On January 18th we started our first workday on the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST). From our home base in St. Mark's (located on the FNST) we headed east along the trail, parralleling Coastal Highway 98. The trail was badly overgrown (you can imagine how fast a trail can become overgrown with a year round growing season) so we went to work establishing a corridor. It took us three days to bushwack and paint blazes on three miles of trail. The undergrowth was thick!
After finishing that three mile section we packed up our camping supplies and headed to Torreya State Park to put finishing touches on an F-Troop (the FNST's volunteer program) project completed in December. The F-Troop cut a new trail leading down to the Rock Bluff campsites, and a spur trail leading to each of the four primitive sites. They ran out of time before finishing all the spur trails so we went in to finish the last bit of trail and put the detailing work on. Torreya State Park is located on the Apalachicola River in northwestern Florida. The bluff's along the river are a unique site in the usually flat state of Florida. Torreya State Park is also home to two of the rarest plants in the United States, the Florida Yew and the Torreya Pine, which grows no where else.
On our last day in Torreya, after finishing up the detail work on the Rock Bluff campsite trails we decided to take a hike through the park in order to experience this magnificent place. That night, Jan 23rd, we returned to St. Mark's and our cozy doublewide trailer. For the next three days we commuted from our home base to Sopchoppy, 10 miles west, and cleared corridor along the FNST from state road 319 to forest rd 356, a distance of only 1.5 miles. Despite the short distance it took us the next three days to cut through the thick vegetation, although we did loose half a day when a thunderstorm rolled in and forced us to retreat to our trailer.
Corridor Cleared: 4.5 miles
Blazes Painted: 3 miles
New Trail Constructed: 1/4 mile