Weekend Backpacker: Miami
It's a young city, a vibrant city awash in a crosscurrent of cultures, where salsa music plays under the royal palms and pastel pink art-deco hotels crowd the beachfront. It's SoBo, the trendy South Beach district, and Little Havana, Hispanic to the core. It's a dash of the Caribbean, a touch of South America, a splash of Spain, and a mecca for fun-loving European tourists. Miami's differentand that goes double for the weekend escapes that hikers can take from this south Florida enclave set on the edge of the Everglades.
One step into Everglade wetlands and you'll discover why hiking trails are so very carefully placed through its unusual natural features. The world's broadest river covers a rugged limestone floor, flowing scarcely an inch deep, flowing through razor-sharp grass. In the depths of Big Cypress, you'll wade through deep blackwater swamps; on Long Key, you'll wander through tropical hammocks alive with gumbo limbo, poisonwood, and mahogany trees. For excellent itineraries and maps of Everglades and Keys hikes, pick up a copy of Hiking Florida by M. Timothy O'Keefe, or look into A Hiking Guide to the Trails of Florida by Elizabeth F. Carter. You may also want to ask around at Jet's Florida Outdoors, where they carry a full range of backpacking gear, maps, and guidebooks. The store is located just off the Florida Turnpike in Miami at 9696 Bird Road.
Looking for adventure, but afraid to go it alone? These Miami-area groups can get you going. The busy Outdoor Adventures Klub of South Florida doesn't just do backpackingthese folks ride their mountain bikes down some of the state's most beautiful beaches, snorkel the coral reef at John Pennekamp State Park, sail the Keys, and even throw contra dances. Leading canoe and hiking trips, the Big Cypress Chapter of the Florida Trail Association meets monthly on the third Thursday at Palmetto High School, 7460 SW 118th Street, Room 900, at 7:30 p.m. Finally, the Sierra Club of Miami meets monthly on the second Monday at 7 p.m. at the Coral Gables Women's Club, 1001 E. Ponce DeLeon Blvd.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication