The Imperfect Backpack Series

Robin Luger of the Suwannee Chapter is leading a series of beginner backpack trips. They are close enough that some of our members might want to tag along. The message below is from Robin Luger:
If, year after year, you think you’ll start backpacking but haven’t because:
1. you still need the exactly right equipment
2. you aren’t quite fit enough
3. the weather won’t cooperate
4. your friends can’t go
5. you can’t fit it in your schedule
6. etc, etc, etc.

A few of us novices in the Suwannee Chapter have decided TO GO ANYWAY!! And have fun! We set up a schedule for the entire winter and will just learn as we go. (Of course, experienced backpackers are encouraged to come and lend their support!) We tried to schedule enough trips so (a) we’ll have incentive to stay fit between times, and (b) if some of us can’t go on every trip, we can at least go on some of them. So if you’d like to learn along with us, please sign up on Suwannee Chapter Meetup for the hikes you would like to attend (at least one full day before the start date of the hike).

Dates & Locations:

Nov. 9-11 meet at Gibson Park at 8:30 a.m. (6884 CR 751, it's called CR 249 north from Live Oak) to I-10 and River Road for pick-up

Dec. 2-31 Ocala National Forest and Cross-Florida Greenway (From Robin: I am completely unfamiliar with the area so am spending the month in and near the Ocala NF to get familiar with it. If you want to go exploring, come any day(s) during that time. I’ll be camping at Rodman Campground Dec. 2-5, Salt Springs Dec. 6-12, Silver Springs State Park Dec. 13-18, Juniper Springs Dec. 19-25, and Alexander Springs Dec. 26-31 and can go on a one night backpacking trip anytime on trails near each of these locations. Also, I could help with shuttle/support if you want to backpack longer. A second tent can stay on the reserved campsite.
Jan. 26-30 Aucilla River section and on into St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
March 10-14 Osceola National Forest from Olustee Battleground to U.S. 441 for pickup.
March 31 to April 5 Bell Springs to U.S.129 for pickup

General Information:
1. BRING EVERYTHING YOU’LL NEED. Hikes are in isolated areas for the most part.
2. Bring only what you can carry yourself for 8-12 miles over some rough ground. (Strenuous level, so practice!)
3. Hikes are limited to around 10 people and they must be Florida Trail members (from any chapter).
4. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
5. Once you rsvp on the Suwannee chapter Meetup site (everyone needs to sign up on this one site, so you don't get overlooked), you’ll be updated with the exact meeting place and time for each trip and provided any current information on weather conditions or other conditions that would affect the time and location of the trip.
6. Carl Dunnam has volunteered to shuttle us from the end of some of the hikes, but these aren’t the kind of supported hikes where a vehicle will available every day for shuttling or carrying stuff. There are takeout points on some of the longer hikes and we will do our best to work with participants who need to quit or start at these points.
7. If you would like an equipment analysis before your first trip, several Florida Trail experienced backpackers have volunteered to do consultations.

Contact people: Irv Chance[masked], [masked], Robin Luger[masked] [masked]

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  • Carine

    i work tomorrow,I can't make it:-(

    November 8, 2013

  • Renee'

    I have another engagement. I hope this backpack session will be held again, soon. I look forward to camping more in the new year (upcoming surgery planned).

    November 5, 2013

  • Denise M.

    I am interested in going on the hiking/camping trips that are near the middle to the end of December. I will have a few weeks off during this time. I will send in my membership this week. I have a backpack, and a few other things, but could use help with information on a good tent and sleeping bag. I have looked around, but not sure what to buy. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

    November 4, 2013

  • Arthur L.

    Hope some of the Jacksonville chapter can come! Please post any questions and rsvp only on the Suwannee chapter site, so that all information is in one place. Thanks.

    November 3, 2013

  • Arthur L.

    Before I commit and you accept me I should give you some facts.
    I am OLD 84 years old. I just recovered from broken neck twice in 20012. I have been hiking, solo, for a few months and can easily hike ten miles in a day with no problem. I plan on running a 5K run next Sunday. I am alone.

    I have only a solo tent that I purchased (stole) at a garage sale. I put it up twice and doubt that it was ever used. Other than hiking shoes I have no equipment.

    I have had considerable solo hiking LONG AGO. I switched to "blue water" sailing until my wife became ill. I cared for her for many years and she passed away in 2007 when I joined FTA and have turned back hiking until 2012.

    My previous equipment was a WWII pup tent, back with various equipment and a bed roll all long gone.

    If this dose not frighten you off, I need advice. I don't even know to ask what to ask about. I won't be disappointed if you turn me down. Even literature advice would be appreciated.

    October 26, 2013

    • Robin L.

      Arthur-do you have a backpack that will hold a tent and sleeping bag? You would need that and you would need to try out walking while carrying a full backpack, building up to about 6 hours (with breaks of course).

      October 26, 2013

  • Robin L.

    Hope some of the Jacksonville chapter can come! Please post any questions and rsvp only on the Suwannee chapter site, so that all information is in one place. Thanks.

    October 22, 2013

  • Cary B

    Robin, looks like some nice hikes. The sections between Alexander and Salt Springs have seen my boots more than once.

    October 21, 2013

  • Leslie

    Remember - this is sponsored by our neighboring chapter. You must be a FTA member to participate. Be sure to contact Robin if you are interested.

    October 21, 2013

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