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  1. #1
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Ocala National Forest: 8/14-17/11--Four Days in the Piney Woods

    So, next month I'm going to be hiking the FL Scenic Trail through Ocala National Forest. It'll be my first time hiking on the FL Trail, and I was hoping to pick the brains of those of you who've been on it before.

    Right now, I'm committed to those dates (subject, of course, to family emergencies, work emergencies, emergencies in general, and the Emergency Room ). What I'm not committed to thus far is my exact route.

    I have the FL Trail maps for ONF, and the databook that goes along with them. Right now, I'm thinking about doing the southern section, from the Clearwater Lake trailhead to the Hopkins Prairie Campground trailhead.

    Is there anything along the FL Trail in ONF that is a must-see? I'm willing to alter my route if there's anything that is particularly spectacular.

    If not, is there anything that I should know that isn't normal for this season and latitude (e.g.: make sure you carry lots of water, finish your hike before 2 PM if possible, camp near water, bring lots of bug juice, keep an eye out for the crawlies, make sure you leave an itinerary, etc.) on the trail? I mean, after hearing about LilRicky's experience at Hidden Pond, I'm obviously going to be on my toes with the other humans in the area (gotta love your fellow man), but is there anything else?

    Also, if anyone wants to join up for a day hike or even the whole thing, feel free to drop a line here or send me a PM.
    Last edited by FLRider; 07-24-2011 at 20:09. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    Bug juice and then some. I did a trip with some scouts to the area around Alexander springs last month. It was so hot I failed to wear my permethrin treated pants and long sleeved shirt. Well, that was a mistake......Everyone in the group was eaten up with chiggers by the end of the trip.

    So, wear lots of bug dope and treat your hammock to keep the little bloodsuckers from eating through the fabric. Along with the chiggers and mosquitoes the ticks were pretty bad. Even with plenty of deet I would find several crawling on each leg. I think the deet just made me taste bad so they wouldn't bite down until they found some untreated skin (guess where that was..)

    I think you hit everything else on the head...lots of water, camp near water if you can, etc. Have a good trip.....I'm looking forward to cool weather.

  3. #3
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Oh, yeah. Definitely. I permethrin all of my clothes, my hammock, and even the poncho liner that I use as a topquilt this time of year just before heading out.

    I went hiking this last week around the San Felasco North loop and tried out Ultrathon--34% DEET in a time-release cream--for the first time (I usually use 100% DEET in a spray pump). Don't think I'll be using it again; I found three ticks on my legs and my ankles are bitten to heck and then some with chiggers.

    Crawlies, dehydration, and weather are the three things that I pay the closest attention to when hiking. Bears are a close fourth, at least in spots where they're common.

  4. #4
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Finalizing my Gear List

    Alright, I'm in the midst of looking through my gear list and deciding what to take. All weights over one pound are approximate to the nearest half-pound (I have a kitchen scale for measuring up to a pound and a standard bathroom scale, but no postal scale for in between).


    Right now, dependant upon volume, I have two different backpacks I could take. Both are el-cheapo Wallyworld specials (I know, I know, but until I finalize my own pack design, they're what I have to work with).

    Packs/Covers:
    • Outdoor Products Skyline 8.0: 30L internal volume, no need for pack cover with poncho, approx. 2.5 lbs.
    • Milsurplus Poncho: Rain gear, pack cover, and emergency ground sheet all-in-one, approx. 15 oz.
    • Coleman Elate 65: 65L internal volume, needs pack cover in addition to poncho, approx. 4 lbs.
    • Elate Pack Cover: Approx. 3.5 oz. With some cord (~6 oz worth), it could be turned into a gear hammock ala Just Jeff's pack cover all-in-one.

    Packs/Covers total:
    Skyline: Approx. 3.5 lbs.
    Elate: Approx. 5.5 lbs. (assuming pack cover is turned into gear hammock).

    My thought is that if I can fit all of my food into the Skyline, I'll take that one (it's more comfortable and lighter, but I have to lash the Hennessy in my homemade double-ended waterproof stuff sack and the tarp in its snakeskins to the outside). If not, I'll take the Elate.

