Beginner's Backpack, Last Chance Backpack, Croom

May 4 - 5, Overnight Backpacking, Croom Tract Withlacoochee State Forest.  This will be a laid-back, low-mileage, excellent opportunity for any beginners to get in their first overnight.  So feel free to ask questions around the campfire and observe what others do for gear, packing, and technique.  We'll hike the Croom loop approximately two and a half miles to the primitive camp for the night.  I will do a water drop at the forest road crossing before the hike, so all hikers should bring a gallon jug with them for the cache.  Since this is a late season hike, we will meetup and hike in the evening, so be at the trailhead by 5:30 for a 6:00 hike.  Have $2 with you for parking.  Feel free to PM me for a suggested gear list, or for some lightweight, low cost ideas so we can try and make your hike more enjoyable.

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  • Stacey

    Fun trip, gorgeous weather....thank you, everyone! We enjoyed meeting all of you! Thanks again to Ryan, who helped me hang my hammock....I'm definitely sold on hammocks over tents! I'm very proud of Max, who slept alone in his tent and barely whined at all about carrying his pack. :) He even said to me at one point, "Mom, I want to do this again and again for the rest of my life!" :D

    May 6, 2013

    • Jim E.

      Max did great Stacey, you should be proud of him.

      May 6, 2013

  • Ryan G.

    Nice I meet all of you! I had a great time maybe next time I will be able to stay a little longer! See you all ( and more) next time.

    1 · May 5, 2013

  • cathy m

    Wow just a beautiful weekend in May to backpack. Very enjoyable with such nice people. Thanks, Darren, it was great!!

    1 · May 5, 2013

  • Jim E.

    We had a great time! As Lois mentioned, hardly no skeeters and the cloudy conditions opened up to a beautiful star lite sky. After hiking the 3 miles and setting up camp (we were the only ones there which was also great) we went on a impromptu night hike for about a 3 miles round trip. We took a little detour to a bog that was inhabited by a million bullfrogs so loud that it was hard to talk to the person next to you. We also witnessed strange flashes of light through the woods, possible government experiments going on, who knows? After a quick pack up in the morning, a nice return hike on the blue trail by the river. It was fun seeing Ryan's hammock setup and having first timer Stacey and her 9 yr old son along for the hike, he did wonderfully. Elsie and her two teenage daughters also joined as first times and participated well. All topping this off was a nice brunch at Cracker Barrel with Alex and Cathy.

    2 · May 5, 2013

  • lois v.

    No bugs, cool evening and quiet night for sleeping. Darren is a patient leader. Hope I can go again,

    1 · May 5, 2013

  • Darren M.

    When you drive into Silver Lake, just keep going straight all the way to the boat ramp area. Don't make the right turn into the campgrounds.

    May 4, 2013

  • Jim E.

    Darren, going to try to make this short overnighter but I have a busy day. Where exactly at Silver Lake are you meeting?

    May 3, 2013

  • Ryan G.

    Will try my best to be there

    May 3, 2013

  • Darren M.

    This is backpacking, so we are on our own for carrying our own food, tent, sleeping bag, etc. If you want to keep your pack light, you can get dinner on the road and just bring snacks, leaving your stove, fuel, and mess kit at home. Don't bring a water filter, just bring a gallon for the water drop. We will be done early on Sunday, by 11 or 12 at the latest. This is a little different than camping at the state park.

    May 3, 2013

  • Ryan G.

    ( I know I'm a little late, haven't got a chance to look because of finals) Is this site hammock friendly? If so I'm going to try to go but I would still have to leave early of Sunday.

    May 3, 2013

    • kevin

      ya it is ryan not a problem

      May 3, 2013

    • Darren M.

      plenty of space for hammocks, leaving early is not a problem, you can walk the road or the bicycle "rails to trails" back to silver lake.

      May 3, 2013

  • Stacey

    Just wondering how late people are planning to stay on Sunday, and if we are packing food for ourselves only or cooking together either at night or in the morning.....

