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.