook on the
grill and a dish to share if you wish. Don’t forget your suit if you wish to swim. Families and pets welcome
(dogs must be on leash at all times). Fee for admission to the park. Sign up with leader. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Dawn Brown 850-545-0351 [email protected]
Apalachee Chapter Meeting
Date: August 13, 2013
Location: Early Learning Coalition Training Room at Northwood Centre, Tallahassee
Description: “Samantha Sexton, Pew Charitable Trusts.” Discover why Pew Charitable Trusts got involved in
ocean conservation, its efforts to end and prevent overfishing and the campaign's expanded focus to protect
forage species important to a healthy marine food web. Samantha will share ways FTA members can get involved.
Activity Leader: Linda Patton 850-668-4334.
Slave Canal Float Trip
Date: August 17, 2013
Location: Aucilla WMA
Description: Canoe or Kayak the Slave Canal beginning at Goose Pasture (Wacissa River) and ending at Nutall
Rise (Aucilla River). Several snags that require pull-overs are likely on the Canal, depending on water levels.
Severe storm events often result in many more trees blocking the channel. Be prepared to carry your boat
over many fallen trees in the water. This is an adventure you will not soon forget! Difficulty: Moderate
Activity Leader: Kent Wimmer 850-528-5261 [email protected]
Wednesday Walkabout
Date: August 14, 2013
Location: Edenfield Trailhead, Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
Description: Get together in the early evening to eliminate stress, burn fat, meet folks of similar interest and
just get some exercise! Bring water, energy bar, light trekking or trail running shoes. This is not a trail running group, but we will maintain a minimal power walking pace (approx. 3.5 mph). No limit to number of hikers. Pets (on leash & clean up after them) must maintain group pace. Sign up on Meet-up or call the leader
for any last minute updates or cancellations (due to weather or change in leader schedule). Meet at 5:30
p.m. for meet & greet --then we hit the trail at 5:45 p.m. (sharp). . Meet at the Miccosukee Canopy Road
Greenway - Edenfield Trailhead parking lot at the Miccosukee Greenway trails (near the intersection of Miccosukee and Edenfied Road) for a 3-4 mile walk. The parking lot has a bathroom and plenty of room for
changing clothes. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Dawn Griffin 850-509-6103 [email protected]
Wednesday Walkabout
Date: August 21, 2013
Location: Edenfield Trailhead, Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
Description: Get together in the early evening to eliminate stress, burn fat, meet folks of similar interest and
just get some exercise! Bring water, energy bar, light trekking or trail running shoes. This is not a trail running group, but we will maintain a minimal power walking pace (approx. 3.5 mph). No limit to number of hikers. Pets (on leash & clean up after them) must maintain group pace. Sign up on Meet-up or call the leader
for any last minute updates or cancellations (due to weather or change in leader schedule). Meet at 5:30
p.m. for meet & greet --then we hit the trail at 5:45 p.m. (sharp). . Meet at the Miccosukee Canopy Road
Greenway - Edenfield Trailhead parking lot at the Miccosukee Greenway trails (near the intersection of Miccosukee and Edenfied Road) for a 3-4 mile walk. The parking lot has a bathroom and plenty of room for
changing clothes. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Dawn Griffin 850-509-6103 [email protected]
Wednesday Walkabout
Date: August 28, 2013
Location: Edenfield Trailhead, Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway
Description: Get together in the early evening to eliminate stress, burn fat, meet folks of similar interest and
just get some exercise! Bring water, energy bar, light trekking or trail running shoes. This is not a trail running group, but we will maintain a minimal power walking pace (approx. 3.5 mph). No limit to number of hikers. Pets (on leash & clean up after them) must maintain group pace. Sign up on Meet-up or call the leader
for any last minute updates or cancellations (due to weather or change in leader schedule). Meet at 5:30
p.m. for meet & greet --then we hit the trail at 5:45 p.m. (sharp). . Meet at the Miccosukee Canopy Road
Greenway - Edenfield Trailhead parking lot at the Miccosukee Greenway trails (near the intersection of Miccosukee and Edenfied Road) for a 3-4 mile walk. The parking lot has a bathroom and plenty of room for
changing clothes. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Dawn Griffin 850-509-6103 [email protected]
Central Florida Chapter
Paddle Gum Slough
Date: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Location: Gum Slough, near Inverness
Description: We will start on the Withlacoochee River and paddle for approx. 20 minutes then turn into a narrow slough winding through Half Moon Wildlife Management Area. This is a beautiful wilderness paddle
through shady hardwood swamp of Cypress, Oak and Sweet Gum trees. The creek splits and comes back together multiple times as we make the approx 6 mile paddle to Gum Springs.
