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[ft-l] Seminole-Ocala Backpack Trip: November 1-9, 2001

I'll second Tami's comments on Joan Hobson's 85-mile Seminole-Ocala backpack
trip. It was great. Of the many hearty souls that hiked with us at different
times, only two (Larry and I) completed the entire trip from start to
finish. Reasons for abandonment were weather, blisters, exhaustion and other
commitments. Our thanks to Joan for the organization and leadership and to
all the wonderful people who gave us logistical support along the way. Here
below are my day-to-day notes:

Mike Nelson

Seminole-Ocala Backpack Trip: November 1-9, 2001

Nov 1, Thursday

Joan, Ken, Russ, Eric, Larry and Mike meet at the campground at Rodman Dam
at 10 am. Sandy doesn't show. Joan's husband transports us all to the south
entrance of the Seminole State Park on SR 46. We start hiking at 11:30 am
and hike about 7 miles to a lake about 2.5 miles past the Sulphur Run camp
site. A sign says No Trespassing. No picnic table or log to sit on.

Nov 2, Friday

We hike about 14 miles to the Clearwater campground. Some of the trails in
the Seminole park are very poorly blazed and maintained. We have to do a lot
of pushing through bushes and all pick up lots of chiggers. We see many
great mounds of bear scat. We meet Patti on the trail where she has come 6
miles in from Clearwater the night before. Heavy rain in the afternoon which
continues until well after dark. Spirits are low. Ken and Eric drop out
because of the weather and Russ drops out because a friend had died. Sandy
comes to the campground but decides not to go on the hike. Florence (and her
sister Joanne?) come to the campground. Florence, Lou and Ruth help
transport some people back to Rodman dam and others to Paisley. Tami takes
Larry and they meet up with Joan and others in Paisley and invites them to
dinner and does their laundry.

Nov 3, Saturday

We hike about 11 miles to Alexander Springs campground. Florence (and
Joanne?) start earlier. Joan, Patti, Tami, Ruth, Larry and Mike hike
together. We get a good rain shower, but are able to set up tents in the
afternoon without rain. Lou meets us at the campground. Chris, who just had
knee surgery, provides logistical support. Eric returns to finish the trip,
missing only today's hike. Patti drops out because of blisters.

Nov 4, Sunday

We hike about 8 miles to Farles Lake campground.  Eric, Florence and Joanne
start early and Joan, Tami, Ruth, Larry and Mike hike together. Joan is
tired, so Tami carries her 22-lb pack in addition to her own 15-lb pack.
Joan decides to drop out, but Patti joins up again! Mike Nelson meets Mike
Nickau? from Fairbanks, Alaska, who is hiking from Clearwater to Rodman Dam.
Farles Lake campground is very windy.

Nov 5, Monday

Florence, Joanne, Patti, Larry, Eric and Mike hike about 8.4 miles to
Juniper Springs, then Patti leads them on a shortcut of about 3.5 miles to
lovely Hidden Pond. Contrary to rumors, the military has not taken over
Juniper Springs.

Nov 6, Tuesday

The same group hikes about 5 miles to Hopkins Prairie campground where
Joanne and Patti finish their hike. The rest of us continue about another 6
miles to a small pond near the turnoff to Salt Springs.

Nov 7, Wednesday

Florence, Larry, Eric and Mike hike about 9 miles to 88 Store where Joan
joins up again! This is a true oasis with beer, coffee, showers, laundramat
and bar-b-que. We are fortunate to be here on a Wednesday when the local
boys gather for a blue grass jam session. Mike-from-Alaska arrives and
accepts a ride from a local good semaritan to Grassy Pond.

Nov 8, Thursday

Joan, Florence, Larry, Eric and Mike hike about 3 miles to Grassy Pond
campground and then about 5 miles to Delaney Lake campground, where many
hunters are anxiously awaiting the beginning of hunting season on Saturday.
(Bow-and-arrow and muzzle-loaded weapons season has already started.)

Nov 9, Friday

The only day that the same people hike together as the day before! (Actually
Florence started out before the rest of us.) About 8 miles to Rodman Dam,
where we find a note from Mike-from-Alaska congratulating us on the
successful completion of our quest. Then we drive down to 88 Store again for
beer and pork sandwiches before we bid each other farewell.

----- Original Message -----
From: "tamara jicha" <jichat@yahoo.com>
To: <ft-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2001 5:19 PM
Subject: [ft-l] Hike-Clearwater to Farles Lake

> Hi all!
> Just thought I'd say a few words on my hike with Joan
> Hobson and crew last weekend.  Had a great time...  It
> was a little rainy on Saturday, but warm so we dried
> out easily enough.  Didn't see much wildlife, probably
> due to dogs and hunters practicing for the first day
> of the season.  Thank you to the trail maintainers in
> this area.  All the blowdowns have been recently
> cleared and the trail was very nice.
> The folks at Alexander Springs were very nice and
> allowed 5 hikers per site.  We had a great time dining
> together and a warm fire afterwards.  Sleeping was
> great in my Hennessy Hammock although I'm still slow
> on the set-up.
> Sunday started out sunny and warm.  Saw lots of pretty
> birds and a few day hikers along the way.
> Arrived at Farles Lake just as it started to rain
> again.
> Nice trip over all.  The G-4 carried well and the best
> part upon returning home was NO CHIGGERS or BLISTERS!
> Trail Talker
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