SWAMP THING (Jan 8-9, 2022)

LAST UPDATED: Jan 5, 2022 at 5:10pm
CURRENTLY REGISTERED: 18 people


ADVENTURE
4.0  (INTENSE)
EXTREME
4.0 (Double Pts)
$26 +

SWAMP THING Everglades Backpacking Trip
January 8-9, 2022 (Sat-Sun) - Big Cypress Preserve east of Naples, FL




 


 
ABOUT OUR SELECT-A-PRICE
GTD's "Select-A-Price" allows you to pick the price you want to pay for this public event. We offer a special sale price on many of our Public Events that are actually less than it costs to run the event per person. We do this to help make events very affordable or free, but some participants desire to pay the full price (or something more than the sale price) so we give you that option too. No matter what price you select we strive to give everyone a priceless God-awesome unforgettable adventure! We hope our Select-A-Price option is a blessing to you!
 
*Note: PayPal's "Add to Cart" feature below allows you to add multiple items to your Shopping Cart before paying. Simply alternate from the GTD tab to PayPal tab in your internet browser to add more items to your cart.
 
SELECT-A-PRICE  DROP-DOWN  MENU
SWAMP THING: Select-A-Price
   
(3% "Tax" added when paying online to cover PayPal fees)
  
 
 
- EVENT SUMMARY -
The Gist


SWAMP THING BACKPACKING TRIP

Swamp Thing is a weekend Christ-centered backpacking journey into one of North America's unsung wild places - the Everglades of south Florida. The Big Cypress Swamp is a spectacular, rugged, rare, subtropical landscape experienced by very few adventurous souls each year. It is hauntingly beautiful. And it is enormous, covering 2400 square miles.

GTD's Swamp Thing is an 8 mile round trip (4 miles each way) hike through the fresh water swamp of Big Cypress National Preserve that flows into the Everglades. We will trek in 4 miles and camp for 1 night on a small pineland island which is surrounded by an endless river of grass, cypress trees, and marsh swamps. During our time we will explore some of the rarest terrain in the world. About 75% of our hiking trail is through swamp water measuring from ankle to knee deep.

This is an adventurous and challenging hike that will cause a sense of wonder and praise deep within your soul as you see the creative genius of an Almighty God. Each day we will start the morning with personal devotions and at night we will spend some time focusing on a Biblical topic. Only through God's amazing power can the grunge of a swamp be used to refresh your soul. Come and see why adventurers haven't experienced anything until they've experienced The Swamp Thing.

POISON IVY WARNING: Some poison ivy has been encountered at the campsite. Learn what it looks like and avoid touching it. Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy, but some people are very allergic to it.


- HIGHLIGHT VIDEO -
Get A Glimpse Of Our Adventures!
 
 

 
 
 
- EVENT DETAILS -
The Specifics


 EVENT: 
 DATE(S): 
  • Jan 8-9, 2022 (Sat-Sun)
  • 2 Days / 1 Night
 AGE RANGE: 
  • 18 and older (17 and under must be accompanied by an adult)
 ACTIVITIES: 
  • Backpacking approx 8 miles total
  • Optional expedition hike through nearby Gator Hole (near base camp)
 COST: 
  (See "What Is Included" and "What Is NOT Included" below)  
  • ABOUT OUR SELECT-A-PRICE: GTD's "Select-A-Price" allows you to pick the price you want to pay for this public event. We offer a special sale price on many of our Public Events that are actually less than it costs to run the event per person. We do this to help make events very affordable or free, but some participants desire to pay the full price (or something more than the sale price) so we give you that option too. No matter what price you select we strive to give everyone a priceless God-awesome unforgettable adventure! We hope our Select-A-Price option is a blessing to you!
  • REG = $99/person (plus meals)
  • "SALEabration" PRICE: $26 (plus meals) [SPECIAL 26th Anniversary Price!!]
    • ================================================
      MINISTRY PARTNER'S DISCOUNT.... $20!! 
      ================================================
     TO REGISTER (2 STEP PROCESS): 
    • STEP 1: ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER!! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!
    • STEP 2: PAY FOR THE EVENT. Select one of our payment options to lock in your spot.
     STARTING TIME: 
     ENDING TIME: 
    • Sunday around 4pm (Ending at the Collier County Rest Area)
     LOCATION, MAP, GPS COORDINATES: 
    • Big Cypress National Preserves (Everglades) - east of Naples, FL
    • GPS: 26°10.066'N, 81°4.665'W
     ACCOMMODATIONS: 
    • Backpacking: 1-person tents, 2-person tents, or cocoon jungle hammocks.
    • NO restrooms available during backpacking trip. "Cat holes" will be used.
    • NO showers available during backpacking trip.
     MIN. PEOPLE: 
    • 4
     MAX. PEOPLE: 
    • 15
     CANCEL DATE (if minimum amt of people do not register for this event): 
    • 5 days prior to the first day of the trip
     TRANSPORTATION: 
    • Carpool
     OPTIONAL ALTERNATIVE MEET-UP SPOT(S): 
    • TBD
     SAMPLE AGENDA OVERVIEW (subject to change): 
    SATURDAYSUNDAY
    Arrive at Rest Area
    Welcome
    Introductions
    Pack Backpacks
    3.5 Mile Hike to Base Camp
    Eat Lunch (Backpacker Meal)
    Set-Up Base Camp
    Relax @ Base Camp
    Dinner (Backpacker Meal)
    Campfire
    Impact Point
    Sleep
    Wake Up
    Breakfast (Backpacker Meal)
    Morning Devos
    Explore Everglades (or Relax)
    Break Camp
    Hike Out 3.5 Miles
    Eat Lunch (Backpacker Meal)
    Change Clothes
    Return Gear
    Load Vehicles
    Depart
    Optional Celebration Dinner


