Thanks for signing up for the 2013 Big O Hike Bulletins, which will allow us to share updates with you as each aspect of the 22nd Annual Big O Hike is

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Thanks for signing up for the 2013 Big O Hike Bulletins, which will allow us to share updates with you as each aspect of the 22nd Annual Big O Hike is finalized. Part of our mailing list came from lists we were given of prior years attendees and people who ordered the hike packet and t-shirt over the past eight years. So if you do not want to receive these emails in the future, simply unsubscribe instantly from these emails by clicking here.

It's early June, and while it may seem too soon to think about November's hike, this is when our planning is in full swing. With Sandra Friend the new hike leader, we spent last week in Palm Beach County, meeting with the Florida Trail Association Loxahatchee Chapter at both the chapter meeting and the board meeting, and talking to the many volunteers who help make this event happen. The Big O Hike was founded by and is sponsored by the Loxahatchee Chapter, and so we'll be setting up a Meetup for the event on their Meetup site soon, and will alert you when it's ready.

FT-Clewiston-daybreak

HIKE BASICS

Kickoff: Saturday November 23, 2013, 9 AM, Port Mayaca Recreation Area
(north side of the St. Lucie Canal / Port Mayaca Lock along US 441, Port Mayaca)
Direction: Counterclockwise
Campgrounds: We will obtain group camping at two campgrounds, one in Okeechobee and the other in Clewiston. The Okeechobee KOA is highly likely as one of our hosts, but those details need to be firmed up.
Ending: Sunday December 1, 2013, likely at John Stretch Park or Uncle Joe's Fish Camp.

At the kickoff, the Wimp Walk will be held on the Rafael Sanchez Trail with the assistance of the Tropical Trekkers Chapter.

COSTS

There is no charge to participate in the Big O Hike. Camping /lodging costs and meals are on your own. We encourage you to participate in the cooperative shuttles or pitch in some gas money to drivers, and to make a donation to the Loxahatchee Chapter to receive the annual t-shirt and guide to the hike. We'll provide details on shuttles AND the t-shirt and guide in a future bulletin.

2013-06 dike closures

TRAIL CLOSURES

Given the ongoing closures of certain segments of the Florida Trail while the Army Corps of Engineers strengthens and rebuilds portions of the levee, our hike schedule will be different than in prior years. Presently, 35.5 miles of the Florida Trail is closed to public access on the Herbert Hoover Dike, which is why this year's Big O Hike will be "9 days of hiking around Lake Okeechobee" and not a "109 mile walk around the lake."

Our philosophy is not to lead the group on roadwalks. Most of the roadwalks paralleling the dike in this region are inherently dangerous due to high speed traffic and large trucks. Instead, we'll change up the trailheads we use (which will shorten our hike on some days) and provide days where we hike on other nearby parts of the Florida Trail system. We'll also provide information on where else you can hike after the daily group hike, if you want to explore more of the area.

We may or may not have access to the Belle Glade to Port Mayaca section, which is why we've opted to start this year's hike at Port Mayaca Recreation Area. If that 21 mile section opens in time for us to hike it, our overall hiking schedule will change. You can keep up with details on closures on the Army Corps of Engineers website.

COMPLETION CERTIFICATES

Those participants who complete all nine days of hiking during the event, or finish up a prior's years hike this year by filling in their missing segments, will receive a completion certificate. If you're a first-timer completing the Big O Hike, you'll also receive a Big O Hike patch.

MORE TO COME

As more updates are available, we'll share them through these bulletins and on the Florida Hikes Big O Hike page.

Many thanks to the many volunteers who are joining us to put on this annual event. It's the longest running group hike in Florida, so it's quite a legacy to keep rolling, especially with the challenge of the dike closures along the route. Hope to see you in November at Lake Okeechobee!

Cheers, Sandy & John
(aka Sandra Friend and John Keatley)
(aka JK & Navigator)
FloridaHikes.com

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