The first part of this trip will be through dark tannin water, but as we near the springs, the water below us
clears up. The trip is a true wilderness paddle through pristine woods and marsh. Closer to the springs, the
water is clear, with a white sand bottom, and cool water for swimming.
This is NOT an easy trip and you must have your own kayak. The paddle upstream is strenuous but the journey is absolutely beautiful, as is the spring head (we will stop and swim) and the return trip is easy going
with the flow. Bring lunch and lots of water and wear water shoes. Limit: 8 kayaks. Difficulty: Strenuous.
Activity Leader: Mary-Slater Linn 407-426-6869 [email protected]
Central Florida Chapter General Meeting
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Location: Harry P. Leu Gardens, Camellia Room
Description: Meet in the Camellia Room at Leu Gardens and get to know your fellow FTA members, with
guests always welcome. This month's program: to be announced. The meeting will begin with a short social
period at 6:30, followed by short announcements at 7pm.
Public is invited. Beverages or snack foods are appreciated. Please bring your aluminum cans for recycling.
Activity Leader: Janet Walsh (407) 851-5988 [email protected]
Film Screening: “MILE...MILE & A HALF” at Athens Theatre in Deland
Date: July 18, 2013
Location: Athens Theatre, Deland, FL
Description: A beautifully filmed documentary of hikers on the John Muir Trail. It will be screened at the historic Athens Theater in Deland, Florida by the Muir Project. For movie trailer see:
For advance tickets and directions go to
Central Florida Chapter General Meeting
Date: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Location: Harry P. Leu Gardens, Camellia Room
Description: Meet in the Camellia Room at Leu Gardens and get to know your fellow FTA members, with
guests always welcome. This month's program: to be announced. The meeting will begin with a short social
period at 6:30, followed by short announcements at 7pm. Public is invited. Beverages or snack foods are appreciated. Please bring your aluminum cans for recycling.
Activity Leader: Janet Walsh (407) 851-5988 [email protected]
Choctawhatchee Chapter
Kayak Trip on Juniper Creek
Date: 6/22/2013
Location: Red Rock Road bridge over Juniper Creek, Red Rock Road, Milton, FL
Description: Kayak/canoe trip on Juniper Creek starting at Red Rock Road bridge and ending at Indian Ford
Bridge - 6 miles. Contact the activity leaders. They will be happy to answer any of your questions. Nice scenic float down the winding Juniper Creek, see you there!
Activity Leader: Mary McKinley 850-598-9109 [email protected] and Rick Stone (850) 398-1415
[email protected]
Red, White & Blue Kayak on Pea River, Geneva, AL
Date: 7/4/2013
Location: Lake Jackson State Park, Florala, AL
Description: Bring your own kayak or canoe & meet at Lake Jackson State Park in Florala, Al. Take Hwy 85
north through Crestview, Laurel Hill, and Clear Springs, Fl across the state line. Hwy no. changes to Hwy 55,
and Lake Jackson State Park is on the right side. Pull into the parking lot near the Fighter Jet display.
Activity Leader: Paul and Wallis Mayo, 850-682-6098 [email protected]
Kayak Trip on Boiling Creek
Date: 7/20/2013
Location: Boiling Creek, Milton, FL
Description: Located off of Hwy. 87, south of Milton and north of Navarre, Boiling Creek is lined with towering old-growth cypress trees, and an abundance of flora, including water lilies, pitcher plants, water lotus and
spatterdocks. The water is clear, and colorful underwater grasses rippling below can be easily viewed as you
meander down the slow moving creek.
Activity Leader: Tim Crews, 850-826-3605 or [email protected]
Yellow River Kayak Trip
Date: 7/27/2013
Location: Givens Bridge, Wing, AL
Description: Bring your own canoe or kayak and enjoy a nice float from Wing, AL. to Hwy 2 in Florida. The
event hosts will be happy to answer any of your questions. Take Hwy 85 North through Crestview to Laurel
Hill and turn left on 3rd Ave, then turn right on New Ebenezer Rd. (CR - 85A) and drive 6.3 miles into Alabama (CR 20) and turn left on CR 4 and drive 2.6 miles to bridge.
