After 3 days of sunny Miami beaches, I made my way to the Oasis Visitor Center at Big Cypress National Preserve.
It was time to trade South Beach for the Florida swamps.
I arrived at the Florida Trail Kickoff on Jan 8th with 12 other hikers. We quickly registered for backcountry camping, ate donuts, and posed for photos with the new southern terminus sign.
Despite the food and company, we couldn’t stay and linger for long. There was swamp hiking on today’s agenda, and the sun sets obnoxiously early in January.
It was time.
I grabbed another donut and began to follow the orange blazes…
…They lead me straight into the water.
For the next 3 days, the trail tortured us with mud and miles of knee-deep swamp.
I don’t know quite how to describe the swamp. It was a “unique” experience. It was beautiful, yet completely exhausting. I would scan the horizon for green palm trees- I knew that meant an island was close and that meant rest! Woo hoo!
Am I glad I did it? Yes!
Would I do it again? Hahaha!!
After the swamp came days of horrible hiking past sugar cane fields in the Seminole Indian Reservation. (Oh well, at least I had history podcasts!)
Gator count to date: 28
Skunk count: 1 (crawled under my tent!)
Here are a few photos: