Last week, my buddy Bob and I hit the Florida Trail to knock off another segment in the Ocala National Forest — this time, Hopkins Prairie. My first visit here was with Deb Blick, cartographer and data collector extraordinare of the Florida Trail Association, and it was a walk at a data collector’s pace. On […]
Here’s what the Juniper Prairie Wilderness looked like prior to the fire. The loss of this beautiful area is heartbreaking. I was fortunate to visit in February on a hike on the Florida Trail with my friends Bob & Bonnie Coveney. We witnessed a lot of damage from the 2006 blaze, more than I expected. […]
Back in November, when I gave a presentation at the Wilderness Trekkers Annual Conference, I’d heard from the Cross Florida Greenway manager that the visitor center at Buckman Lock was closed due to budget cuts. It sounded like it would reopen at some point. On a visit to Buckman Lock last Friday, I learned that […]
A few years ago, I had the honor of walking a section of the Florida Trail at Clearwater Lake with the trail’s founder, Jim Kern, to celebrate the beginning of the Florida Trail at this spot in 1966. As we walked, Jim said “we blazed the trail on the other side of the lake.” We […]
Bear bagging is the art of hanging your food properly out of reach of bears. If you’re a Florida backpacker and haven’t learned how, here’s a short course. Securing your food from bears is required in the Ocala, Osceola, and Apalachicola National Forests.
Get acquainted with Big Scrub on this 8.4-mile stretch of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest as it rises through longleaf pine forests to meet the world’s largest sand pine scrub, punctuated by a variety of ponds and prairies. Connecting a first-magnitude spring with one of the more beautiful lakes in the Ocala National Forest, it’s a delightful immersion into the woods.
Paralleling a segment of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Buckman Lock to Rodman Dam hike on of the Florida Trail sticks to a high berm for most of the 5.3 miles.
The oldest section of the Florida Trail runs 11 miles between between Clearwater Lake and Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest, showcasing longleaf pine forests and scrub
For 10.5 miles through Juniper Prairie Wilderness in the Ocala National Forest, the Florida Trail traverses a mosaic of fire-dependent ancient scrub, pine islands, and open prairies
A six-mile-long prairie, a vast marshland in the middle of the dry Big Scrub, Hopkins Prairie is a beauty spot along which the Florida Trail lingers on this 9.5 mile section.