Activity Leader: Paula Fries 850-683-0803 [email protected] and Wallis Mayo 850-682-6098 [email protected]
Titi/Shoal River Kayak Trip
Date: 8/3/2013
Location: HWY 85 and Colonel Greg Malloy Rd, Crestview, FL
Description: Excellent float for all. Going down the Titi Creek and then into the Titi swamp and out into the
Shoal River and getting out at the Shoal River Bridge boat ramp on Hwy 85. We meet on the corner of Col.
Greg Malloy Rd and Hwy 85 just south of the FNST trailhead. THE ROAD TO THE LAUNCH SITE REQUIRES
4WD... You are responsible to get your own boats there. No boat shuttle provided. EGLIN Permit Required.
Meet at the intersection of Hwy 85 and Col. Greg Malloy Rd. before you drive over the bridge's coming into
Crestview. Coming from the south on Hwy 85 it is 3 miles past Duke Field overpass.
Activity Leader: Paul and Wallis Mayo, 850-682-6098 [email protected]
Kayak Trip on Blackwater River
Date: 8/10/2013
Location: Peadon Bridge Rd, Baker, FL
Description: Canoe & Kayak on Blackwater River from Peadon Bridge to Wilderness Landing. Meet at Peadon
Bridge. Take Hwy 85 to Hwy 90 and turn West. Travel 4.3 mi turn RT on CR 4. Travel 4.6 mi to Baker, continue north on SR 189 4 miles to Riley Barnhill Road. Go west on Riley Barnhill road 3.2 miles, it changes to
Peadon Bridge Rd and go .5 mile to bridge.
Activity Leader: Paula Fries [email protected] and Richard Kersten 850-683-0803, Randi and Mike Lutz 850585-1429 [email protected]
Choctawhatchee Chapter (continued)
Kayak/Canoe Trip on Blackwater River
Date: 8/18/2013
Location: Bryant Bridge, Bryant Bridge Road, Milton, FL
Description: Nice float from Bryant Bridge to Deaton Bridge on Blackwater River - 9 miles. Take Hwy 85
North to Crestview and turn left onto Hwy 90 and travel west 13.9 miles turning right onto Bryant Bridge Cutoff Road. Travel 1 mile north to Bryant Bridge Road and turn left and travel .9 miles to bridge.
Activity Leader: Keith Lefevre, 850-689-8528 [email protected]
Trail Maintenance - Eglin/Florida National Scenic Trail
Date: 9/7/2013
Location: Eglin / Okaloosa
Description: Working to keep our trails clear and passable. We have hard hats, gloves, vests, protective
hearing and protective glasses. If you have your own, please bring them. Bring water, lunch and
snacks. Contact activity leader for details. EGLIN RECREATION PERMIT REQUIRED! , On State Road 85, 5
miles S. of I-10 at MM 23, Eglin AFB, FL - Going South on Hwy 85 from Crestview the Eglin Tower is on the
right just before the Duke Field overpass. Coming north on Hwy 85 go under the overpass and take your next
left, you will see the old firetower.
Activity Leader: Tim Crews, 850-826-3605 [email protected]
Krul Lake Kids Hike
Date: 9/14/2013
Location: Krul Lake Recreation Area, Munson, FL
Description: Kids hike and cookout. Krul Recreation Area is a camping and Day Use area built next to a 6.5acre man-made lake. It is recharged from springs located on the north ends of the lake. It is a popular swimming area. The Sweetwater Trail starts at the Krul parking lot and runs 1.3 miles to Bear Lake. The first half
mile of trail is in handicapped accessible boardwalk with a suspension bridge over Sweetwater Creek. A gristmill is located along the boardwalk. Event hosts and will be happy to answer any of your questions. Take
Hwy 85 through Crestview and turn west onto Hwy 90, travel 4 miles and turn right onto SR 4, travel 4.6
miles and turn left at the light. Travel 12.9 miles and turn right onto Krul Lake Road.
Activity Leader: Steve Duke 850-651-0902 [email protected] and Jane Montgomery 850-678-8626
[email protected]
Florida Crackers Chapter
Saturday Maintenance Hikes on the Greenway
Date: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Location: Santos Campground/Trailhead, 3080 SE 80th Street, Ocala, FL
Description: Please reserve this date for kicking off this summer’s trail maintenance hikes. We’re starting on
June 15th and will continue every Saturday morning into August. Meet up at 8 am.
Activity Leader: Bob Jones (352) 347-5716 or [email protected]
Kayak Day Trip on the Rainbow
Date: July 9, 2013
Location: Rainbow River, Dunnellon
Description: Bring your own boat (or make your own arrangements for a rental at
Shuttle to K.P. Hole Park, paddle 1.5 miles up to the head spring, then float back down approximately 5
miles. A great trip for a beginning kayaker. Bring pfd with whistle, water, sunscreen and optional snorkeling
gear. Note: No disposable containers allowed on the Rainbow. Must RSVP. Dinner afterwards at local eatery. $5 entrance fee at K.P. Hole Park.
Activity Leader: Deb Blick 352-378-8823 [email protected]
Heartland Chapter
Bike Ride on the Suncoast Trail
Date: June 15, 2013
Location: Suncoast Trail in Odessa, FL
Description: Come join us as we ride along the Suncoast Trail from the trailhead on State Road 54 to
Starkey Park and back. The trailhead is next to the McDonald's located at 16250 State Road
54, Odessa, FL The ride will be approximately 20 miles. According to State law, children must wear helmets
and adults are encouraged. From Hwy. 54, turn south on Crossing Blvd. to get to McDonald's. Bring bike,
helmet, water, snacks and/or lunch.
Activity Leader: Teresa Newgent 813-276-8587 [email protected]
Nature Hike
Date: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL
Description: Come out at 9 am and enjoy a monthly hike around beautiful Circle B Bar Reserve. Enjoy the
abundant wildlife and varied plant life. Bring your camera and/or binoculars, water, snack and bug/sun protection. Meet in the parking area. Look for the Heartland Chapter T-shirts.
Activity Leader: Liane Plumhoff (863) 646-2398 [email protected]
Paddle the Wekiva River
Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Wekiva River
Description: One way paddle from King’s Landing on Rock Springs Run to take out at Wekiva Marina. Bring
your own boat or Kings Landing has a limited number of kayaks and lots of canoes available for rent on a first
come, first serve basis. Contact Leader for full information. Bring: Kayak, paddle, life jacket, water, snacks/
lunch, sun and bug protection, wide brimmed hat. Launch and parking fees apply.
Activity Leader: Eileen Valachovic 863-956-2145 [email protected]
Heartland Chapter Meeting
Date: July 6, 2013
Location: David's House
Description: Come join us for the July chapter meeting. Meet at 10 am at 702 Osceola Ave, Lake Wales, FL.
A potluck lunch will follow the meeting as usual. Bring a dish based on last name. A-H Salad, I-Q Contact
David for what to bring for main dish and R-Z Dessert.
Activity Leader: David Waldrop 863-605-3587 [email protected]
Hike at Withlacoochee River Park
Date: Saturday, July 13, 2013
Location: Near Dade City
Description: Come join us as we hike the approximately 5.2 mile loop trail in the park. Meet at the canoe
launch area near the entrance at 8:30 am. Bring water, snacks, sun/bug protection and good hiking
shoes. We will eat lunch in the picnic area after the hike.
Activity Leader: Monika Hoerl (863) 858-3106
Backpacking 201
Date: July 20, 2013
Location: Workshop Building at Circle B Bar Reserve
Description: Come out and learn about intermediate topics that can be used on extended backpacking
trips. We will learn about lighter weight gear as well as how to make your own backpacking meals. We will
Heartland Chapter (continued)
be bringing dehydrated food so each person will be able to make a sample meal and cook it for lunch. If you
have lightweight gear you would like to show off, please bring it along. Please bring your cook stove and
cooking / eating gear. Bring a notebook and pen to take notes.
Activity Leader: David Waldrop (863) 605-3587 [email protected]
Nature Hike
Date: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve
Description: Come out at 9 am and enjoy a monthly hike around beautiful Circle B Bar Reserve. Enjoy the
abundant wildlife and varied plant life. Bring your camera and/or binoculars, water, snack and bug/sun protection. Meet in the parking area - Look for the Heartland Chapter T-Shirts.