     MEALS: 
    • WHERE TO PURCHASE: Most grocery stores such as Publix have great selections at low costs. Sporting good stores carry specialty backpacking meals that usually cost a little bit more.
    • AMOUNT: Bring plenty of trail snacks for 2 days and enough food for 5 camping meals (1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 extra).
    • SIZE, WEIGHT, & PACKAGING: Food should be lightweight & waterproof. Seal it in zip-lock bags. Try not to bring heavy canned foods.
    • STOVE & COOKWARE: GTD will supply camp stoves, utensils, mess kits, and cooking pots.
    • BACKPACKING MEAL EXAMPLES: "Mountain House" makes a large variety of dehydrated freeze-dried meals that are delicious and simple to prepare. Mountain House backpacking meals can be found at sporting good stores, online, and a small variety at Walmart. Other examples of backpacking meals that can be found at any grocery store are instant mashed potatoes & instant gravy, tortillas with pepperoni (or salami) with sealed cheese, Ramen noodles, Knorr pasta packets, vacuum-sealed tuna fish, vacuum-sealed salmon, vacuum-sealed chicken breast, granola/breakfast bars, pop tarts, freeze dried foods, oatmeal, dried fruits, peanut butter, jelly packets, hard rolls, nuts, M&M's, raisins, sunflower seeds, trail mix, etc. 
    • MEALS DURING TRANSIT: You will probably want to bring money for meals during your drive. After the hike the GTD crew will be stopping along I-75 for dinner during our ride back to Largo if anyone would like to join us for a celebration meal. We will be eating at a restaurant such as Chili's, Cracker Barrel, Sonny's, etc.
     WHAT IS INCLUDED: 
    • Full time guides, all backpacking gear (including backpacks, cocoon jungle hammock or tent, sleeping bag, water bottles, cooking supplies), devotions & spiritual emphasis, a God-awesome lifelong memory!
     WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: 
    • Transportation, snacks / backpacking food, meals during transit, any items listed on checklist (see below).
     REQUIRED WAIVERS: 
    • GTD Waiver (please print & complete prior to arrival). *Note: Any participant under 18 must also have parent/ guardian sign each waiver.
    • Big Cypress Backcountry Permit (These are free permits that must be printed, filled out, and turned in along with the GTD Waiver upon arrival. Permits are found on the NPS website)
     PAYMENT INFO: 
    • GTD events can be paid for with Cash, Checks, Debit / Credit Cards, Venmo, & PayPal.
    • To pay online through PayPal and/or with a debit or credit card scroll up to the payment button on this link (3% "Tax" added when paying online to cover PayPal & credit card fees).
    • Venmo (@GTDADVENTURES): https://venmo.com/u/GTDADVENTURES
    • Send checks to the mailing address on the Contact link.
    • Bring cash payments with you to the event.
     EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS: 
    • GTD: 727-692-5296 (GTD cell phone - Doug Garner)
    • BIG CYPRESS RANGER STATION 239-695-2000 or 239-695-1201


