The Florida Trail 〣 Ocala National Forest

by | Feb 8, 2021

Proud is an understatement.

I had the privilege of leading four amazing women into the wilderness for a weekend of nature and pushing ourselves past our comfort zones. Later this year we will embark on a 5 day hike on the Arizona Trail, but we needed to test our bodies and our gear first. Most of the women in our group had never backpacked before, and you do not want the first backpacking experience to be thousands of miles from home in untested gear (I mean, you probably could do it, but it won’t be as much fun 😉).

This hike was all about:
⫸ testing out our current gear decisions
⫸ deciding what gear we can do without
⫸ learning how we hike as a group
⫸ realizing how physically taxing it can be

There is a bit of a misconception about backpacking in the world of Instagram and travel bloggers, where people post more about the epic moments than the hardships. You can’t really understand it until you experience it yourself. Between the beautiful sunrises at the top of a mountain and the peaceful seclusion of the forest, you have a smelly human carrying 30lbs for 12-30 miles a day. Your body is exhausted, your feet have blisters and you are always hungry. But there is nothing like the sense of accomplishment, of taking your body to the brink, while also being immersed in nature and feeling complete peace at the end of the day.

You guys, I really pushed these ladies and they never backed down! We completed 41 miles on the Florida Trail through the Ocala National Forest in 48 hours and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Not only did they all finish, but everyone is excited for the next one. I’d call that a win! 😊

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

Yellow Divider | Spark Explore

Hike 41 Miles in the Ocala National Forest

⫸ Day 1 ⫷

Start: Clearwater Trailhead
Hike 11 miles
Camp & swim at Alexander Springs Recreation Area

⫸ Day 2 ⫷

Hike 19 miles
Camp & swim at Juniper Spring Recreation Area

⫸ Day 3 ⫷

Hike 11 miles
End: Hopkins Prairie
Lunch at Tacos Chiapas