    May 3, 2013

  • Steven

    I can't make this one, but am looking forward to the next overnight!

    May 3, 2013

  • Darren M.

    All beginners should practice packing and walking around the block a few times with their fully loaded pack prior to Saturday. Beginners are welcome, but please do not let Saturday night be the first time you try out your pack. These trials will help you to steamline things and prioritize what you really need for just one night out.

    May 1, 2013

  • Elsie G.

    I will be hiking along with my 2 daughters! This will be our 1st BACKPACKING experience! Can't wait!

    1 · May 1, 2013

  • JUSTIN S.

    I'm an avid hiker and camper and I can't wait to get back out into the woods and on the trails. I'm looking forward to meeting all the new members, see you all sat.

    April 30, 2013

  • Darren M.

    Looks like we are going to have nice weather for this IF the rain holds off. Low 80's and low 60's overnight.

    1 · April 30, 2013

  • Amanda

    I still have a backpack to lend.
    Any takers for this or any other FTA backpack event?

    April 30, 2013

  • lois v.

    Thanks Stacy. See you there.

    April 30, 2013

  • Stacey

    I am a novice backpacker, but longtime camper. First time with this group...looking forward to it! I have an old outer frame pack to loan, if someone needs it. What is the policy on bringing dogs and/or kids?

    April 27, 2013

    • lois v.

      Could I borrow it? Would you please bring it with you and I'll stuff it at the park?

      April 30, 2013

    • Stacey

      Sure, no problem.

      April 30, 2013

  • Chris D.

    Can't make this one. No gear yet :D Will look forward to a future beginners backpack event.

    April 29, 2013

  • Sheri

    Very excited ... so much to learn ... thank you in advance for this event

    April 28, 2013

  • Darren M.

    For those interested in a gear list, scroll back in our caledar to October, 2011. On October 1st, there is a writeup for the Citrus backpack we did with a complete gear list.

    1 · April 28, 2013

  • diane

    is it possible to do this during the week sometime? i work weekends....

    April 28, 2013

  • Darren M.

    bring the kids, it is great to get them into the outdoors, but sorry, no dogs. We will have the coyotes later that night anyway.

    April 27, 2013

    • Stacey

      Lol....I actually prefer to take the dog...she carries her pack without whining! :).

      April 27, 2013

  • Robyn

    I'd love to go but will be at a conference instead. I hope this one comes up again - it would get me over my first backpack/camping

    April 26, 2013

  • lois v.

    Amanda, may I borrow your extra backpack? I was going to buy one at Bill Jacksons, but wasn't sure of my needs. I'd like to try if you can spare the pack for me.

    April 26, 2013

    • Amanda

      You got it Lois! Just have to get it to you somehow. I live by downtown ampa.

      April 26, 2013

    • Amanda

      Tampa, that is!

      April 26, 2013

  • Steven

    Looking forward to learning what I can.
    Thanks!

    April 26, 2013

  • Felicia B.

    Hi there, I would love to come to this, I have no backpacking gear yet, could you maybe have a meetup on the basics of what to purchase for lightweight backpacking. I have been looking at gear, and a book on packing light.

    April 26, 2013

  • lois v.

    Ineed a list of the basic necessiries, If Amanda will loan me her extra backpack, i'll be there.

    April 26, 2013

  • lois v.

    I need a basic list too. [masked]

    April 26, 2013

  • Jack M.

    At last a short backpacking trip for us old guys

    April 26, 2013

  • Lili K.

    Backpacking is a wonderful opportunity to get to the "real wilderness". Everyone should try it sometime in their lives and enjoy the true outdoor adventure Thanks Darren for putting thus on our hiking agenda

    April 26, 2013

  • Amanda

    II have an extra backpack to lend.

    April 26, 2013

  • treehouseyoga

    Great to see this being offered!

    April 26, 2013

  • Lenny C.

    Over the past year I have conversed with a number of you who had mentioned that you would like to give overnight backpacking a try. Here is an excellent opportunity to go with Darren and learn from his expertise.

    1 · April 26, 2013

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