    - ABOUT THE SWAMP TRAIL -
    This Is Part Of The FTA (Florida Trail Association)




     

       
      
     
    A ROMP IN THE SWAMP
    Part Of The Florida Trail Association

    TRAIL LENGTH: 8 miles total (round-tip)
    DIFFICULTY LEVEL:  Strenuous
    TRAIL CONDITIONS: Dry land = 25%. Swamp (ankle deep to knee deep) = 50%. Sludge = 25%
    TRAIL BLAZES: This hike is part of the Florida Trail Association and is marked with orange paint blazes on trees.
    HIKING PACE: Expect to hike at approx 1 mph (4 hrs each way)
     
    -------------------------------
     
    Below is a cheesie, but somewhat informative video from the National Park Service about going on a swamp hike.

     
      
    - ABOUT THE BASE CAMP -
    Our Home In The Swamp

     

    POISON IVY WARNING: There is some poison ivy at this camp. Learn what it looks like and avoid touching it. Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy.
    BASE CAMP TERRAIN: Pineland Island - Dry
    BASE CAMP SIZE: Small (15-20 people max)
    BASE CAMP CONDITION: Sometimes overgrown. Each year we spend the first two hours setting up our base camp by chopping down any overgrown weeds, etc & building our fire pit.
    ACCOMMODATIONS:  Select from a Hennessy Cocoon Hammock (bug-proof & rainproof) or a 1-2 person Eureka tent.

     
     
      
    WILL YOU DO THE SWAMP ROMP?!?!
    ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GOOOOOOOOOO!
     


      


    WHAT'S A GATOR HOLE?
    Optional Excursion



     
     
    FAQ
    Gators & Pythons
     
    The following information is not intended to scare you away from doing this event, but to give you information to increase your awareness and to help you make informed decisions. The reality is that there are probably alligators and pythons in or around the area where we will be hiking. Our experience is that GTD has hiked over 200 miles of the same trail in this area over the past 20+ years and never encountered either of these creatures. That doesn't mean we didn't unknowingly hike near one and it doesn't mean we won't encounter one in the future, but our experience so far up to this point is that we haven't encountered an alligator or a python. We have encountered a rattle snake and a wild boar, but nothing more.

     
    ----------------------------------
    "Human fatalities from non-venomous snakes are very rare, probably averaging one or two per year worldwide... There have been no human deaths from wild-living Burmese pythons in Florida. Overall, the risk of attack is very low." -USGS website
    ----------------------------------


    (Sources/Usage: Public Domain)
    This 152 lb, 17’ 3” python was the largest female captured by the Big Cypress National Preserve Scout Snake Program during the 2019-2020 breeding season.


    (Click here to see updated interactive python locator map. Above screenshot from Jan 2022)


    VIDEOS & RESOURCES REGARDING PYTHONS IN FLORIDA




     
    FWC PYTHON PATROL (Online Presentation):

     
    Frequently Asked Questions about Pythons on the USGS Website:




     
    =======================================
     

    VIDEOS & RESOURCES REGARDING ALLIGATORS IN FLORIDA

    "The likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only one in 3.1 million.... From 1948 to 2019, 413 unprovoked bite incidents have occurred in Florida. Twenty-five of these bites resulted in human fatalities." - FWC website
     





    American Outdoor Guide "Gator Aid": Avoiding And Surviving An Alligator Attack



    - PYTHON vs GATOR -
    &
    - PYTHON vs GATOR vs MAN -

    ^^^ Florida Man Saves Gator From Python ^^^


    In this photo provided by the Everglades National Park, the carcass of a six-foot American alligator is shown protruding from the mid-section of a 13-foot Burmese python Monday, Sept. 26, 2005 in Everglades National Park, FL, after the snake apparently swallowed the alligator resulting in the deaths of both animals.


    - ABOUT THE REST AREA / PARKING LOT -
    How To Find The Trailhead




    STARTING LOCATION:  Collier County Rest Area about 30 miles east of Naples on I-75 "Alligator Alley" (Mile Marker 63).

    TRAILHEAD FACILITIES: Restrooms, vending machines, picnic shelters, free drinking water, water hose, trash cans, cell phone tower, electricity. This will be available at the start & finish of the trip.

    PARKING: We will be parking in the designated recreational parking area. If you are meeting at the trailhead you need to consider this: GTD can not guarantee the safety of your vehicle. Park at your own risk!


