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  1. #1
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    Best Florida trail section for hammock hike?

    Any florida trail hikers out there? I'd like to hike for more or less than a month on the florida trail with my hammock at the end of December. I've heard some sections aren't hammock friendly.

    Can any one can recommend their favorite 350-450 mile hammock friendly section?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    STinGa's Avatar
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    There are lots of car campers in Florida. FLrider probably does the most hiking. Maybe he will chime in.

    Good luck.
    STinGa
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  3. #3
    Member skrewloose's Avatar
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    Hey Dubcut, I'm sorry you've not had a recent response.
    It is difficult to get decent miles on the FT w/o road walks. However, the longest, uninterpreted sec. of the FT is Ocala National Forest(ONF). That sec of trail is something like 72 mi. w/ lots of beautiful prairies and springs off trail along the way. Another great sec is along side the Suwanee River, depending where you would start you'd get about 40 plus mi. of all trail. Less mi. than ONF, but the water sources are very abundant, making the planning easier. Plus it is absolutely a beautiful sec of trail w/ good undulation along the way.
    I've hiked as far north as the Suwanee and as far south as Lake "O" and everything in between. Without a FT map, from the FT headquarters in your hands, you would be very challenged on making such a hike attainable. Campsites are fairly easy to locate w/o a map, but coming to road junctions and knowing which way to go if there are no blazes incite are pretty scary even with a map, and most important, knowing where the water sources are located could be difficult w/o these detailed maps. You can purchase these maps from the FTA website. Once you find out where you want to start, buy the map or maps for that sec of trail (maps are $6). ftashop.floridatrail.org/thru-trail-maps/ They are front and back and constructed well, you may only need just one.
    There are also a lot of great sub 40 mi. sections, I live right behind one of them, Goldhead to the Keystone Airpark, but to cont. onto another good sec of 10 plus mi. of trail you would most likely spend over half you day getting there.
    The longest continous hike I did on the FT was SOBO from Rodman Dam thru the ONF and into Seminole County ending south of Oveido (approx. 130mi.). That happened to be a pretty fun hike when I think about it. The road walks were not severe, mostly on a paved bike trail or sidewalk in the city, and the stealth sites I picked were really awesome. By the way I always stealth camp and it is generally @ a water source I located from the map and rechecked from goggle sat. Since there are very few people hiking the FT, unlike the AT, you can feel more comfortable camping where you want, the chances of another hiker coming by are quite slim (LNT). By the way after my 12' AT thru I learned I can find a safe place to stealth camp, "from humans": in The Smokies, The Whites, and in The Unauthorized Campsites of Maine. I didn't spent any time in a shelter, but the privies were a welcome site. Every night on my thru I wanted to be alone, in complete solitude. Others may have wanted companionship, especially when night falls. I found it was nice making friends during the day, which was inevitable, especially at the beginning, but I liked piece and quietness when I found my spot for the night. This is one of the many reasons why I enjoy hiking on the FT. I man can go for a few days and not see anything but wilderness and the creatures that occupy this ecosystem. The ability to stay disconnected is very attainable on the FT. I would imagine the CDT to be comparable to the solitude.
    If you are like minded, this is a free retreat from reality...I guess more free if you live here.
    I hope you find a section of your liking. If there is any detailed questions that FTA can't answer, please PM me or I'm sure lilricky, duffy, or Grinder may have some knowledgeable FT info as well.

    Happy Trails,
    Skrewloose

  4. #4
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    Lilricky
    http://www.lilricky.com/ is probably your best source for gps map info. I've done several sections and there are lots of road walking and little scenery I was interested south of the Kissimmee area (Hwy 60). I have some friends trying to through hike it but they're reduced to doing it in little dribs and drabs.

    As mentioned....Ocala is probably the nicest and longest section. I did the last 50 or so miles with a group a while back up in the panhandle (Blackwater River area). There are lots of nice places all along the way, just some require more road jaunts to get there than others. I don't remember the length of the entire trail but you're not going to get 350 miles of straight wilderness anywhere in FL.

    Florida is full of trees. Everywhere I've been has been plenty hammock friendly with the exception of state parks. They have a pilot program where we can hang at some and the list is growing but you'll have to call ahead. There are several threads on here but look for the one from Samsara.

    Good luck, happy hiking.....

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=skrewloose;1151189
    There are also a lot of great sub 40 mi. sections, I live right behind one of them, Goldhead to the Keystone Airpark,
    Skrewloose[/QUOTE]

    Hey buddy, good to see you in here!
    I tried to hike this section last year, and they had the Camp Blanding section closed, rerouted to the rails-to-trails along the highway. I tried to hike it anyway, but the blazes had been removed, and I lost the trail after a while. any info on this? Was one of my favorites sections of FT.

    Sorry to hijack, but I think this may be germane.

    -Duffy
    Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go! - Rudyard Kipling

  6. #6
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STinGa View Post
    There are lots of car campers in Florida. FLrider probably does the most hiking. Maybe he will chime in.

    Good luck.
    STinGa
    No...I just do the most trip reports...I'd say that probably lilricky, JaxHiker, or BlackWolf has the most miles on the FT. But that's an awfully nice thing to say. Thank you.


