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  1. #1
    New Member Woodeez Roundup's Avatar
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    Florida trail, Ocala National Forest.

    A buddy and I are heading to the Ocala National Forest in a few weeks for a 5 day trip. I leave for marine corps recruit training a few weeks after so i want to make this trip interesting and worth it. We plan on hiking about forty miles or so staring from Juniper springs and just heading north until we decide to turn around and head home.

    I was just curious if anyone had any advice for Ocala and maybe any four day loop hikes that would make the trip more interesting. Also any tips or advice for hanging/ hiking in Ocala would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks in advance guys.

  2. #2
    Senior Member FLRider's Avatar
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    Plan your days around water.

    Ocala has widely-spaced water sources, and the trail data book is generally good about noting them. However, the sources may be low this year; at least, some of the surface ponds were last year in August and January.

    I haven't gone much north of Juniper, so I can't comment on the terrain up that way. However, the bugs are...intense in spots. I found six ticks in three days on my legs during August last year. Permethrin and DEET are your friends.

    It's getting to that time of year when you won't see a lot of folks on the trail. The days are heating up, and fewer hikers want to deal with that. So, plan to be self-sufficient.

    Anyway, if you have specific questions about the trail south of Juniper, I can help there. Otherwise, I'll leave it open to folks who've actually hiked that portion of the forest.

    Hope it helps!

  3. #3
    Senior Member MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Just curious, now many miles of the FT are in the Ocala NF?

  4. #4
    Senior Member FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MedicineMan View Post
    Just curious, now many miles of the FT are in the Ocala NF?
    72, per the FTA website. I can dig out the data book and map if you want me to confirm that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MedicineMan's Avatar
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    FLRider, no need to confirm....I bet you close enough. Was just thinking of a winter hike--crossing the Ocala--
    So how would a 7 day hike work with water sources?
    And if you know off the top of your head where is the beginning and ending trailheads?
    I think is very possible come January or February.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ewker's Avatar
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    I haven't hiked the FT in yrs. February was the month we always went down there. To us it was warm but to the locals it was still cold..lol
    'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read. ― Mark Twain

    Who cares about showers, gourmet food, using flush toilets. Just keep on walking and being away from it all.

    There are times that the only way you can do something is to do it alone.

  7. #7
    Senior Member FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MedicineMan View Post
    FLRider, no need to confirm....I bet you close enough. Was just thinking of a winter hike--crossing the Ocala--
    So how would a 7 day hike work with water sources?
    And if you know off the top of your head where is the beginning and ending trailheads?
    I think is very possible come January or February.
    Moved it to PM for trip planning. But the southern trail head is at Clearwater Lake and the northern trail head is up at Buckman Lock.

  8. #8
    New Member HFNole's Avatar
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    another option

    this is a little further north, but we just did 50 miles of the FT along the Suwanee River. We went from Stephen Foster State Park to Suwannee River State Park. It was pretty awesome with all the ups and downs of the ravines, a constant water source, the river camps http://www.floridastateparks.org/wil...RiverCamps.cfm , etc.

    Just a thought...
    Micah 6:8 ESV
    He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  9. #9
    Senior Member lilricky's Avatar
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    Many people hike the Ocala section of the FT each year. As for water sources, its been dry this year, but there are still sizable ponds/lakes/springs/creeks that you go by that will always have water, starting from Juniper and heading north are these dependable water sources: Juniper Springs, Whispering Creek, Devil's Creek, Crooked Sapling Pond, Hidden Pond, Salt Springs, Lake Delancy & Kirkpatrick Dam. Right now, the afternoon rains are becoming more common and more of the seasonal water sources should be flowing soon.
    Maintainer of the Unofficial Trail GPS Map Page(Updated 3-8-16) Now updated with Florida Trail, Lone Star Hiking Trail, Arizona Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.

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