Noob: what I learned this weekend.

kimbur96

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
I am a complete noob when it comes to back packing. I did quite a bit of camping when I was a kid and some as an adult but no backpacking. The beginning of this year I developed and interest in backpacking and have been reading and researching and trying to learn. I live in Florida so there isn't a lot of resources down here. But I did find a local chapter of The Florida Trail Assoc. and got involved with them. I have been on a couple of overnighters with them and learn something new each time.

We were out again this past weekend, the trails were really wet still from all the unusual winter rain we have had. I had several "firsts" this weekend. First time I have ever filtered water with my sawyer and drank it. First time I have ever seen a water moccasin. First time I have ever seen someone start a fire with a bow drill.

These may seem like little inconsequential things but to someone just starting out it was pretty cool. Filtering water was super easy with the sawyer squeeze and to my surprise didn't taste bad.

The water moccasin...not my favorite. He looked almost like a stick in the trail and I'm not sure I would have spotted it if I was just cruising along on my own. That spooked me. I have to learn how to enjoy the scenery but still pay close attention to the trail. I learned that the best thing to do is just back up, not crowd the snake and he will usually move on. The guy leading said the cotton mouths will stand there ground if you crowd them so that's why you just back up and wait.

The other guy who started a fire with a bow drill, that was pretty cool. It took him a couple of hours from selecting a palm frond to whittle down for the drill part, making bow and actually starting the fire. But he got it done and it's nice to have seen it first hand to know that I could at least attempt it in a pinch.
 

blueeyes

ephemeral excursionist
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,109
I always learn something new each time I go adventuring. Some lessons harder than others. I have never seen anyone start a fire with a bow drill or a water moccasin. I am gearing up to do bikepacking this year. Itching to get out on my first trip.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,514
My first camping experiences ever took place in Florida as a little kid living in Tampa (MacDill). I have a Grandma that has been living out her retirement in Ft. Myers. I remember learning all about all the snakes to look out for there, particularly the coral snakes and the moccasins, never mind the rattlers. I really thought I'd miss everything about Florida when I moved to Utah near the end of my grade school years. When I made a return visit, I couldn't believe I had lived in that hot humidity down there and never noticed it before. At times, I still miss all the green and the beaches down there, but I certainly don't miss that humidity, nor the poisonous and hazardous wildlife that thrives out there. :)

I do have fond memories of my early childhood there though! Sounds like you got a fun little group to get out with down there though. Glad to see others like you enjoying their local wilderness, no matter how much it may differ from other climates and landscapes. It's always interesting to read of other's adventures and the differences they experience in those differing environments.
 

uintahiker

Adventure Guru
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
719
Nice! Any best segments of the Florida Trail? What about any water trails you could recommend? I've got a new boat that needs a few beautiful places to float!

I was with some scouts late last year and we did the whole fire by friction thing. It's fun and cool stuff! We used some wood from an agave or joshua tree and had great success with it.
 

kimbur96

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
My first camping experiences ever took place in Florida as a little kid living in Tampa (MacDill). I have a Grandma that has been living out her retirement in Ft. Myers. I remember learning all about all the snakes to look out for there, particularly the coral snakes and the moccasins, never mind the rattlers. I really thought I'd miss everything about Florida when I moved to Utah near the end of my grade school years. When I made a return visit, I couldn't believe I had lived in that hot humidity down there and never noticed it before. At times, I still miss all the green and the beaches down there, but I certainly don't miss that humidity, nor the poisonous and hazardous wildlife that thrives out there. :)

I do have fond memories of my early childhood there though! Sounds like you got a fun little group to get out with down there though. Glad to see others like you enjoying their local wilderness, no matter how much it may differ from other climates and landscapes. It's always interesting to read of other's adventures and the differences they experience in those differing environments.

Hiking in Florida is certainly a different ecosystem, but I ma trying to appreciate it for what it is. I miss the mountains and trees and green. I think in the next couple of years I will be making a move back out west. I'd love to get to Colorado or I have family in the NW so either of those is a possibility. I am not a fan of the heat and humidity.

Nice! Any best segments of the Florida Trail? What about any water trails you could recommend? I've got a new boat that needs a few beautiful places to float!

I was with some scouts late last year and we did the whole fire by friction thing. It's fun and cool stuff! We used some wood from an agave or joshua tree and had great success with it.
I'm not qualified to talk about any best parts of the FT as I have only seen a couple of sections. But based off of that, I really enjoyed the part that goes through the Withlacootchee Forest. It's more single track with rolling hills and pine trees. I guess to me it represents more traditional hiking in my mind. Sorry, I don't know anything about the water trails down here, except there must be a lot. I have seen people post about some multi day paddles that takes place in southern florida.
 
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