Florida Trail: Complete!

FloridaTrailAssociationlogoFlorida Trail

Florida Trail:   January 8 – March 8

I apologize for my lack of updates during the last 700 miles of the Florida Trail.  Honestly, so much has happened, and I can’t possibly update you on everything.  But, they say a photo is worth a 1000 words…. so, here’s 2000 words:





On March 8th, Estero and I finished the Florida Trail at Fort Pickens on a beautiful, sunny day.


What did I think of the Florida Trail?

I enjoyed the Florida Trail, but it still involved a lot more road-walking than expected. Sadly, I developed shin splints (from the pavement) around mile 400, and there was a lot of Advil consumption.  It was rough, but I was still able to complete my thru-hike. Luckily, things are healing quickly after just 10 days of resting at home.  I will soon be back to “normal”.

It was all worth it.  There were many wonderful aspects to hiking the Florida Trail.  It was an amazing experience to thru-hike in the winter. Where else can you complete a long-distance hike in January?  I camped under palm trees, encountered alligators, wild boar, armadillos, and a bobcat.  I hiked thru swamps, ate fresh oranges in central Florida, and collected seashells from the beach at the end.  I felt alive.

The majority of the trail, I hiked with a bubble of 4 other hikers, and we ended up having a great time together! We were spoiled by trail angels, who took us into their homes, cooked us dinner, slack-packed us, and allowed us to rest.  I am so thankful for all the trail angels and trail maintenance volunteers who helped us along the way.  Thank you for everything!!


I met so many amazing people in Florida, but I’ll just tell you about one of them:

700 miles ago, I met a boy with deep blue eyes, a kind soul, and feet which love to explore.  We spent a lot of time hiking together, and finally, after  22 days, I found the courage to hold his hand. We joked to strangers that this hike was our first date.

We are currently planning Date #2.


It’s going to involve hiking…

Pacific Crest Trail.  2,650 miles.  

Mexico to Canada.  

April 2014



I admit that I’m a little terrified. And not just because of the mileage, mountains, and desert.  It’s not going to be my hike– or his hike– but our hike.

In less than a month, we will be standing at the Mexican border and beginning our long journey north.  I can’t wait to go on this exciting adventure with him, and to see where this path leads us.

To Canada.  And Beyond.

Call us crazy, but in the end, nobody dies wishing that they had spent more time working.



A few of my favorite photos from Florida:

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400581_595233483888176_1114830337_nDSC05114 DSC05117 DSC05126 DSC05129 DSC05130DSC05132 DSC05137 DSC05140 DSC05143 DSC05144 DSC05147 DSC05148DSC05170 DSC05177 DSC05179 DSC05190 DSC05192 DSC05196 DSC05199 DSC05204 DSC05212DSC05217 DSC05218 DSC05219 DSC05225 DSC05226 DSC05229 DSC05240 DSC05242 DSC05243 DSC05244 DSC05245 DSC05246 DSC05256 DSC05259 DSC05268 DSC05270 DSC05271




Categories: Florida | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Florida Trail: Complete!

  1. William

    To Canada and beyond!!

  2. Congrats on surviving the FT. It’s definitely going to be a different hike on the PCT for you (two). I’m totally jealous btw. Hope you have an amazing time out there.

  3. Russ

    GO ACORN!!!!! Your new boyfriend is one LUCKY guy!!

  4. atgardner

    Congratulations on finishing your FT thru-hike!
    Glad to see you are joining the pack on the PCT. We might meet on the trail some day. Have a great hike.

  5. I’m so happy for you! Finishing the FT and finding a man who can keep up 🙂 he’s a lucky guy. I wish you the best and can’t wait to see the details of the PCT. Hike on.

  6. Congrats and Congrats again!! Hope to meet both of you out on the PCT.

  7. Congrats on finishing the FT. I look forward to your reports from the PCT.

  8. That is AWESOME….I can’t wait to follow you next adventure.

  9. Chris Fox

    Congrats to you for finishing another big effort. And congrats for finding someone to share this stuff with. I have followed both hikes and I look forward to pacific crest. Keep pushing, keep telling us about it. Keep the great photos coming. Hike, work will take care of itself. All my best. cjf

    From: Acorn Hikes the Florida Trail <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Acorn Hikes the Florida Trail <comment+_3xdm79wiv0bffwx57u2g-v@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:30 PM To: Chris Fox <chfox@syr.edu> Subject: [New post] Florida Trail: Complete!

    AcornHikes posted: ” Florida Trail: January 8 – March 8 I apologize for my lack of updates during the last 700 miles of the Florida Trail. Honestly, so much has happened, and I can’t possibly update you on everything. But, they say a photo is worth a 1000 words…. so,”

  10. Yvonne Owusu-Mensah

    Congratulations on completion and your new… interest 🙂 🙂

    Rest and heal peacefully. I look forward to reading about your new challenge.

    You are amazing and inspirational Rayana!

    Rainbow colored socks and kitten noses, Yvonne

  11. Jonathan

    Cheers on the completion of your hike. Glad you got to see the ‘real’ (non-Disney) Florida. Good luck on the next hike; sounds great and you’re right- it the end nobody wishes they had spent more time working. Cheers and hike on!

  12. Marc

    Congrats Acorn on finishing the FT. I was wondering if you made it after not seeing posts for quite a while. Very happy for you and please document your journey on the PCT for us to follow along!

  13. Great wrap up!! 🙂 I love seeing your photos! I’m excited for your next adventure!

  14. Meagan

    Congrats on completing your second thru hike….question….did you do mail drops on the FT? do you plan mail drops on the PCT?

    • No mail drops on the FT. Resupply was really easy out there- and I’m lazy.

      Will do mail-drops on PCT, but only sending 1 from home. Will organize the rest on the trail 🙂

  15. Megan

    Congratulations on the adventure!! Thank you for sharing your photos, stories and beautiful smile. I wish you and Estero the best on the PCT. I’ll be at the kick-off at Lake Morena in April, perhaps see you there 🙂

  16. schlanky

    Congrats! I passed y’all on Big Oak section on Suwannee River when I was out for a long weekend trip. Talked a while to Estero at the train tracks (really nice guy!) and passed you a few minutes later. Got home, looked for your website and realized I’d already been here before when researching FT sections. I’ve very much enjoyed your site & look forward to seeing your pics and descriptions of the PCT. Congrats on finishing the FT!

    • I remember meeting you! Thanks for the comment, and I hope you had a great hike. That was a fun section 🙂

      • schlanky

        I’m hitting FT in small scattered sections. I passed that sign in your Juniper Prairie pic last weekend. Now THAT was a great section!

        Still happy with the tent? This fall I want to upgrade to something lighter and I’m considering Lightheart as well as a couple of others.

      • Yup!! Love my tent. There are lighter options out there like Yama and Zpacks, but they seem harder to setup.

  17. Congratulations! Seems like you popped off the face of the internet and surfaced somewhere else completely! Well, I guess you did 🙂 . Well done and you got some gorgeous shots along the way. Love the hand-holding one near the top.

  18. Chris Schmitz

    I’ve been reading your hiking blog since you were in VA on the AT. I’ve really enjoyed it, and someday when my kids are older, I hope to do some good hiking like you. Right now, it’s just short walks in the woods with the wife and boys.

    But, I hope you realize that once you finish the PCT, you’re going to HAVE to do the CDT. You know,.. the triple crown. I’ve heard both the PCT & CDT are beautiful, so I’m looking forward to more pictures. Good luck! And congrats on the boyfriend too!

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