AN INSPIRING ADVENTURE
Last weekend, we had the opportunity to have lunch with Gordon Johnson, where he shared his memories of 20 years of walking around Lake Okeechobee.
If you don't know the history of the hike, now in its 22nd year, it began with an idea planted by Hank and Irma McCall. They came to a Loxahatchee Chapter meeting of the Florida Trail Association and shared their experience of walking all the way around the Florida Trail atop the Herbert Hoover Dike, with assistance of shuttling to and from trailheads along the way. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with the walk.
Inspired by the presentation, Gordon talked it over with other enthusiastic chapter members, including Paul and Sherry Cummings, and organized the first Big O Hike as a chapter activity. Sifting through his copious notes and many articles on that and subsequent adventures - which we'll ask him about sharing with you - a few thoughts stand out among the rest:
It's a "possible" adventure, for those who have larger dreams but don't have the time for them, for those who say "someday I would like to hike the AT." The Big O Hike became "that goal within the realm of possibility."
It's intentionally not a backpacking trip. Gordon led the first several years of the hike and stated that he liked the idea of getting "lots of walking in" while only carrying a "daypack, lunch, and binoculars." Add a camera to that list. You're going to want it.
Gordon's advice to you, if you haven't come to the Big O Hike before: "Just try it!"
Paul Cummings - who, along with Gordon, has walked around Lake Okeechobee a record 20 times and served as hike leader as well - has another take, too. His favorite thing about the Big O Hike "is always the comradeship developed by the hikers each year. It is a family affair."
We hope you'll join our family of hikers this year!