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Grab your pack and gather your camping essentials for Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) inaugural Hike2O. The three-day, 2-night backcountry benefit will be held Friday, January 24, 2020 - Sunday, January 26, 2020, where participants will join trail experts from the Florida Trail Association – Loxahatchee Chapter and Loggerhead Marinelife Center staff biologists as they are guided through some of the most iconic ecosystems of South Florida.
Registered participants will meet at the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp (EYCC) before boarding a complimentary shuttle to the trail heads and begin the challenge. Two groups of participants will hike approximately 30 miles from the ocean and lake trailheads of the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail, connecting back at camp to symbolize the interconnectedness of Florida's natural waterways, enjoy a celebratory cook-out, awards ceremony, and complete the Hike2O challenge. Proceeds and funds raised from the Hike2O event will support Loggerhead Marinelife Center's marine conservation and education outreach to non-coastal schools across South Florida and promote environmental stewardship of Florida’s fresh and saltwater systems.
Each Hike2O registrant is REQUIRED to attend the Hike2O Mandatory Orientation Meeting on January 20, 2020 from 6p - 8pm. All participants will be responsible for packing and hiking with their own equipment and provisions. Please read the Hike2O Trail Conditions & Event Details section before committing to this event. Following registration, each participant will be provided with a detailed Hike2O Participant Packet with detailed information on safety protocols, communications, event preparation tips and Q&A with LMC staff. The full Hike2O event is limited to adults ages 18+.
Not able to attend or under 18? Supporters of all ages can still make an impact by registering as a Hike2O Virtual Hiker. Upon registration, virtual hikers are encouraged to complete a hike of five or more miles to help raise awareness involving our environmental assets of Florida’s important waterways. Each virtual participant will receive a participation packet, recognition on the participant roster, complimentary swag, and a Hike2O Virtual Hiker completion pin.
Don’t fall behind the pack! Capacity is limited to 60 in-person hikers, virtual registration is unlimited. Previous hiking and camping experience are strongly suggested as there will be no trail provision. Attendees are required to bring proper equipment as well. Registration is $125 for full event hikers and $65 for virtual day hikers. Participants must be 18 years or older to register for full event hikers. *All proceeds will directly support marine conservation and education outreach to non-coastal schools across South Florida and promote environmental stewardship of Florida’s fresh and saltwater systems.
While beautiful, the Hike2O is not an easy undertaking. Campsites are primitive and trail conditions and weather can make the hike challenging. Prior backpacking experience especially in Florida is strongly recommended before attempting Hike2O. Those without prior backpacking experience are encouraged to participate in a Hike2O Virtual Day Hike anytime over the main event weekend. This is an excellent option for individuals to still support Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s marine educational outreach efforts and still receive the Hike2O event participation t-shirt, certificate of completion and virtual finishers award. See main event description for more information.
For the Hike2O full backcountry event, participants are responsible for their own water, meals and snacks on the trail. LMC or FTA will not be providing water, food or any provisions on the trail. For each hikers’ safety, and for the safety of the group, all participants must provide their own tent/shelter and water filtration system. These items will be checked on the morning of Day One and hikers will not be permitted to board the bus to the trailhead without having these items checked off by an event guide. Hike2O Virtual Hikers will not be required to hike with any particular gear.
The Hike2O event takes participants through some of the best managed natural areas in south Florida and weaves through no less than five iconic ecosystems of Florida. However, hiking in south Florida presents unique challenges and hazards that should be taken seriously. The ecosystems on this beautiful trail change approximately every mile, from ancient sand dunes with scrub oak and sand pine to pine flat woods, palmetto and oak hammocks, cypress swamp and wet prairies.
Much of the trail weaves through cypress sloughs and wet prairie, inundating large segments of the trail with ankle – shin-deep water depending on the amount of rainfall leading up to the event. At one point along the trail, hikers may cross a waterway up to waist-deep depth. Moving from wet to dry conditions along the trail is one of the most challenging elements of this hike. It is critical that participants have appropriate footwear and clothing to complete the hike successfully.
Uneven Terrain & Sugarsand
As a ‘backcountry’ trail, there are no paved sections of the trail during the Ocean & Lake Hike2O event. Large tracts of the trail include hiking in fine sand, known as ‘sugarsand,’ through cypress roots, or ‘knees,’ and slippery mud. Please consider any injuries or sensitivities to uneven terrain before committing to this event. Hiking poles are recommended for hikers that have experience with Florida hiking but prefer extra support.
Wildlife & Prickly Plants
Backpacking and tent camping in south Florida means sharing the trail with Florida wildlife including, but not limited to: snakes, pigs, birds, and alligators in addition to many plants that can easily scratch skin. Participants should come prepared with basic first aid in the event of minor cuts, scratches, blisters, etc., however each hiking group will be staffed with one Certified Wilderness First Responder in the event of emergencies.
Historic overnight lows have been recorded in the low 30’s while day time highs have been in the mid 80’s. Rain is always possible. This event is rain or shine, so please ensure you pack rain gear accordingly.
Food & Water
Hikers are responsible for providing all of their own meals, water and equipment for the Hike2O event. There will be no water drops during the event and no potable water stops along the trail. A water filtration system is required for participation in the Ocean & Lake Hike2O event for this reason. Hikers are welcome to pack in as much water as they like so long as their pack does not exceed 30lbs. The suggested weight for an individual pack is approximately 20% of the hiker’s body weight.
Camp sites are primitive, meaning there will be no access to bathroom facilities, potable water, or any other typical amenity at a more formal campground. Hikers can expect possible uneven terrain at each campsite depending on conditions. We encourage each hiker to bring a ground tarp for their tent in the event of muddy or wet conditions.
Thank you to our generous Partners and Sponsors:
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