Note: you may have been added to the mailing list recently because you're involved with the logistics and planning of the 2013 Big O Hike, or should b

        Web Version   Preferences  
Big O Banner

Note: you may have been added to the mailing list recently because you're involved with the logistics and planning of the 2013 Big O Hike, or should be aware of those plans. If you'd rather not receive these bulletins through email, unsubscribe here.

You can read these bulletins online, if you prefer. Missed Bulletin 1? It contains details on the kickoff and the general plans for the hike.


A litte bit of inspiration ... T-shirt design finalized, ready for orders ... Meetup and Facebook event pages ready ... First campground secured


Paul Cummings and Gordon Johnson


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!

Big O t-shirt 2013 WEB VERSION


We've finalized the 2013 t-shirt design and plans for the annual Official Guide to the Big O Hike. Both will be produced in September and shipped out at the end of that month. This year's guide will be about 48 pages, including not just the background, logistics, and maps for the hike around Lake Okeechobee, but also information and maps on other hikes in the region that we may use on days where hiking on the dike isn't possible.

To help us estimate the size of the print run and t-shirt order, reserve yours in advance! The Loxahatchee Chapter asks a minimum donation of $7 for the guide and $20 for the event t-shirt - or $25 for both - to cover costs. You're welcome to donate more, of course! All proceeds go to the Loxahatchee Chapter, Florida Trail Association. When you make a donation, be sure to include your shipping address (USPS, US and Canadian addresses only) and t-shirt size.

Reserve yours online via Paypal, or send a check made out to "Loxahatchee Chapter, Florida Trail Association," to Florida Hikes, PO Box 2958, Sanford FL 32772, before September 10. Sizes cannot be guaranteed after that date.

We will ship the t-shirts and guides around October 1. If you're attending the FNST Symposium, we should able to hand them off to you at that September 28 event at the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. Just let us know you'll be there!

Additional guides and t-shirts will be available at the Big O Hike kickoff on November 23 and during the hike itself, as supplies last.



If you plan to attend one, two, or all days of the Big O Hike, we'd love to know who's coming. If you're a member of, indicate your interest in a particular day of the hike there.

If you're on Facebook, we've set up an event page to share the basics and for you to ask questions. You can pop in there too.

2011 FT Port Mayaca (114)


Our hats off to the Okeechobee KOA for stepping up to the plate once again as a host campground for the Big O Hike. As in prior years, all campsite assignments and payments will be made through our Wagonmaster, Mike "Nomad" Levitt, cash or check only. Do not contact the campground for reservations; we have a block of campsites set aside for our group's use.

Our group rate is $30 per site, with two tents or one camper/RV on a site. The Wagonmaster will match tent campers up with partners to split costs. Your stay includes access to the swimming pools, hot tub, laundry facilities and bathhouses. The Wagonmaster will arrive to check in campers after noon on Friday November 22. Did we mention the pool and hot tub?


Look for your next bulletin in August. We hope to have more campground information ready by then, as well as some suggested hotels that will offer special rates to Big O Hikers. Between now and then, we'll share some stores from participants and more history of the Big O Hike on the blog at

Cheers, Sandy & John

facebook feed flickr twitter youtube