Activity Leader: Liane Plumhoff (863) 646-2398 or [email protected]
Heartland Chapter Annual Ice Cream Social
Date: August 3, 2013
Location: Picnic Lake Pavilion at Tenoroc Fish Management Area
Description: Come out and join us for an ice cream social. We will be making ice cream to be served after
lunch. Bring your own lunch and drink. Contact Monika to find out what ingredient or topping to bring for the
ice cream.
Activity Leader: Monika Hoerl @ (863) 858-3106.
Nature Hike
Date: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL
Description: Come out at 9 am and enjoy a monthly hike around beautiful Circle B Bar Reserve. Enjoy the
abundant wildlife and varied plant life. Bring your camera and/or binoculars, water, snack and bug/sun protection. Meet in the parking area. Look for the Heartland Chapter T-Shirts.
Liane Plumhoff (863) 646-2398 or [email protected]
Trail Maintenance in KICCO WMA
Date: August 24-25, 2013
Location: Westgate River Ranch Resort, 3200 River Ranch Blvd, River Ranch, FL
Description: Come join us as we perform needed trail maintenance along the Florida National Scenic Trail at
KICCO. We will camp at the Old Town of KICCO campground for those interested to spend the night. Bring
water, snacks, lunch for Saturday if you will only be staying for the day. If camping, bring meals for Saturday evening and Sunday morning as well as your camping gear. We will be mowing and blazing.
Activity Leader: David Waldrop (863) 605-3587 [email protected]
Hike before Chapter Meeting
Date: September 7, 2013
Location: Paynes Creek Historic State Park
Description: Come out and join us for a hike along the trails in the park where we will visit the old fort and
general store. We will meet at a picnic pavilion by the main parking area at 8:30 am. Wear comfortable
shoes and bring sun/bug protection and water. Park entrance fees required $3 per car.
Activity Leader: David Waldrop (863) 605-3587 [email protected]
Heartland Chapter Meeting
Date: September 7, 2013
Location: Paynes Creek Historic State Park
Description: Come out and join us at 10 am for our bi-monthly chapter meeting at Historic Paynes Creek
State Park, 888 Lake Branch Road, Bowling Green, FL. As usual we will have a potluck lunch after the meeting. Please bring a dish based on last name. A-H: Main Dish, I-Q: Dessert and R-Z: Salad We will be meeting
at one of the picnic pavilions so bring your own chair to sit in.
Activity Leader: David Waldrop (863) 605-3587 [email protected]
Highlanders Chapter
Highlanders Chapter Monthly Meeting
Date: June 27, 2013
Location: Leesburg Public Library, 100 E Main Street
Description: Meeting starts at 6:00 pm. Use the entrance on Main Street. Meeting room just inside the entrance to the library. Debbie Almy will present “On the Trail of the Native American Flute”. Please come with
us on a virtual hike into the history of this beautiful all-American instrument. Bring a snack to share and your
aluminum cans to recycle.
Activity Leader: Bobbi Keenan 352-787-8654 or [email protected]
Indian River Chapter
Day Hike – Lake Geneva
Date: June 16, 2013
Location: Lake Geneva
Description: Leisure Hike – Lake Geneva - Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Viera McDonald’s at Wickham Road and I
Activity Leader: Tony Flohre 321-723-6339
Bi-Monthly Planning Meeting
Date: June 17, 2013
Location: Melbourne Public Library
Description: Meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Melbourne Public Library at 540 E. Fee Avenue in Melbourne.
Activity Leader: Richard Louden 321-693-3820 [email protected]
Moonlight hike - Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Date: June 23, 2013
Location: Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Description: Meet at 8:30 p.m. at the main entrance to the Turkey Creek Sanctuary. Address: 1518 Port
Malabar Blvd NE, Palm Bay, FL
Activity Leader: Tony Flohre 321-723-6339
Monthly FTA Indian River Chapter Meeting
Date: July 1, 2013
Location: Melbourne Public Library
Description: Meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Melbourne Public Library at 540 E. Fee Avenue in Melbourne.
Activity Leader: Morena Cameron at [email protected]
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse trip
Date: July 6, 2013
Location: McDonald's in Viera
Description: Meet at 8:30 am at the Viera McDonald's at Wickham Road and I-95. Optional swimming after
the lighthouse tour.
