Each summer, in preparation for the upcoming Big O Hike during Thanksgiving week, a group of volunteers from the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association take on the task of figuring out the logistics for the annual 9-day event. This means a lot of on-the-ground research, communicating with campgrounds to ensure group discounts and smooth sailing, and working with local community leaders, law enforcement, and land managers to enable our large group to move around the lake with ease. Not to mention booking Thanksgiving Dinner at the Clewiston Inn!
In 2010, I took over from a long line of editors producing the official Guide to the Big O Hike, volunteering as managing editor and book designer, coordinating with field editors, proofreaders, and contributing photographers to get the job done. The result is our 44-page guide to the journey.
There are no fees to be a part of the Big O Hike. You pay your own way with meals and campgrounds, and those of us drivers who shuttle hikers appreciate the contributions for gas money. Everything is done by volunteers for the love of this 22-year-old event, the longest-running hiking event in Florida.
One of the few ways we raise funds to defer our costs is to ask for a donation for the guidebook. The guidebook contains not only detailed information about the Big O Hike itself, but rich background information on the history of the region, the communities around the lake, hiker services, campsite locations, and, most importantly, detailed maps for each of the nine segments of the Florida Trail we traverse to complete the circle around Lake Okeechobee.
Whether you’re considering joining us on the Big O Hike or just planning your own hiking and backpacking along the lake, we’d appreciate your support. Grab a PDF copy of an old edition of the guidebook now, and join our mailing list (see the form at the top right of this page) to get an alert as to when the new edition will be available for a donation. Thanks!