Hiking the Florida Trail and a Wedding in the Woods


This post is for my sister, Sandy,  a.k.a ” Navigator”, the Florida Trail Lady, who has dedicated decades of her life exploring, researching and hiking up and down the Florida Trail- even that  Big Cypress Swamp bit- yeah, I saw the pics, with her waist deep in black water.  She and fellow trail-hiking partner, John Keatley, a.k.a. “J.K.”, ended this year with a bang- by getting wedded in the woods that they both adore so much. Sure Bill Bryson had his Walk in the Woods, but my sister Got Hitched in Them!

Navigator marries J.K.- a hiker wedding in the woods
Navigator marries J.K.- a hiker wedding in the woods

It was a beautiful wedding under the oak tree at Doe Lake in the Ocala National Forest in Umatilla. Unlike the hikers and campers who were already there for the week long  camp-out, we drove out for the day and had a heck of a time finding the little lake. My sister had listed GPS coordinates as the directions- they don’t work on map quest and apparently if you forget that little dash before one of the numbers, you end up in Nepal, which is ironic, because the two of us explored Nepal many moons  ago and ironically again, it was there I dubbed her my “navigator,” due to her keen sense of direction during our hike near Pokhara – if we had listened to me, the pair of us would be wandering around in China now.

Hiker wedding in the woods
With hiking sticks and oars raised…a wedding in the woods

Any how, we found the wedding venue in the nick of time. At the end of the ceremony, their friends had their hiker poles and canoe paddles raised in a salute that was reminiscent of knights raising their swords, as the wedded couple entered the world in unity. Hiker grub and cake then ensued, (along with organized hikes and canoe outings)- ah, the hiker world!

Only recently have I actually ventured onto the Florida Trail. I think I’ve been avoiding it, having been in awe of my hiker-lady sister for so long- I mean, that is Her territory, right? But thrusting those fears aside, I took the kids for an impromptu hike, that led us to a bridge over the Withlacoochee River and a magnificent view.

Hiking the Florida Trail
Our foray onto the Florida Trail was rewarded with a view…

The Florida Trail has many sections that you can meander onto, or some serious hikes for the more serious folk , but, for that I refer you to my sister, Sandy (Keatley now) and their website!

Hiking the Florida Trail
Hiking the Florida Trail

Happy New Year Folks!

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