    Are there a lot of tight spaces on the trail that I might need to worry about the tarp and hammock catching on bush? Their carry systems are fairly robust, but not really up to bushwhacking through saw palmetto.


    Sleep System:
    • Hennessy Explorer Ultralight A-Sym Zip: Approx. 3 lbs, including adjustable strap suspension from Jacks-R-Better and stuff sack.
    • Poncho Liner Topquilt: Approx 17 oz.
    • PU-Coated Hex Fly: Approx. 2.5 lbs, including CRL, 'biner, snakeskins, and PVA Y-stakes (going to go down to Brasingtons and pick up some aluminum or TI ones later this week or next week, so this will change some).
    • Jacks 'R' Better Graham Flex Air Pillow: Approx 1/2 oz.


    Total: Approx. 6.5 lbs.


    I intend to use a solar water heater for the majority of my FBC, since I've picked meals that only need hot water rather than boiling water to reconstitute (I've tried them all in my backyard). I'll be bringing a supercat alcohol stove as well to make my coffee in the mornings and as a backup in case of rain/overcast (I may need to bring up to 8 oz. more fuel dependent upon the weather forecast the week of).

    Stove/Cook Set:
    • Super Cat Stove: Approx. 6 oz., including pot (doubles as camp mug) and windscreen.
    • Fuel: Isopropyl Alcohol (it's illegal in FL to purchase/own grain alcohol above 155 proof, and I'm leery of breathing methanol fumes) 8 oz. 9 oz. including bottle and ziplock storage bag. 3 cups morning "coffee" and one hot meal backup at approx 1.5 oz fuel per.
    • Zippo Lighter: Approx 2 oz. (I know it's heavy, but I prefer to have a lighter that works every time and I don't have to hold the button down on to light a stove with.)
    • Solar Water Heater: Approx 1/2 oz.
    • Plastic Spork: Approx. 1/4 oz.
    • Pot Cozy: Doubles as watchcap (not that I'll likely need that in FL summer weather), approx. 2 oz.

    Total: Approx. 1 lb, 3.75 oz. 1 lb, 11.25 oz. if extra fuel is brought.


    Clothing:
    • Footwear: No-name technical sandals (the ones that have toebox protection; I've used these to hike up to twenty miles a day in before, and each pair will last me between eighty and a hundred miles--which doesn't sound like much until you realize that they're fifteen bucks a pair) approx. 1 lb. 7 oz. total.
    • Shorts: One pair running shorts, approx. 9 oz. One pair boardshorts (going to stop at a couple of the swimming stops that the trail book details), approx. 5.25 oz. Total approx. 14.25 oz.
    • Shirts: Two sweat-wicking athletic shirts. Approx. 10 oz. total.
    • Undergarments: Three sets wicking boxer/briefs (helps with chafing issues). Approx. 11.25 oz.
    • Hat: Trusty Guinness hat (long time companion). Approx. 3 oz.
    • Towel: Microfiber camp towel (large; I go swimming sometimes). Approx. 7 oz.
    • All-In-One Item (Bandannas): Approx. 1 oz. per, 5 brought. Approx 5 oz. total.
    • Compression Bag: Approx. 1.25 oz.


    Total: Approx. 4 lb., 9.5 oz.


