Beginner Backpacking on the Florida Trail

by | Feb 8, 2022

Introducing “Team Rain or Shine!”

I am incredibly proud of this fierce group of women. This was their first time backpacking and the weather decided to give them a little taste of everything.

Day 1 was 83°F, and when you are carrying 30lbs+ on your back and walking over 10 miles, that is HOT. They battled the heat like champs. Towards the end we had to slow our pace and stop every half mile to hydrate cool-down, but by golly we made it to Alexander Springs! And ya’ll that spring was glorious! It was 72° of crystal clear spring water to cool-off and soak our tired muscles.

Day 2 was cloudy and chilly. It was a lovely break from the heat of yesterday. We passed through the leaning forest and on to Farles Prairie where we ate dinner and filtered water before finishing out the last mile to our primitive campsite. We arrived at camp with just enough time to set-up camp, start a fire and prepare for the rainy night ahead of us. The rain started around 6 pm and continued through the morning.

Day 3 was wet. A couple of us woke up to puddles covering the inside of our tents, but everyone kept a smile on their face. Trying to finish by noon we decided to start hiking before the sun came up. So we packed up our wet camp, grabbed our headlamps and began their first night hike. We hiked in the dark for only an hour, but we never saw the sun that day. It rained off-and-on until the end of our journey at Juniper Springs.

When we finished, they were tired, cold and wet, but so proud of what they had accomplished! At lunch everyone asked, “So what hike are we doing next?!”

Want to hike this route yourself? Click here for trip details!

Yellow Divider | Spark Explore

Hike 29 miles through Ocala National Forest on the Florida Trail

⫸ Day 1 ⫷

Park & Start: Clearwater Lake Rec Area
Hike 10.5 miles
Camp at Alexander Springs Rec Area | reserve campsite ahead

⫸ Day 2 ⫷

Hike 8.6 miles
Get water & eat dinner at Farles Prairie
Hike 1.4 miles
Camp at NOBO mile 432.2

⫸ Day 3 ⫷

Hike 8.6 miles
End: Juniper Springs Rec Area
Trail angel shuttle back to our cars at Clearwater Rec Area