Indian River Chapter (continued)
Activity Leader: Tony Flohre 321-723-6339
Monthly FTA Indian River Chapter Meeting
Date: August 5, 2013
Location: Melbourne Public Library
Description: Meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Melbourne Public Library at 540 E. Fee Avenue in Melbourne.
Activity Leader: Morena Cameron at [email protected]
Leisure Hike at Bull Creek WMA
Date: August 11, 2013
Location: Sam's Discount Club
Description: Meet at 6:30 am at Sam's Discount Club, 4255 W. New Haven Ave., West Melbourne.
Activity Leader: Tony Flohre 321-723–6339
Annual Turkey Creek Paddle and Cookout
Date: August 17, 2013
Location: Turkey Creek
Description: This event is for Florida Trail Members only. If interested in joining the Florida Trail Association,
go to website You must provide your own canoe/kayak and safety equipment.
Personal floatation device (life jacket) and whistle are required. We will canoe/kayak up Turkey Creek and
then return for lunch/cookout. Hamburgers, hotdogs and sodas will be provided. Please bring a side dish,
chips, or dessert to share. RSVP required.
Activity leader: Dale Weddle 321-729-9162 [email protected]
Bi-Monthly Planning Meeting
Date: August 19, 2013
Location: Melbourne Public Library
Description: Meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Melbourne Public Library, 540 E. Fee Avenue in Melbourne.
Activity Leader: Richard Louden 321 - 693 – 3820 [email protected]
Weekend Trip to St. Augustine
Date: August 31 – September 2, 2013 7:00 AM
Location: St Augustine, FL
Description: Tour the wonders of St. Augustine with Tony. Spend a day or the weekend (motel or camping).
You must call the activity leader Tony Flohre for further details and overnight choice.
Activity Leader: Tony Flohre 321-723-6339
Monthly FTA Indian River Chapter Meeting
Date: September 2, 2013
Location: Melbourne Public Library
Description: Meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Melbourne Public Library at 540 E. Fee Avenue in Melbourne. Socializing, Program (TBD) followed by a business meeting.
Activity Leader: Morena Cameron at [email protected]
Loxahatchee Chapter
Okeeheelee Park Stroll
Date: June 15, 2013
Location: Okeeheelee Park, West Palm Beach
Description: It’s socializing – exercise your social skills and your body at the same time at Okeeheelee Park.
Meet at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast afterward. Call Daisy for the meeting location... this is a big park and she moves
it around. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Daisy Palmer 561-439-5780.
Wellington Preserve Walk
Date: June 16, 2013
Location: Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat
Description: Enjoy the boardwalk, paved pedestrian trails, and a six-story observation tower. 8:00 a.m. Park
is at 3491 Flying Cow Road, Wellington, Fl Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Sherry Cummings 561-963-9906 [email protected]
Hike in Apoxee
Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Apoxee and Owahee Trails
Description: Join Joe Rosenberg at 8:00 a.m. for an 8-mile hike to enjoy this beautiful area. Plenty of water
is a must. Difficulty: Moderate. The park address is 3125 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach BUT THE ONLINE
MAPS ARE NOT CORRECT and a nav system will take you to the wrong place. If you are not familiar with this
park then talk to Joe first.
Activity Leader: Joe Rosenberg 561-616-8790.
Hike Jupiter Ridge Natural Area
Date: June 23, 2013
Location: Jupiter Ridge Natural Area
Description: Discover five native Florida ecosystems: scrub, scrubby flatwoods, mesic flatwoods, depression
marsh, and mangrove swamp. The park is located at 1800 S. U.S. Hwy 1, Jupiter, FL. Join us at 7:30 a.m.
with breakfast afterward. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Alan Collins 561-586-0486 [email protected]
Hike Loxahatchee Slough North
Date: June 29, 2013
Location: Loxahatchee Slough North
Meet at Riverbend Park, Indiantown Road west of the turnpike in Jupiter, FL. Hike to the No Name Campsite
with the new well. Hike total 10.0 miles, can turn back anytime. Bring water, sunscreen, etc.. No costumes
needed, practice only for FTA Harlem Shake. Sign in before 8.00 A.M. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Craig Custer 954-554-5698 [email protected]
North Florida Trailblazers Chapter
Trailblazers Chapter Meeting
Date: June 18, 2013
Location: REI Jacksonville
Description: Meet at the new Jacksonville REI store at 4862 Big Island Drive. From 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Megan
Donoghue from the FTA staff will be our guest speaker.