    Personal Care/Repair/First Aid Items:
    • Water Carry Systems: Widemouth Nalgene approx. 8.5 oz. (includes 12 feet of duct tape), narrowmouth Nalgene approx. 6 oz., 3L Camelback approx. 8 oz. Approx. total 1 lb, 6.5 oz dry, including repair/FAK item. Approx. 12 lb. 6.5 oz. full.
    • Water Purification System: Katadyn Hiker Pro. Approx. 14.5 oz. including the hydrolink adapter for my Camelback. Chosen for speed of purification rather than weight. It gets hot here in FL in the summer.
    • First Aid/Repair Kit: Contains New Skin (superglue w/disinfectant), Ace Bandage, Tweezers, Dental Floss, Needle, Band Aid Blister Pads, Gauze Pads, AfterBite knock-off, antifungal cream, spray Neosporin, and Ibuprofen. Approx. 6.5 oz.
    • Personal Hygene Kit: Contains toothbrush, 6 oz. Dr. Bronner's unscented soap (doubles as toothpaste), small mouthwash bottle, and talcum powder. Approx. 9 oz.
    • Outerwear Chemical Kit: Small tube 30 SPF sunscreen, 100% DEET spray pump, and Chap Stick. Approx. 6 oz.
    • Emergency Kit (Carried Next to Skin): Clasp knife, firesteel firestarter, two condoms, iodine tablets, whistle, map, compass and petroleum jelly-slathered cotton balls. Approx. 15 oz. (mostly the knife).
    • "Restroom" Kit: Trowel, biodegradable wipes, and hand sanitizer. Approx. 1 lb.


    Total: Approx. 5 lb., 4 oz. dry; 15 lb., 4 oz. with full water load.


    Snivel Items/Sundries:
    • Cell Phone & Wallet: Approx. 9 oz.
    • Paperback Novel, LED Lantern, & Emergency Charger for Phone: Approx. 1 lb.
    • CCF Sit Pad: Approx. 2.25 oz.
    • Bear Bagging Equipment: Bag, line, trash bag, and 'biner. Approx. 7 oz.


    Total: Approx. 2 lb., 2.25 oz.

    Dry Total: Approx. 20 lb., 10.5 oz. with Skyline; 22 lb., 10.5 oz. with Elate.

    Total With Full Water Load: Approx. 31 lb., 10.5 oz. with Skyline; 33 lb., 10.5 oz. with Elate.


    Meal List:
    Code:
    Item                          Calories        Weight (Oz.)
                               Day 1 Meals
    Breakfast
    Road Meal                     1300            0
    
    Lunch
    SPAM & Cheese Sandwich        940             10.5
    
    Dinner
    Real Chicken Fajita Pasta     445             11
    
    Snacks
    Snickers Bar                  280             2
    Trail Mix                     700             6.3
    
                                Day 2 Meals
    Breakfast
    "Coffee"                      190             1.75
    Met-RX Protein Bar            320             3
    
    Lunch
    Nutella Sandwich              550             4.85
    
    Dinner
    Instant Mashed Taters         470             4.3
    Reeces Pieces                 380             3
    
    Snacks
    Cliff Bar                     250             2.5
    Trail Mix                     700             6.3
    
                                  Day 3 Meals
    Breakfast
    "Coffee"                      190             1.75
    Cliff Bar                     250             2.5
    
    Lunch                                 
    Instant Mashed Taters         470             4.3
    Reeces Pieces                 380             3
    
    Dinner
    TVP Chicken Fried Rice        480             5
    Met-RX Protein Bar            320             3
    
    Snacks
    Trail Mix x2                  1400            12.6
                                   Day 4 Meals
    Breakfast
    "Coffee"                      190             1.75
    Cliff Bar                     250             2.5
    
    Lunch
    Nutella Sandwich              550             4.85
    
    Dinner (If Needed)
    Instant Mashed Taters         470             4.3
    
    Snacks
    Cliff Bar                     250             2.5
    Met-RX Protein Bar            320             3

    Total Weight Including Consumables:
    38 lb., 4 oz. Skyline
    40 lb., 4 oz. Elate

    Well, it's gonna be heavy...
    Last edited by FLRider; 07-28-2011 at 14:06. Reason: Forgot Items

  5. #5
    Senior Member JaxHiker's Avatar
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    Holy moly that's a lot of weight for just a few days!

    Quote Originally Posted by FLRider View Post
    Are there a lot of tight spaces on the trail that I might need to worry about the tarp and hammock catching on bush? Their carry systems are fairly robust, but not really up to bushwhacking through saw palmetto.
    I don't recall any tight areas in the section from Alexander to Salt Springs. The only place I recall fighting the palmetto is Osceola.

