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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
Begins: Jan 19, 2016
Date: Fri, Jan 15th, 2016
Daily Distance: 0
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Florida Trail --- Southern Half
I hiked the northern part of the Florida Trail last year (2015) from early January to mid-February (the blog for that is available on this same Postholer site). So now I’m going to complete the trail by hiking the southern half, starting from the southern terminus in Big Cypress National Preserve on January 19th.
I’ll start out hiking with two old hiking friends who live in Green Bay, WI --- Carl and Ed. I’ve done various section hikes with these guys over a number of years, mostly on the Pacific Crest Trail. They’ll hike about the first two weeks of the trail with me and then I’ll continue on by myself. I started near the town of Palatka last year, generally east of Gainsville, so that’s where I’ll finish this year.
Why am I hiking this in two pieces? This article outlines my feelings:
The particular trigger here, however, was that my friend Lucky hiked the southern half of the Florida trail in January of 2014 with Lumbar, and so he in turn wanted to then hike the “other half”, and I did that with him.
As with last year, part of what attracted me to this trail was the idea of getting a jump on the hiking year by doing several hundred miles of hiking at the very beginning of the year --- should be roughly 500 miles this year I think.
I had overall decent weather and few bugs last year; my understanding is that bugs have been more of an issue for those starting out already this year. It’s also a pretty wet year, and we’re supposed to be in what is only the third “super el Niño” year recorded in history. A regular el Niño brings warmer and wetter weather in general, but “super” ones are somewhat uncharted territory. Anticipated is “well above normal seasonal storminess” across the Florida peninsula in what is normally the “dry season”, with enhanced risk of severe weather. I.e., I’m less concerned about alligators as I am about being in a tent during a severe thunderstorm or tornado. It will just be a matter of keeping track of the weather forecast when I can get cell or wi-fi service.
After I wrote the last paragraph, I read that we’re just now seeing the first January hurricane to occur in the Atlantic since 1955. But I still think that tornados are a bigger concern. Or maybe Hollywood ‘B’ movies have it right and we’ll face a Sharknado. Well, for us more reasonably a Gatornado.
Then just after I wrote THAT, a Tornado Watch went into effect in several counties in southern Florida. It could be a wild ride.
Gadget's Trail Journal
The Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States currently running 1,000 miles, with a total of 1,300 miles planned, from Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach. Learn more: www.floridatrail.org
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