During the Florida Trail’s third decade of existence, a handful of long distance hikers – mainly folks who had already hiked the Appalachian Trail, so they knew what a thru-hike was – found their way here and used the FTA Maps to figure out an end-to-end route.
In 1989, Chet Fromm and Steve Sheridan were the first to document a thru-hike of the Florida Trail as we know it today. Both kept meticulous journals. Chet shared his with FTA and it was incorporated into the book Long Distance Backpacking the Florida Trail (1998, 1999). Steve chronicles his adventures in Florida Any Way You Can, a memoir he published in 2012. Each took a different tack towards piecing together the completed sections of the Florida Trail with roadwalks, since no northern terminus was defined. Steve went northbound, stopping at the end of Apalachicola West, where the trail officially ended at the time. Chet looked at the FTA map set – which was only available to members at the time – and saw Blackwater as the farthest western portion of the Florida Trail. He started there and walked southbound, doing connecting roadwalks through most of the Panhandle. He flip-flopped at Juniper Springs to Big Cypress to complete the last stretch northbound, finishing a single season hike of 1,080 miles.
Hikers completing the Florida Trail between 1987 and 1996
Clint Caudell, Cleveland GA (1993-1994)
Gary Devine, Pensacola FL (1996)
Chet “MEAC” Fromm, Port Orange FL (1989)
Allen De Hart, Louisburg NC (1980-1988)
Winston Lumsden, Brooklyn NY (1988)
Steve Sheridan, Tallahassee FL (1989)
Solange Wiznia, Israel (1993-1994)