    Personal Care/Repair/First Aid Items:
    • Water Carry Systems: Widemouth Nalgene approx. 8.5 oz. (includes 12 feet of duct tape), narrowmouth Nalgene approx. 6 oz., 3L Camelback approx. 8 oz. Approx. total 1 lb, 6.5 oz dry, including repair/FAK item. Approx. 12 lb. 6.5 oz. full.
      Gatorade bottles weigh less than Nalgene. The Hiker Pro adapter won't fit (well, I haven't tested that) but I just ran the hose into the opening.
    • Water Purification System: Katadyn Hiker Pro. Approx. 14.5 oz. including the hydrolink adapter for my Camelback. Chosen for speed of purification rather than weight. It gets hot here in FL in the summer.
    • First Aid/Repair Kit: Contains New Skin (superglue w/disinfectant) this seals the wound but also seals any germs/bacteria along with it. better to just use a bandage to let it heal from the inside out instead of outside in., Ace Bandage, Tweezers, Dental Floss, Needle, Band Aid Blister Pads, Gauze Pads, AfterBite knock-off a few benadryl should do the trick and save weight, antifungal cream i'd leave this home, spray Neosporin, and Ibuprofen. Approx. 6.5 oz.
    • Personal Hygene Kit: Contains toothbrush, 6 oz. Dr. Bronner's unscented soap (doubles as toothpaste), small mouthwash bottle, and talcum powder. Approx. 9 oz.
    • Outerwear Chemical Kit: Small tube 30 SPF sunscreen, 100% DEET spray pump, and Chap Stick. Approx. 6 oz.
    • Emergency Kit (Carried Next to Skin): Clasp knife, firesteel firestarter, two condoms, iodine tablets, whistle, map, compass and petroleum jelly-slathered cotton balls. Approx. 15 oz. (mostly the knife).
    • "Restroom" Kit: Trowel use a stick, biodegradable wipes, and hand sanitizer. Approx. 1 lb.


    Total: Approx. 5 lb., 4 oz. dry; 15 lb., 4 oz. with full water load.


    Snivel Items/Sundries:
    • Cell Phone & Wallet: Approx. 9 oz.
    • Paperback Novel i found i never read on the trail so now i leave at home, LED Lantern, & Emergency Charger for Phone: Approx. 1 lb.
    • CCF Sit Pad: Approx. 2.25 oz.
    • Bear Bagging Equipment: Bag, line, trash bag, and 'biner. Approx. 7 oz.
    JaxHiker aka Kudzu - WFA
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    Blazing Trails with Kudzu @ www.idratherbehiking.com
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  6. #6
    MAD777's Avatar
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    You need to hire a sherpa!
    If I were you I would really look at your gear and sort it into two piles - one that you need to survive and the other, everything else. Then leave the second pile at home.

    Everyone has to hike there own hike, but for reference purposes, a three day in FLorida never takes me over 25 pounds, skin out, with food and water. And I'm not coming close to pushing any limits.

    Your body will thank you!
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  7. #7
    Senior Member JaxHiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    Your body will thank you!
    Your feet especially. Lugging that much weight in sugar sand will kill ya.
    JaxHiker aka Kudzu - WFA
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  8. #8
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxHiker View Post
    Holy moly that's a lot of weight for just a few days!


    I don't recall any tight areas in the section from Alexander to Salt Springs. The only place I recall fighting the palmetto is Osceola.
    Thanks. I appreciate the information.

    The Gatorade bottles thing is probably worth looking into. Not worried about the adapter (using the hydrolink adapter instead, for my Camelback) The only thing with that is I don't drink Gatorade (my body has issues with absorbing too much potassium, so I avoid sports drinks). Still, my wife does, so....

    The New Skin, I agree, seals any extra bacteria in. However, I clean and disinfect (with Neosporin and a dab of alcohol on a gauze pad) any wounds before using the stuff. Then, the New Skin also has a disinfectant in it. I find that it seals the wounds better than a band-aid and requires less babying (helpful if the wound is on a section of your body that sees regular use, like your fingers or toes).

    The Benedryl is probably a good idea. Have you used it with, say, chigger bites? How does it stack up?

