20 Miles on the Florida Trail

Citrus County Wildlife Management Area, Withlachocee State Forest, Taylor Campsite, 20 miles

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On one of the coldest weekends of the year my dad and I set out from Mutual Mine campsite in Withlacoochee State Forest to hike part of the Florida Trail.

For this trip I wore long sleeves, leggings, a wool cap, Darn Tough socks, and Vasque hiking boots. I packed my sleeping bag, my poncho liner (also known as a woobie), a vest, mid-weight layer, sleeping pad, mug, and a short sleeved shirt (juuuuust in-case it decided to warm up.) (It didn’t).

We hiked roughly 13 miles the first day to get to Taylor Campsite, a primitive site with plenty of space for many chilly hikers and a fire.

The day was cloudy and the landscape relatively flat, minus a few hills and the Lizzie Hart sink. Our pace was about three miles an hour and we stopped for a ten minute break at the top of each hour.

Once we arrived at our campsite we were greeted by two hikers who had already set up camp for the night and, thankfully, had a fire going. We set our Big Agnes tent up as fast as we could and then put our backpacking chairs up in front of the fire.

After some s’mores and long exposure pictures of the fire, hikers midnight (9pm) rolled around and the cold had gotten to us, so we climbed into our woobie lined sleeping bags for a brisk night in nature.

The next morning was beautiful because the sun was coming up, but convincing myself to climb out of my sleeping bag into the frosty air was a challenge. Nevertheless we packed up, had some oatmeal, said goodbye to our new friends and set off, hot tea in hand.

To finish off our loop we walked about seven miles, at a slower pace because we were out of hiking shape and my hiking boots betrayed me by accosting my feet with blisters.

The sun warmed us some even though the air was still chilly, but it made for a gorgeous hiking day.

All told we were back to the car around 11am and home in time for the Steelers game.

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