    That being said, I also recommend the Ocala area. I don't know about 350+ miles, but I can vouch for the southern portion of ONF being very pretty. I've done ~45 miles of trail through there, and it's still one of my favorite places to visit. The trails north of Ocala up to Rice Creek Conservation Area are also fairly pretty (though there is quite a bit of forest road walking, and you'll definitely want your blaze orange shirt going through that section in another couple of weeks). But that's, honestly, only about 55 miles of trail that I'm really familiar with. Pretty trail, and fairly isolated most of the time (especially given the lower traffic than trails like the AT or PCT), but not exactly the same length that you're looking for.

    I've also been on the trail south of Dunnellon, on the Withalacoche state trail rail-trail, but I can't really recommend that for hiking. Biking, it's absolutely beautiful. Hiking? Not so much. Unless you really want to be in suburban areas...

    Unfortunately, the FT is not a great trail to avoid road walks. It's pretty, and it's isolated from people in those (many) places where it gets away from roads. However, I don't know of any section of trail the length that you're talking about that would be without some (serious, in places) road walks.

    Best bet, in my opinion? Assuming that the Camp Blanding section is back open, do the section between Ocala South at the Clearwater Lake trail head and the end of the Camp Blanding section where the trail exits the woods for the second time and reunites with the Palatka-Lake Butler rail trail. That'd give you an ~100 mile hike. Not exactly what you're looking for, but it's what I've got...
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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  7. #7
    Member skrewloose's Avatar
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    Hey Duffy, unfortunately the FAA has pushed to eliminate the FT from entering the Airpark, for security reasons. Technically, the FT is open and blazed thru goldhead, into camp blanding, and there are still blazes into the airpark, however there are signs posted saying "do not enter" upon leaving camp blanding @ the fence. Signs are also posted throughout the trail as you navigate around the airpark.
    I guess I'm not big on following rules. I've been continuously hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, etc. on this sec of trail (airport-goldhead). The trail has gotten a little over grown but should be navigable.
    I have a friend who is a administrative assistant @ the airport, she said that when the FAA did the last inspection of the Keystone Airport they did not like having a hiking trail so close to the airport. No one from the airport has said anything but hello when I park my car and get my gear out. It's a small airport, I believe the staff turns a blind eye when they see hikers.
    *I hope you're doing well Duffy, say hello to Johnny Walker. Oh, I just had another lil' girl, Dec.4th @ 3:05am her name is Kourtney and doing well.*

  8. #8
    YeahIdIDThat's Avatar
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    Dang!

    Quote Originally Posted by skrewloose View Post
    Hey Dubcut, I'm sorry you've not had a recent response.
    It is difficult to get decent miles on the FT w/o road walks. However, the longest, uninterpreted sec. of the FT is Ocala National Forest(ONF). That sec of trail is something like 72 mi. w/ lots of beautiful prairies and springs off trail along the way. Another great sec is along side the Suwanee River, depending where you would start you'd get about 40 plus mi. of all trail. Less mi. than ONF, but the water sources are very abundant, making the planning easier. Plus it is absolutely a beautiful sec of trail w/ good undulation along the way.
    I've hiked as far north as the Suwanee and as far south as Lake "O" and everything in between. Without a FT map, from the FT headquarters in your hands, you would be very challenged on making such a hike attainable. Campsites are fairly easy to locate w/o a map, but coming to road junctions and knowing which way to go if there are no blazes incite are pretty scary even with a map, and most important, knowing where the water sources are located could be difficult w/o these detailed maps. You can purchase these maps from the FTA website. Once you find out where you want to start, buy the map or maps for that sec of trail (maps are $6). ftashop.floridatrail.org/thru-trail-maps/ They are front and back and constructed well, you may only need just one.
    There are also a lot of great sub 40 mi. sections, I live right behind one of them, Goldhead to the Keystone Airpark, but to cont. onto another good sec of 10 plus mi. of trail you would most likely spend over half you day getting there.
    The longest continous hike I did on the FT was SOBO from Rodman Dam thru the ONF and into Seminole County ending south of Oveido (approx. 130mi.). That happened to be a pretty fun hike when I think about it. The road walks were not severe, mostly on a paved bike trail or sidewalk in the city, and the stealth sites I picked were really awesome. By the way I always stealth camp and it is generally @ a water source I located from the map and rechecked from goggle sat. Since there are very few people hiking the FT, unlike the AT, you can feel more comfortable camping where you want, the chances of another hiker coming by are quite slim (LNT). By the way after my 12' AT thru I learned I can find a safe place to stealth camp, "from humans": in The Smokies, The Whites, and in The Unauthorized Campsites of Maine. I didn't spent any time in a shelter, but the privies were a welcome site. Every night on my thru I wanted to be alone, in complete solitude. Others may have wanted companionship, especially when night falls. I found it was nice making friends during the day, which was inevitable, especially at the beginning, but I liked piece and quietness when I found my spot for the night. This is one of the many reasons why I enjoy hiking on the FT. I man can go for a few days and not see anything but wilderness and the creatures that occupy this ecosystem. The ability to stay disconnected is very attainable on the FT. I would imagine the CDT to be comparable to the solitude.
    If you are like minded, this is a free retreat from reality...I guess more free if you live here.
    I hope you find a section of your liking. If there is any detailed questions that FTA can't answer, please PM me or I'm sure lilricky, duffy, or Grinder may have some knowledgeable FT info as well.

    Happy Trails,
    Skrewloose
    Thanks for all the info!
    You rock!
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