Most of us have heard of the Appalachian Trail. You may not know that Florida has an equivalent trail. It is called the Florida Trail and it is an 800-mile-long trail from the Panhandle south to the Everglades. This trail is part of the National Scenic Trail System and is maintained by the Florida Trail Association. A part of this trail runs through Citrus County from Dunnellon south along the northern part of the Withlachoochee State Trail (WST), through Inverness, into the Withlachoochee State Forest and then further south to the Everglades.
For many years, I helped maintain this trail. Now I spend my time cycling the WST and dealing with maintaining it. But, over the years, whenever I see grungy hikers with large backpacks tugging along the WST, we call them through hikers, I stop and talk with them and provide as much local knowledge as I can.
So, on that rare occasion, mostly in the winter, if on the WST you should pass a laden grungy backpacker please give them a smile and a wave, realizing that they are on a long journey through our wonderful Florida Nature Coast.