Summer in Florida

Hi, everyone. My name is David Somers. My trail name is Doolittle. I was thru-hiking the PCT (Flip Flop from NorCal) last year when California closed the National Forests, and I was unable to complete the SOBO half or my hike. Ultimately I was forced to return home to Florida. If you are interested in my PCT blog, you can find it at

I am going back to the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe you already expected that. My permitted start date is July 28. I will return to Old Station, California, where I started my hike north last June. This year I will be going south to Mexico.

My 2022 PCT permit

Friends on the horizon

A few folks have said they might like to join me on the trail this year. My good friends, Dwayne and Lisa, have made plans to join me for a few days in the Sierra. I am super excited for that. It will be so much fun. The other friend is Keith. We know each other from work and had shared season tickets for the Orlando Magic for years. Keith is from Utah and he has hiked many miles in the Utah wilderness. If things work out, Keith may spend the first few weeks with me in Northern California. In the meantime, he has been training and testing equipment in preparation. Together we are going to hike a segment of the Appalachian trail in May. More on that later.

Personal preparations

I, too, have some work to do before then. I have a new shelter that needs testing. And I need to see if my PCT backpack can comfortably carry a bear canister. The AT segment will be a good opportunity to do both of those things.

Closer to home, I need to get my body into shape. That means carrying around a full pack for at least half a day on several days within the same week. There is a park close to my home that is perfect for this kind of hiking practice: Beck’s Ranch Park.

Florida hiking

Beck’s Ranch Park, Osteen, Florida

The park has two primary trails. The first goes down to the St. John’s River. The other loops through a typical Florida scrub forest. The park has a cooperative arrangement with some local ranchers, so you will run into some cows out there. Oh, and watch your step.

Of course, there must be flowers

My favorite hike is the one to the St. John’s River. There is a little shelter along the water that is perfect for resting or having lunch whether you are hiking or boating.

I love hiking in Florida. Its ecosystems are unlike anything else in the US. And because it is flat and sparsely forested, you will enjoy the occasional panorama. Am I starting to sound like a tourism commercial? Sorry. But nothing compares to Florida skies.

Over the next few days, I will begin posting my AT section hike. Hope you enjoy it.

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