My wife and I recently completed a thru-hike of the Florida Trail, beginning on January 6th 2015, and ending on April 16th. During the hike, we took thousands of photographs and made extensive notes for our upcoming book titled The Florida Trail: Discovering America's Forgotten Footpath. Released in time for the trail’s 35th anniversary as a National Scenic Trail in 2018, it will be filled with more than 230 spectacular full-page color photographs as well as dozens of previously unpublished historic photos, documents, and images from the archives of the Florida Trail Association. Essays will cover topics ranging from the many ecosystems and habitats along the trail that exist nowhere else Earth, the unique challenges facing its hikers the history of the trail, the volunteers who first created and still maintain the trail, and the challenges confronting the trail today such as logging, pollution, urban sprawl, and incomplete sections.
In the months to come, we will interviewing Florida Trail Association volunteers and thru-hikers about their experiences on the trail, as well as scientists working for the many public lands over which the trail crosses. Regular updates about our progress will be posted on our blog, facebook.com/hikefla and you can follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/hikefla.
So what is the Florida Trail? Conceived by Jim Kern and a small group of volunteers in 1964, the FT is one of America’s eleven National Scenic Trails, which include the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. Each year around a dozen hikers earn the distinction of “thru-hiker” by walking its entire length in one continuous journey, unlike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails where thousands attempt the journey every spring. Thru-hikers are drawn to the trail for communion with nature, to see Florida’s vanishing natural beauty and wildlife, or to challenge themselves. Part history and ecology lesson, part inspirational photo album, and part travel guide, The Florida Trail: Discovering a Forgotten Footpath will tempt readers to say, “let’s go there right now.”