Everglades Exploration Network

Day Hike to Looneyvile and Last Resort, in Big Cypress National Preserve Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Loonyville, Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Meet at Publix (Weston) at Exit 22 (Glades Parkway) on I-75 North (one exit east of SR 27) at 6:45 AM.
    I-75 north, Exit 22, left at traffic light (heading south), right on Glades Circle (2nd traffic light) and right into Publix shopping center. We normally congregate just to the left after entering parking lot.


    Hosted:Happy Hoofers

    Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/67137159048/10151608548284049/?ref=...


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I feel I've been to Looneyville, but maybe not this one ? 

I'm there every week end with my wife at home! JK!

Can anyone do this? Im assuming this is a members only event?

No not members only that the great thing! Everyone come out join us. This has been the few times I have been with people out in the Glades and it has been lots of fun!

The cool thing it been people with all kinds of back ground. Everyone add to the trip from Snakes, plants etc.

Miami101 said:

No not members only that the great thing! Everyone come out join us. This has been the few times I have been with people out in the Glades and it has been lots of fun!

I worked at Bear Island a few years ago and I met a hiker that requested my assistance. It was after nightfall when he approached my camp. He told me he was from the Happy Hoofers group but he couldnt keep up because he was packed too heavy and was forced to turn back by himself. He said he was tired from walking alone and all he requested from me was a place to camp and rest and he could walk to the road the next day. He didnt realize it but he had already walked back within a half mile of the public campsite but I drove him there anyway.

I checked on him early in the morning and he was in great spirits. He said he could walk the rest of the way. He was a really great guy but I never saw him again unfortunately. Im sure he made it to the road safely as he was just packed too heavy for what may have been his first overnight hiking trip in this area . 


It seems to me that inviting anyone and everyone from all kinds of backgrounds is just asking for problems. There may have been other occasions were hikers are abandoned and/or forced to turn back alone, I dont know.  Is this a good idea to invite those that may be inexperienced and how are these situations usually handled? I think he told me he signed papers releasing the group from any liability because he didnt want to ruin the trip for the others...like I said he was a nice guy.  Are you a member of the Happy Hoofers?

I didnt mean to sound negative. It sounds like a lot of fun with some great people

Dale, that was a very unusual situation you encountered. The FTA group hikes, including those organized by the Happy Hoofers chapter are categorized based on difficulty and my guess is that this guy was on one of the strenuous hikes. Sometimes, the hike is closed to nonmembers, but most of the time it is not. It is a catch-22 in that FTA's mission is to increase wilderness awareness and experience so it encourages new membership, which means all kinds of people are and should be invited. Vivian and I specifically offer a beginners overnight hike that is relatively easy. We expect people to be honest about their experience and abilities; unfortunately, often they are not. We have turned people away for this reason. It disturbs me about this guy in that no one is suppose to be left on his or her own. I don't know the circumstances for this incident you speak of, but it is a very unusual thing. The guy may very well have been an experienced hiker and the leader was comfortable with leaving him, but it should never have happened. Leaders typically do a pack check, but again, this guy may have been experienced, but got in over his head for some reason on that trip.

My final word is that the FTA organizes wonderful trips with experienced, responsible and knowledgeable leaders, and this weekend's trip will be one of them. Esther Muram, trip leader, is an amazing hiker and master naturalist. I joined FTA 10 yrs ago and have learned just about everything I know about wilderness backpacking from members. Also, the FTA takes care of the trail and works hard to maintain them so we can all enjoy the wilderness regardless of membership.

I agree with Connie, and the other group Hiking the Florida Trail in Big Cypress National Preserve are also members of FTA.

Both groups have a process in place to make the trip save, and always are very safe.

This man told me that he was an experienced hiker but he thought the extra weight he was carrying was the difference. He was tired but I didnt feel he was in any danger. He set up his own tent and was just fine. He didnt even need or want any of the water I gave him.  I think he was most concerned that he didnt want to ruin the trip for the others.


I hear nothing but good things about the FTA and thanks for explaining.. I run into all kinds of people in different situations while Im working and I think this was the only time I ever spoke with or met anyone from the FTA.  They pretty much take care of themselves.

I just want to add that this man was in no way upset with the FTA.  He was upset with himself and his main concern was that he didnt want to ruin the hike for the others so he convinced them to allow him to go back by himself.


Actually I thought the fellow had a great attitude and that is probably why the leader allowed him to turn back alone.

Here's an interesting site about Looneyville :: http://bigcypressproductions.com/4.html

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