Friday, December 7, 2007

Seminole Tribe Woes....

I talked to the folks at the Florida Trail Association (FTA) this morning about the Big Cypress reservation being off limits in January and got more details about that. Deb says this happens every couple of years. Perhaps to remind the FTA who's really in charge of the trail through the reservation? I don't know--I'm up-to-date on my tribal politics. For whatever reason, though, they didn't get around to approving hikers for January, and they expect it'll be permitted again during their next tribal council on January 20th. It's possible hikers could be allowed through again near the end of January. I've tentatively said I'll go through starting February 1st.

But that leaves with with a problem. I'd have to walk pretty darned slow to arrive February 1st, which I'd rather not do if I want to arrive at Springer Mountain on April 16th. There are no good road walks that would get me around the reservation. Hiking along I-75 is not allowed, and there's not exactly a whole lot of places to hide from any cops that might drive by.

So tentatively, this is my plan.... I will hike to I-75 and arrive whenever I happen to arrive. I figure it'll likely be near January 20th, right when the tribal council would happen, give or take. If I arrive later than expected, fine... maybe I can just hike through. If I arrive when I expect (or even earlier).... I have a problem. I'll just skip that section starting at I-75 jump ahead to just north of the reservation. Apparently, it's perfectly fine to drive through the reservation--it's the hiking through that's illegal. Despite the fact that much of the hike through the reservation is on roads. I guess they view hikers as "suspicious" (and honestly, have you ever seen a thru-hiker? They do look more than a bit suspicious....), so they need to tell all of the police in the area the names of hikers passing through if any of them stop me, they know I'm okay.

The trail comes out near a rest area on I-75, so I'll try to get a ride out from the rest area to an area north of the reservation and skip the reservation. Then later, hopefully early in February before I get too far north, I'll get a ride back to I-75 and hike through the reservation. After reaching the north side of it, I'll get another ride back to where I hiked before I had to backtrack.

Which means I need to arrange three rides to get this section done. First to skip the reservation, then to backtrack to the reservation, then to forward-track to the point where I stopped to backtrack. Make sense so far?

And, more importantly, are there any volunteers who can help shuttle me around this mess? =) I can work around your schedule when I do the backtracking to make things as convenient as possible. My arrival at I-75 isn't set in stone, but that's less predictable. Anyhow... let me know!
I'd be more than happy to cover the cost of gas (and tolls!) for the drive to help me out. =)


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for this trip, I'm at the opposite end of I-75 but if you ever need a lift while doing the North Country Trail, let me know!

Kaaren said...

What section of Florida? South? What county?

Debbie St.Amand said...

I can probably help you out with that first jump from the south of the reservation to the north. You've got my phone number, just let me know.


Ryan said...

I figure anyone who doesn't know where the Seminole reservation is probably is too far away to help. ;o)

The reservation is north of Alligator Alley (a.k.a. I-75) but south of Lake Okeechobee, near the centerline of the state.

I'll have a much better idea of my situation after I finish hiking through the keys, though. Mostly just an FYI to see who might be able to help near the end of January or beginning of February. I'm hoping Amanda can come out to visit and help with the backtracking since that part is more flexible than the skipping part.

Stay tuned for updates, though!

Anonymous said...

I'm familiar with the trail (but you know that already - I wish I were doing the hike!), and I'd be happy to help with any section...rides, food, help of any kind. If you'd like my number, just send me an email.

Three Hearts

Wooohoo Crew said...

Ryan could you ask the Tribe? They may make an exception.

Anonymous said...

Offer the tribe you would like to learn about their culture and issues and write it up on your well read blog.