Florida trip input?

8:20 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I took next week off work to help my daughter move, but she's had to postpone her move so now I have a week for backpacking. Any thoughts on something not too far from Central Florida?

Locally, I've done the Florida Trail in the Juniper Creek Wilderness area, Myakka State Park, and the Richloam tract of the Withlacoochie State Forest.

I'd love to find something that would allow me to "break the curse" by being out for four nights. See, I've done 1-, 2- and 3-night trips, but every time I've tried anything longer, something has gone wrong. I've lost the trail, been driven off the trail by a storm that ripped my tarp away, etc.

But even a nice two-nighter would be good.

5:12 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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http://www.floridahikes.com

For your 4 - night hike...

http://www.floridahikes.com/florida-trail-ocala-national-forest/

According to: http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/ Ocala National Forest is zone C and the last day of deer hunting season is January 22nd.  Quail and squirrel season is still open until March.  I'm not sure if Q&S is considered general gun season so I would call.  If it's not you can camp anywhere along the trail.

8:26 a.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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go to cumberland island national seashore.

1st border island in Ga - right across the river from Amelia Island

3.5 hour drive from Orlando

 

I live in Florida and I absolutely hate backpacking in Florida (even though I'm a trail maintenance volunteer at a Florida State Park) - boring and not enough areas that are are mostly hardwood and pine. Mostly ugly brush.

http://www.nps.gov/cuis/index.htm

8:44 a.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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Is Cumberland Island too far? There are a lot of good trails and primitive sites with water sources. You could pretty much make your hike as long or as short as you wanted. Reservations at Sea Camp are made months in advance, but the primitive sites pretty much go unused. Alot of history to explore as well as the wildlife.  You would pick up your permit at the ferry building in St Marys Ga. Then take the ferry across. Once there, there are no resources except what you bring.  Ferry runs twice a day.

Robert E. Lee's father died on the island as did Nathanal Greene. John Kennedy was married in the Primative Baptist church on the north end. Several mansions remain from when Carnagee (sp) lived there. Plum Orchard is an amazing sight to see after walking seven miles of wooded paths and dirt roads (complete with indoor pool). The building is managed by the park service. Tours inside are conducted only once a month, but since it is close to a primitive camp site, I have used its expansive front yard for star gazing and meteor watching. Lets see, wild horses and wild domesticated pigs, gators and armadillos. Because of the bugs going to Cumberland in the summer is brutal, but this time of the year it can be very pleasant.

I also like that you can hike on the beach for miles and not see anyone. The beaches are silly with sand dollars. If I havent pushed the hike enough yet I would mention that the northern most primitive site, Brickyard, has archalogical evidence of indian visits from the distant past as well as an awsome view across Cumberland Sound towards Kings Bay Submarine Base as well as the Crooked River inlet and Ga coast.

10:09 a.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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"Brickyard"

 

LOL!   It's actually "Brickhill Bluff".

I've been to this island approximately 70 times. Can't get enough of it :)

 

If you go, don't plan on Hickory Hill. They just had a fire there and that campground along with Willow Pond Trail are closed.

Some idiot decided he wanted a campfire in an area where fires are prohibited.

10:14 a.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Cumberland Island is a great suggestion. Thanks! I'm feeling a bit disgruntled with backpacking in Florida myself.

Here's my problem now: It's Saturday, so I have to wait until Monday to make reservations, and the ferry doesn't run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays now. So I'd have to drive up there early Monday, call and hope there's a spot available, and if so, get on the 11:45 a.m. ferry.

What makes me think that is unlikely -- and is a bit off-putting even if I get a reservations -- is that Monday through Wednesday is a "modern weapons" hog hunt.

Any input on that? Are my chances of getting a reservation for a backcountry site good even on such short notice during a hunt? Any nearby alternatives if I drive up there and can't get a spot?

If not, any other suggestions? I hadn't even thought about coastal hikes.

11:59 a.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Odds of you getting a backcountry reservation are 50/50 this time of year.

 

Personally, I wouldn't drive up there without a reservation, nor would I want to be up there during a hunt. Those people aren't exactlly your average friendly Joe backpacker.

Sorry, that's  the only place that I'm aware of in that area, but I haven't bothered to check for any other places.

DO go to Cumberland at some point. You'll be hooked on the place.

I'll be up there on March 8th.  I'm taking some newbie backpackers and going to be their tour guide. Your welcome to join the group.

Lots of night hiking!

3:44 p.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks. It's definitely on my list of places to get to. I'm finding my biggest problem is putting things on the schedule so I actually do them.

I'm "settling" for Seminole State Forest near my home. It's a relatively small area, but it has no roads and lots of loop and intersecting trails and primitive campsites. I just need to run up Monday morning and get a permit, and I'm out for the week.

7:47 a.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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Hmmm, please update me about your trip.

I'm always willing to give a place close to home a shot.

I drive by the trail head (on route 46) every day on my way home.

I work in Lake Mary and live in Clermont.

 

e

9:06 a.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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I'm in Sanford, so we're not that far apart.

At the last minute, I decided to go back to Myakka. Very different this time -- much drier.

Trip report to follow ...

Thanks for all the help, folks. There's some good ideas in here.

December 20, 2014
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