Activity Leader: Leslie Wheeler [email protected]
Panhandle Chapter
Friday Evening Paddles
Dates: June 14, June 21, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9, August 16, August 23, August 30,
Location: Porter Park
Description: This will be a BYOB (bring your own boat) event for a leisurely paddle in North Bay. We will
meet at Porter Park which is at the foot of the Bailey Bridge on Ohio Ave in Lynn Haven at 5:00pm. Bring
your kayak, pfd, whistle, water, and head lamp (in case it starts getting dark).
Activity Leader: Rick Tutunick (850) 624-3892, [email protected]
Suncoast Chapter
In Search of the Lightning Bugs: Episode 2
Date: June 15, 2013
Location: FTA Kiosk outside Holder Mine Campground
Description: Meet @ 7:00 p.m. at the FTA Kiosk by Holder Mine, Citrus Tract, Withlacoochee State Forest on
Forest Rd 10, 1 mile west of S. Pleasant Grove Rd (hwy 581), Inverness, FL Hiking daylight to dusk to
dark. Approximately 7 miles, point to point with an extension. Bring insect repellent, moon screen, one
quart water (we will replenish at mile 4), snack, flashlight with new batteries, camping gear and food if you
want to camp. Due to the late hour we will not be stopping for any lengthy breaks or sandwich breaks.
Camping for all who want. $20 per site, two tents allowed per site, $10 if 65+. There are no reservations
but the campground should have ample sites. There are hot showers.
Gordy Hawkins (727) 563-2156
Florida Trail Association Fun Weekend and Fall Chapter Meeting
Date: September 20-22, 2013
Location: Silver Lake Recreation Area
We will have our Fall Chapter Meeting on 9/21/2013 at Silver Lake Recreation Area in the Croom Tract of the
Withlacoochee State Forest. Camping / hiking / paddling/ family fun and food! More details in the months to
come... RSVP's open July 20, 2013.
Activity Leader: Ruth Rogg (727) 531-3323 [email protected]
Suwannee Chapter
White Springs Weekly Wednesday Hikes
Date: June 5 through August 7, 2013.
Location: White Springs area.
Description: Meet each Wednesday morning at 9:30 for day hiking in the area. Contact Robin to RSVP each
week and for exact location.
Activity Leader: Robin Luger 352-284-3319 [email protected]
Tropical Trekkers Chapter
Jensen Beach Causeway Mid-Week Walk
Date: June 12, 2013
Location: Jensen Beach
Description: Let's stay in shape even though it's hot, walking your own pace up to 4.5 miles. Contact leader
for meeting time and place. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Paula Miller (772) 419-8130 [email protected]
Stuart Causeway Mid-Week Walk
Date: June 26, 2013
Location: Stuart
Description: Let's stay in shape even though it's hot, walking your own pace up to 5 miles. Contact leader for
meeting time and place. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Paula Miller (772) 419-8130 [email protected]
Western Gate Chapter
Bike Hike at Ft Pickens
Date: June 15, 2013
Description: Meet at the FNST trail head at the fort in Fort Pickens at 8 AM for a ride to the park entrance
and back. Lunch at Peglegs after. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: George Brinkman 850-932-0125 [email protected]
Monthly Western Gate Chapter meeting
Date: June 20, 2013
Location: First Christian Church at the corner of Langley and Goodrich.
Description: The social starts at 6:30 and the meeting at 7:00. This month's speaker will be Megan
Donoghue, FTA's Volunteer Resource Coordinator. All trail maintainers should attend this important event.
Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528 [email protected]
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park Picnic
Date: June 29, 2013
Location: Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
Description: Join Peggy at Ponce de Leon springs State Park for a fun filled day of swimming in the crystal
clear spring, a picnic and a short walk Meet at 10 AM at the Spring. Ponce de Leon is located about 100 miles
east of Pensacola. Take I-10 east to the Ponce de Leon exit. Then go north and follow the signs. The address is 2860 Ponce de Leon Springs Rd. Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected]
Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest
Date: Every Thursday in July
Location: Contact leaders for exact spot to meet
Description: Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Bob Browder 850-434-2611 [email protected] and Ed Williamson
850-474-5239 [email protected]
Hikes with Helen
Date: July 6, 2013
Location: TBA
Description: Join Helen for a short hike. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528 [email protected]
Western Gate Chapter (continued)
Wake up Hike
Date: July 7, 2013
Location: TBA
Description: Join Trudy and Peggy at 7 AM for a wake up hike followed by breakfast. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected] and Trudy Walden 850-434-8861
[email protected]
Walk, Swim and Picnic
Date: July 13, 2013
Location: Flingin Landing
Description: Meet Jimmy at 10 AM at Filingin Landing on Perdido River for a walk, swim and picnic
Activity Leader: Jim Moore 850-598-0593 [email protected]
Canoe/Kayak Juniper Creek
Date: July 14, 2013
Location: Red Rock Rd at Juniper Creek, Blackwater River State Forest
Description: Join Cheryl at 9 AM at the Juniper Creek launch site on Red Rock Rd. for a paddle down this
beautiful creek.
Activity Leader: Cheryl Gardner 850-484-9111 [email protected]
Western Gate Chapter Meeting
Date: July 18, 2013
Location: First Christian Church, Pensacola
Description: Western Gate's monthly meeting at the First Christian Church at the corner of Langley and
Goodrich. The social starts at 6:30 PM and the meeting begins at 7.
Activity Leader: Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528 [email protected]
Canoe/Kayak Blackwater River
Date: July 27, 2013
Location: Blackwater Canoe Livery
Description: This event is not only for those who own canoes/kayaks, but for those who don't. Meet at 8:30
AM at the Blackwater Canoe Livery on Deaton Bridge Rd. Bring lunch and drinks for an all day paddle. Call
me and I will make canoe/kayak reservations.
Activity Leader: George Brinkman 932-0125 [email protected]
Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest
Date: Every Thursday in August
Location: Contact leaders for exact spot to meet
Description: Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Bob Browder 850-434-2611 [email protected] and Ed Williamson
850-474-5239 [email protected]
Wake up Hike
Date: August 4, 11 & 25, 2013
Location: TBA
Description: Join Trudy and Peggy at 7 AM for a wake up hike followed by breakfast. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected] and Trudy Walden 850-434-8861
[email protected]
Picnic, Swim, Hike
Date: August 10, 2013
Location: Big Lagoon State Park
Description: Celebrate Florida's State Parks! Meet at the pavilion at Big Lagoon State Park at 9 AM for a short
walk followed by a swim and picnic. Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected]
Western Gate Chapter Meeting
Date: August 15, 2013
Location: First Christian Church, Pensacola
Description: Western Gate's monthly meeting at the First Christian Church at the corner of Langley and
Goodrich. The social starts at 6:30 PM and the meeting begins at 7.
Activity Leader: Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528 [email protected]
Tubing on Coldwater Creek
Date: August 17, 2013
Location: Adventures Unlimited
Description: Meet at 8:30 AM at Adventures Unlimited for a three hour float trip down Coldwater Creek. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: George Brinkman 932-0125 [email protected]
Canoe/Kayak Perdido River
Date: August 18, 2013
Location: Barrineau Park
Description: Join Cheryl for a paddle down Perdido River. Meet at Barranou (sic) Park Landing at 9 AM
Activity Leader: Cheryl Gardner 850-484-9111 [email protected]
Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest
Date: Every Thursday in September
Location: Contact leaders for exact spot to meet
Description: Trail Maintenance in the Blackwater River State Forest. Difficulty: Moderate.
Activity Leader: Bob Browder 850-434-2611 [email protected] and Ed Williamson
850-474-5239 [email protected]
Wake up Hike
Date: September 1 and 8, 2013
Location: TBA
Description: Join Trudy and Peggy at 7 AM for a wake up hike followed by breakfast. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected] and Trudy Walden 850-434-8861
[email protected]
Dinner Hike
Date: September 6, 2013
Location: Gulf Breeze Rec. Center
Description: Meet at 6 PM at the Gulf Breeze recreation Center parking lot on Shoreline Drive for a short
walk followed by dinner at the Aegean Breeze. Difficulty: Leisure.
Activity Leader: George Brinkman 932-0125 [email protected]
Picnic, Swim, Hike
Date: September 7, 2013
Location: St. Andrews State Park
Description: Celebrate Florida's State Parks! We will visit St. Andrews State Park in Panama City. Meet at 10
AM for a short hike followed by a picnic. Difficulty: Leisure
Activity Leader: Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 [email protected]

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