1. Who Is Who in Florida's Paddling Community
In March of 2013, Daniel Alvarez of Tallahassee completed a nine-month, 4,000-mile kayaking journey from upper Minnesota to Key West called Paddling the Heart of America. The trip included the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. He surprised everyone by continuing his journey up the east coast to complete a loop through the Great Lakes. Follow along with him on his blog : http://predictablylost.com .
Dan and Bethany Cox began paddling from Maine to Key West in 2008. Once in Florida, they enjoyed the circumnavigational trail along the East Coast and the hospitality of several FPTA members. They reached Key West on December 11, 2009. Check out their blog: www.dbkayak.com .
Jake Stachovak began a 5000 mile "Portage to Portage Paddling Project" around the eastern United States. He began his journey in early December 2009 on the Wisconsin River in Portage, WI, and paddled down the icy Mississippi to the Gulf. He paddled the circumnavigational trail in 2010 and began his successful return up the east coast and through the Great Lakes back to Wisconsin. Check out his blog: http://www.portagetoportage.com/ .
Using a lightweight outrigger canoe, Margo Pellegrino paddled from Miami to Maine in 2007 in support of healthy oceans. She followed that with a paddle in 2009 from Miami to New Orleans. Some FPTA members joined her for a short stint near St. Marks. In 2010/2011, she paddled along the Pacific coast of the United States. Here's her blog: http://www.shore11.org/margopellegrino .
2. Paddlers Who Have Completed the Entire Circumnavigational Trail
The paddling season of 2008 and early 2009 marked the first attempts by people to paddle the entire circumnavigational trail (CT). Through their feedback and suggestions, these explorers helped us to improve the trail and open the way for other paddlers. The FPTA network of volunteers often serves as a type of AAA on the water to assist long distance paddlers.
Matt Keene of Clermont, Fl, began Sept 15, 2008 at Ft. Clinch and ended Jan 5, 2009 at Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Fl. He was the first paddler to complete the entire trail since it was established. He was accompanied part of the way by two other companions, Jodi Eller and Matt Gallagher. Several FPTA volunteers helped along the way. He and Jodi (now married) then backpacked the entire Florida Trail. Matt is currently the FPTA director for Region K (Space Coast).
Mike Ruso and Dan Dick started on November 12, 2008, at Big Lagoon State Park near Pensacola and finished on March 26 2009. They are the first west to east paddlers to finish the trail. They had a SPOT Messenger device that allowed people to track their movements on their website. Their website is: ( http://www.mikeruso.blogspot.com/ ). Mike has recently developed an informative and practical guide for those interested in paddling the circumnavigational trail: http://thrupaddlingflorida.jimdo.com/ .
Charles Ingle of Tallahassee became the fourth person to complete the entire 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. When he reached Ft. Clinch State Park on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, he had paddled a total of 63 days, averaging 24 miles per day.
Ian Brown of Orlando began his journey on the entire trail in November of 2009 at Big Lagoon and, after many stops and starts, finished at Fort Clinch in late summer of 2010. Several FPTA members assisted him along the way. This photo of Ian was taken by Mark Adams.
Warren Johnson of Hoover, Alabama, completed the CT in two parts, beginning in 2011 at Big Lagoon and arriving at the Georgia border in August of 2012 at age 62. He had already gained notoriety by paddling the Alabama Scenic River Trail both directions in one trip.
3. People Attempting the CT
Several people are currently paddling the CT in segments over several years--an acceptable way to become a thru-paddler--and we will report on them when they finish.