Mike and Alex in Florida
Our second hitch saw us trade the overcast skies of Boise for the beautiful state of Florida. With most of our wildlife refuges located on the Florida coast, near innumerable pristine beaches, we knew this was going to be a mountainous task to climb! We landed in Orlando and made our way to the Atlantic coast for the first week, working our way down to Everglades National Park for our first recreational weekend. It was during this trip to southern Florida that we first encountered swarms, upon never-ending swarms of mosquitoes and no-see-ums. After accumulating more bug bites than we could count, we left the Everglades and drove up the Gulf coast of Florida all the way to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, located in the panhandle. Although we had to deal with more than our fair share of ticks here, we were able to hike 15 miles of the Florida Scenic Trail that were located on the refuge. The highly untouched, blazed trail located within miles of pine flatwoods and jungle-looking brush provided the perfect hiking experience. Finishing our work early in Florida gave us the opportunity to move further west along the Gulf coast to refuges in Alabama and Mississippi, before heading back to Orlando to fly out. This hitch allowed us to see a vast extent of Florida’s wildlife, wilderness, and coastline and we departed, now understanding why they call it the sunshine state.