Back Packing in the Withlacoochie Forest Croom Tract

This will be the third installment of the  Training Hikes for all Appalachian Trail Hikers at CROOM.   We plan on hiking at least 11 miles both days, and take the C loop back to Tucker Hill on Sunday. 

Craig will cash water for us at the camp site, so bring additional Gallons of water to provide him when you arrive at Tucker Hill.  Also, I'm thinking of cashing other food items for dinner including a bag of charcoal.  Who says we have to rough it completely.

March 22 - 23, Weekend Backpacking, Croom Tract Withlacoochee State Forest. Come out for the first overnight of 2014. We'll hike the Croom loop to the primitive camp on the Withlacoochee River for the night. Meet at the Tucker Hill Trailhead parking area at 10:00 am. On Saturday, we will hike a little over 6 miles to the camp, including hiking through some of the hilliest terrain in Florida. There will be a waterdrop for this hike, so you may not need to have your filter with you for Saturday night. Also have $2 with you for parking at Tucker Hill.

• Suggested Gear List: Internal frame pack, about 3 to 3.5 lbs.

• Features are nice, but add weight. Trash bag or a roll top packliner and a pack cover. Lightweight backpacking tent with a tyvek groundsheet. Trekking pole tents work well.

• Sleeping bag, down or synthetic. Be prepared for cold temperatures, possibly down to freezing. Most hikers start with synthetic and eventually purchase down. If using synthetic, you may want to carry the bag in a compression sack. Sleeping pad, closed cell foam (z rest) or inflatable. Backpacking stove, such as alcohol, canister, or an integrated canister system (jetboil). There really isn't any need for a multifuel expedition stove in Florida.

• One cookpot, spork and a lighter. Boil and eat type foods for Saturday's dinner and snacks. No canned food. Two liter hydration system for the hike or a couple plastic bottles of water. A plastic bottle of water from the convenience store weighs a lot less than a nalgene. Platypus collapsible bottles work great and are the lightest option. Filter, steripen, or water purification tablets or drops for treating water Saturday night and for the hike out on Sunday.

• Synthetic and wool, quick drying clothing only. No jeans or cotton. Packable raingear and broken-in hiking shoes. Trail runners can be worn with a light enough pack, otherwise wear the newer hiking boots for support. Trekking poles. Other items: Compass (maps are available at the trailhead), whistle, headlamp with new batteries, small roll of duct tape, bandana or pack towel, camp soap (doc bronners), hand sanitizer, bio-degradable TP only, mosquito repellant and sunblock, small knife (there really isn't any need for a multi-tool), extra line (triptease), camp shoes (lightest version of crocs you can find), and a sit pad (small square of foam pad or tyvek). All pesonal items such as the camp soap should be repackaged into the smallest container needed for the hike. If you are new to these weekend backpacking trips, feel free to PM me with any gear questions or for some low-cost, lightweight ideas to help make your hike more enjoyable.

Directions: From I-75 Northbound at Exit 301 (SR 50) take a right and proceed east to Croom Rital Road (second light, before the bicycle trail overpass). Turn left on Croom Rital Road and follow to the Silver Lake Recreation Area. Continue past Silver Lake towards the next bicycle trail trailhead/parking area. Immediately past this trailhead, keep straight (avoid Nobleton Road to the right). This become Forest Road 6. Proceed approximately 3 miles on FR 6 to the Tucker Hill Trailhead parking area. Forest Road 6 is passable to all vehicles.

From downtown Brooksville, head north on US 41 to Croom Road (CR 480). Take a right and proceed east on Croom Road for approximately 4 miles till the paved road ends at the State Forest boundary. This becomes Forest Road 6. Continue straight ahead to the parking area on right.

 

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  • Craig G.

    Special thanks to Madeline, Tracy Lynn, Kris and Darren for coming out to hike with me. These hikes are so essential for training to do a Multi day AT hike. We stepped up our game this time, and did the A loop, and the B and C loop back on Sun. We did over 18 miles over two days. Sat, it was hot, and I didn't drink enough water before we left and go a calf cramp. A lot of water and a banana from Madeline saved the day. But it goes to show that our bodies are just as much under evaluation as our gear. We don't know what we can do until we put on the 30 lb. pack and go 8 or 9 miles over hills over at least two days. It also takes many trips and miles to break in hiking shoes or boots. You never wait until your up in the mountains to break in new shoes. I'm glad Kris found the toe socks to solve blister problems.

