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[ft-l] trip report

Great Report, Solar Bear.  It was nice seeing ya'll
again over the weekend.  Sounds like you're covering
alot of those day hikes you have planned.  Let me know
when you're hiking out this way again!

Trail Talker

> The last two weeks have been busy for me.  When I'm
> not out hiking, my other 
> favorite activity is getting together with hikers. 
> There is no better place 
> to do that than the Gathering, the annual meeting of
> the Appalachian Long 
> Distance Hikers Association.  It took two days
> driving up to the campus of 
> Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, but it was well
> worth the time and effort 
> and I spent the wonderful weekend of Oct. 5-7 there.
> During the many seminars and slide shows, it became
> apparent that the Eastern 
> Continental Trail is the hottest new destination for
> long distance hikers.  
> This is important for us here in Florida to know
> because the starting point 
> for the ECT is Key West.  There is no doubt in my
> mind that the FT will be 
> seeing an explosion of growth in the next few years.
>  We better get prepared!
> Our friends to the north in Canada have poured fuel
> to the fire by minting a 
> series of medals which were presented at the
> Gathering to successful hikers 
> of the International Appalachian Trail.  The IAT is
> the final segment of a 
> northbound ECT thruhike.  A hiker who starts his/her
> IAT hike at Katahdin is 
> awarded a bronze medal.  Start at Springer Mountain
> and you get a silver 
> medal.  And if you hiked the whole ECT from Key West
> you get a gold medal.  
> The ceremony was very classy with the wife of the
> French Canadian dignitary 
> awarding the medals and kissing each recipient on
> the cheeks European style.
> So, in this unexpected way, our Canadian friends
> have created a big incentive 
> for hikers to come and hike our trails.  I just
> wanted y'all to see that a 
> wave a thruhikers is coming!  All of the seminars
> dealing with the IAT or the 
> ECT were filled to standing room capacity.  It is a
> huge shame that our 
> Florida Trail went unrepresented.  There would have
> been great interest and 
> we could have educated the throngs who will arrive
> in 6 weeks.
> The leaves in New England were at their peak that
> weekend.  As I headed south 
> to visit my Mom in PA the colors faded to green. 
> Their peak would come after 
> I left.  I did get in a short hike while in PA. 
> Ricketts Glen State Park has 
> trails that follow along a stream containing many
> beautiful waterfalls.  It 
> was a wonderful hike with Mom.
> On Saturday, Sandy and I headed up to the Long
> Distance Hikers Committee 
> (LDHC) meeting at the Suwannee River Campground.  On
> the way up, we stopped 
> at Flat Island in Leesburg to hike a trail we had
> never hiked before.  It was 
> a beautiful trail, perfect for the backpacking
> seminars Joan Hobson teaches 
> here.  Even the mosquitoes were friendly.  On other
> trails, the mosquito 
> community would send out a welcoming committee, but
> here at Flat Island, the 
> whole community came out in force to offer a raucous
> welcome.  We were even 
> invited to dinner -- no, to BE dinner -- but we had
> to decline the invitation 
> and escape to the Suwannee.
=== message truncated ===

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