My New Year’s resolution, if you want to call it that, is to hike all 11 National Scenic Trails before I die. Ambitious, I know. Probably too much so, as I’m well into middle age and a lot of these trails are tough. But, well – there’s only one way to find out. And the human body is capable of so much more than we give it credit for.

I’ve already twice thru-hiked the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, so that’s one NST down, 10 to go. Today I’m preparing to start #2: the Florida National Scenic Trail. I won’t be thru-hiking this one, as I don’t have enough time off; at about 1,100 miles, it would take more than a month. But I hope to put about 1/5 to 1/4 of its miles behind me.

Hikers tackling this trail generally hike January – March; there’s a big kick-off this weekend at the southern terminus, where most people start. It’s good to attend the kick-off and find some hiking buddies for the first few days, which entail hiking through Big Cypress Swamp, with its alligators, black panthers, bears and cottonmouth snakes. Yikes! I’ve found me some buddies via a Facebook page dedicated to the Class of 2017, as we’re called, and am prepared for the next major adventure of my life.

You can follow my escapades over the next two weeks right here. I’m betting I’ll have some exciting stories.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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