    1 · March 24, 2014

    • Madeline

      Thanks Craig for planning these trips! I've had a great time and with each one I've learn a little more, felt a little better prepared and increased my endurance. Can't wait to tackle those mountains!

      March 25, 2014

  • Kristine A

    Great hike. The weather turned out great nice breeze and not to hot. This is a great place to hike and get a feel for packing my gear for the AT. My boots are still breaking in. The first couple of hikes with them darn near killed me, now no so much. My Injinji socks have completely cured my blisters. I have a few things tweak yet gear wise.

    1 · March 24, 2014

  • Darren M.

    Thanks for doing these trips Craig. It was a good intro to backpacking and good times.

    1 · March 23, 2014

  • Donald

    Hey I just found out between my email provider and meetup they have my email screw up again son of a @#$@% hey I just had a thought ( watch this could be scary) I am gonna get done in the early afternoon may be I can hike out and meet ya all ( I don't want you to have these ladies all to yourself) so give me a destination where you will be in case I can do this Okay

    1 · March 19, 2014

    • Craig G.

      Donald, I'll call ya. LOL.

      March 20, 2014

    • Donald

      I just found out this meetup is in Brooksville why the hell did you send me to the panhandle???????????????­?????

      2 · March 21, 2014

  • Danno

    You boys and girls have a good time now... and be safe!! :-)

    March 21, 2014

  • Craig G.

    Hey, if I bring barbeque boneless chicken, broccoli, potatoes, charcoal and a grill, will everyone help me eat all this food. I'm getting tired of the dehydrated food, and Kris has me worried about the Salt content. I'll tell you why Sat morning.

    1 · March 20, 2014

    • Madeline

      I'll bring some more "hot chocolate." Anything else?

      March 20, 2014

    • Craig G.

      That "Hot Chocolate" will hit the spot. I'll stash the cooler and water, beer, charcoal and grill on the way up. Bring anything else "creative" for evening fun.

      March 20, 2014

  • Craig G.

    Everyone really loves their Injinjis. Maybe I should get a pair!

    1 · March 20, 2014

  • Madeline

    Got my Injinjis and I'm ready to stroll!

    March 20, 2014

  • Craig G.

    If you can't come out for the whole weekend, come out for Sat night grilling, and Sunday hike. Just park by the Bike Trail, go up the road a bit and look for the orange blazes, or the rusty metal pole marking entry into the trail. The camp ground is just up the trail a bit. We'll take you back to your car on Sunday after the hike back to Tucker Hill.

    1 · March 20, 2014

  • Donald

    Sorry Bud, I gotta bail @#$%%$ d#^&*& work again!!!!!!!!!! Your gonna have these 3 lovely ladies all to you self you DOG!!!!!! see next week Donald

    March 19, 2014

  • Craig G.

    I would like for us to be at the camp grounds before 1:00 PM. We can set up camp, then go hike the loop to Silver Lake, then go jump in the River. It was real cold last weekend, but fun to a least go in a little.

    1 · March 18, 2014

    • Madeline

      I thought this hike was starting at 10? Can you please confirm the start time Craig?

      March 18, 2014

  • Madeline

    Does anyone want to carpool from Orlando?

    March 18, 2014

    • Traci L.

      Hi Madeline - I'll carpool (Conway/Airport area) -just looked at the start time though - it says 10am on the main area and 2:30 in the details?

      March 18, 2014

    • Madeline

      Perfect! I'm in the same area. This one starts at 10. The 2:30 was from a previous post & didn't get deleted.

      1 · March 18, 2014

  • Traci L.

    Hi Craig - what time are we meeting at the Tucker Hill trailhead?

    March 18, 2014

    • Darren M.

      That's a great place to go on a Friday night before doing the loops over the weekend

      March 18, 2014

    • Traci L.

      @craig - times good - was just checking

      March 18, 2014

  • Darren M.

    Craig,

    Are you still camping at the primitive camp we went to? I was going to hike out there after work and meet you Saturday night.

    March 18, 2014

    • Craig G.

      Yes, we are camping Sat night at the same camp grounds. It would be great if you could join us.

      March 18, 2014

  • Craig G.

    Sunday, we should take the C loop for the longer Hike back. I would think by the 3rd time, this will be a piece of cake. Maybe I'll be able to keep up with Donald??

    1 · March 18, 2014

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