    The antifungal cream could probably be left at home. I'm just worried that swamp crotch will creep up on me out there (I usually work in a 100+ degree kitchen in the summer, so I have an idea of how bad that can get if not treated/prevented properly).

    The stick vs. trowel idea is something that I've debated with myself for a while now. I'll probably be debating it right up until the day I leave.


    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    You need to hire a sherpa!
    If I were you I would really look at your gear and sort it into two piles - one that you need to survive and the other, everything else. Then leave the second pile at home.

    Everyone has to hike there own hike, but for reference purposes, a three day in FLorida never takes me over 25 pounds, skin out, with food and water. And I'm not coming close to pushing any limits.

    Your body will thank you!
    You're probably right.

    And, yes, I'm going to go through it and clip out the stuff that I don't really need. We'll see how much weight I drop as I go through it.

  9. #9
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    After some thought, I've gone through and eliminated some of the weight by seeking alternatives and prioritizing. Here're the changes that I've decided to make for a first-draft list:

    Packs/Covers:
    • Outdoor Products Skyline 8.0: 30L internal volume, no need for pack cover with poncho, approx. 2.5 lbs.
    • Milsurplus Poncho: Rain gear, pack cover, and emergency ground sheet all-in-one, approx. 15 oz.

    Packs/Covers total: Approx. 3.5 lbs.


    Clothing:
    • Shorts: One pair running shorts, approx. 9 oz. One pair boardshorts (going to stop at a couple of the swimming stops that the trail book details), approx. 5.25 oz. Deleted; going to swim in the running shorts. They'll dry quickly enough. Weight lost approx. 5.25 oz.
    • All-In-One Item (Bandannas): Approx. 1 oz. per, 5 brought. Changed to 3. Approx 2 oz. saved.


    Total Saved: Approx. 7.25 oz.


    Personal Care/Repair/First Aid Items:
    • Water Carry Systems: Widemouth Nalgene approx. 8.5 oz. (includes 12 feet of duct tape), narrowmouth Nalgene approx. 6 oz.. Possibly going to switch to Gatorade bottles. Gatorade bottles approximately 2 oz each, +2.5 oz. duct tape for repair kit. 3L Camelback approx. 8 oz. Approx. total 1 lb, 6.5 oz dry, including repair/FAK item. Approx. 12 lb. 6.5 oz. full. Possible savings approx. 8 oz.
    • "Restroom" Kit: Trowel may go to stick method, biodegradable wipes don't need all of the pack; going to cut it in half for four days, and hand sanitizer. Approx. savings 5 oz. Possible savings approx. 4.5 oz.


    Total Savings: Approx. 5 oz. Possible savings approx. 12.5 oz.


    Snivel Items/Sundries:
    • Cell Phone & Wallet: Going to leave the wallet at home and simply carry enough cash for the stops I make and my ID. Approx. savings 4 oz.
    • Paperback Novel, LED Lantern, & Emergency Charger for Phone: Going to use my bike's headlight and delete the E-charger; I shouldn't be using my phone enough for that. I do read when I'm camping, though. Approx. savings 6 oz.


    Total Savings: Approx. 10 oz.

    Dry Total: Approx. 19 lb., 4.25 oz. with Skyline.

    Total With Full Water Load: Approx. 30 lb., 4.25 oz. with Skyline.

    Total Weight Including Consumables:
    36 lb., 15.75 oz. Skyline

    Well, it's a start.

  10. #10
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Alright. My initial trip planning was predicated around the water sources shown on the trail map (no. 20). However, after a closer look at the data book companion, the farthest away that water sources seem to be from each other is about nine or ten miles at any given point.

    Has anyone done this section of trail in the summer? I know we're under drought conditions right now, so that may affect the amount of water available along the trail vs. last September (when it was published).

    I figure that I could drop about four pounds of weight easily if the trail book is accurate for summer conditions. That would bring me down to the sub-35 pound area, which is somewhere that I am completely comfortable with my body's ability to take over a several day trek. 35 to 40 pounds is an area that I'm leery of (that's getting up into 20 to 25% of my body weight) and over 40 pounds is somewhere that I'd really rather not be.

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