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David "Day-Late" Thibault
Begins: Jan 1, 2018
Date: Mon, Mar 5th, 2018
Entry Visits: 260
Journal Visits: 9,675
Guestbook Views: 99
Guestbook Entrys: 8
Post Trip Thoughts
Well the trail is over and I thought I'd put down a few of my thoughts on the trail. First off, I was very surprised at how well marked and maintained the trail was. It was marked very much like the AT as far as finding blazes which means it was marked well and a lot. In some areas this was necessary - think swamps, as there was no real trail to follow. As far as difficulty, compared to other long distance trails I think this was proably the easiest phyically of the trails I have done, but I expected that too. The resupply wasn't very difficult and the weather was never so bad as to be a worry - I was prepared for freezing temps, had freezing temps, but only for a few days, so no problem there. The trail was flat. I knew this going in but until you hike it it doesn't dawn on you what flat really is. Flat isn't a good or bad in this case.
The closures around Lake Okeechobee were a pain. With the number of hikers going through this section I think it would be better if allowed for the hiker to be able to walk through the construction zones rather than move them to the highway. While on the highway I watched 2 or 3 contstruction trucks go by on the leeve while I was getting passed by 3 or 4 trucks a minute on the highway. I would have perfered the construction area.
The trail has some wonderful wilderness areas but it feels like you hike into the woods for a while then get on a road and hike to the next wooded section - rinse and repeat. There are just too many road walks on this trail. With the high population of Florida and the amount of private property issues with routing the trail this is going to take a long time to solve and will probably only be partially solved. But anything to help minimize the amount of time on paved roads should be worked. Also being on roads makes the issue of dogs more challenging. I only had a couple of incidences where I was concerned about a dog bite and was glad I had hiking poles to help keep the dogs at bay.
The wildlife was great and I got to see much more than I expected in this way. Of course the birds were great but lots of other animals were encountered.
The swamps were okay. I actually enjoyed Big Cypress as it was clear water. It took a few hours for my mind to wrap around this new experience of hiking is knee deep water all day long but once it did I found that part section of the trail enjoyable. The dyke walks south of Okeechobee were a little long too but I don't see how to avoid that as that is what is in that part of Florida. The black water swamps were doable but I wouldn't say always pleasant. They were challenging for the footing and tough to do late or early in the day when the light is low. The mud sucking at you shoes was a bit annoying after a while.
All in all I'm glad I hiked the trail. It biggest plus is that it is a trail that can be hiked when others can't and that is a big plus for it.
Day-Late's FT Journal
Thru Hiking the Florida Trail
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