Some of these are common sense (at least for Florida residents) and the rest are lessons learned by two friends with very bad sense of judgement.
- Never buy organic mosquito repellent! Buy the most toxic, deathly repellent you can find! Nor drink beer the day before, apparently our blood tastes so much better after a few beers.
- Always wear Sunscreen!
- Hydration: Florida is hot and humid. I like the convenience and price of REI’s Camelbak Mini MULE. It can store 1.5 liters, which may not be enough depending on the trail. I usually pack extra bottles for longer distances. I bring my Mini Mule with me everywhere!
- Easy Snacks: As you sweat, you lose sodium and potassium which diminishes muscle performance and can cause your muscles to cramp, specially in this type of heat. Bananas, coconut water and protein bars are my go-to choices.
- Make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear. Nothing worse than blisters during a hike/trail.
- Always watch your step! We almost stepped on a Cottonmouth, a venomous semi-aquatic viper. Which in return, displayed its impressive white palate as it hissed at us!
- If it says No trespassing, No vehicles allowed, No walking allowed , You really shouldn’t trespass, drive or walk! May sound like common sense to most but I know there’s some of you out there that tend to push their luck. Last time I did; I encountered a Florida Panther in the border of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve and Picayune Forest. Yes, There’s only about 180 left and I ran into one in the wild. Scariest moment of my life. No, it didn’t give two shits about me. If it would have, I wouldn’t be writing this.
- Anytime you’re going to a remote place, there’s the possibility of bad wireless reception. Always let a relative or friend know where you’re headed and when you plan on returning.
- Don’t feed the wildlife. It prevents them from developing essential foraging skills, and makes them dependent on humans for food. It causes them to lose their instinctive fear of people and their health can be affected.
- Try not to chase/follow wandering prey. May also be common sense for those sensible souls out there. Not for me. I tend to follow cute animals,
and talk to them in weird voices. The Florida panther encounter occurred after me and best friend (with also terrible sense of judgement) followed two white tail deer. There’s never been a report of a Florida panther attacking a human but we are still talking about a cougar subspecies that hunts for a living and that can run 40-50 mph! Don’t become the first one.