    - CHECKLIST -
    What We Supply AND What You Should Bring


    NOTE: The more weight you carry the less fun you will have. Try to only bring what you need. Luxury items may seem like a good idea until the 2nd mile of your hike.





     GEAR PROVIDED BY GTD: 
    *GTD will supply the following gear for you on this trip.
    You may elect to supply your own gear instead of using GTD's gear.
    [  ]  Backpack
    [  ]  Trekking Poles
    [  ]  Cocoon Hammock or Small Tent
    [  ]  Sleeping Pad
    [  ]  Sleeping Bag
    [  ]  Miniature Backpacker's Pillow
    [  ]  2 Lg Water Bottles (1-2 liters)
    [  ]  Water (fill up prior to trailhead)
    [  ]  Backpacker Stove / Fuel / Cookware / Utensils
    [  ]  First Aid Kit
    [  ]  P-Cord (Parachute Cord) (small amt)
    [  ]  Duct Tape (small amt)
    [  ]  Small LED Flashlight and/or Headlamp w/ Batteries
    [  ]  Small Roll of Toilet Paper
    [  ]  Wet Wipes (small amt: travel size)
    [  ]  Emergency Whistle
    [  ]  Signaling Devices
    [  ]  Poncho
    [  ]  Small Plastic Bags (2) (for wet/dirty clothes)
    [  ]  Zip Lock Bags (3) (Gallon Size)
    [  ]  Insect Repellent (small amt: travel size)
    [  ]  Sunscreen
    [  ]  Travel Bible and/or Daily Devotional
    [  ]  GTD WAIVER (Filled out and SIGNED prior to participating!)

     DON'T FORGET TO PACK FOOD & SNACKS: 
    [  ]  Snacks & 5 Backpacking Meals (2 Lunches, 1 Dinner, 1 Breakfast, 1 Extra)

     OPTIONAL GEAR NOT SUPPLIED BY GTD: 
    [  ]  Hiking Gloves (Optional use with trekking poles)
    [  ]  Hydration Pack / CamelBak (1-2 liters)
    [  ]  Pocket Knife (put this in your checked luggage if flying)
    [  ]  Sunglasses
    [  ]  Lip Balm (small amt: travel size)

     RECOMMENDED ITEMS, BUT NOT REQUIRED AND NOT SUPPLIED BY GTD: 
    [  ]  Cell Phone (in case of emergency) (fully charged)
    [  ]  Camera w/ SD Card (fully charged)
    [  ]  Money / Credit Card (snack stops, etc)
    [  ]  Favorite Snack(s)
    [  ]  Gatorade Mix, Caffeine Drink Mix, etc
    [  ]  Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Meds (small amt: travel size)
    [  ]  Anti-Chafe Cream / Vaseline
    [  ]  Additional or Specialty Insect Repellent (if you are more susceptible to insect bites or have sensitivities / allergies to standard repellents)

     PERSONAL ITEMS NOT SUPPLIED BY GTD
    [  ]  Eyeglasses / Contacts (if applicable)
    [  ]  Any Necessary Meds (if applicable)
    [  ]  Travel Size Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, liquid biodegradable soap & shampoo, mini towel, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, brush/comb, hair care)
    [  ]  Big Cypress Backcountry Permit (These are free permits that must be printed, filled out, and turned in along with the GTD Waiver upon arrival. Permits are found on the NPS website)

    ==============================================

    ABOUT CLOTHING: Each backpacker determines the quantity of clothing he or she will bring. To keep your pack weight down it is recommended that you bring lightweight clothing (usually synthetic materials) that can be used more than once & when possible has more than 1 use.

    *NOTE: Your shoes will get trashed (wet, muddy, scratched, etc). It's a good idea to bring a pair of old tennis shoes that you can dispose of after the trip.

     RECOMMENDED HIKING CLOTHING: 
    ==============================================
    *Everglades avg temps in Jan = Low 50's at night; Low 80's during the day
    *Pack according to up-to-date weather forecast. Rain is a possibility.
    ==============================================
    [  ]  Quick Drying Cargo/Activity Shorts
    [  ]  Quick Drying Activity Shirts
    [  ]  Shade Hat
    [  ]  Underwear (1 per day)
    [  ]  Hiking Socks (1-2 per day)
    [  ]  Hiking Shoes (DON'T USE NEW SHOES; USE OLD TENNIS SHOES FOR THIS HIKE!!)
            (Break in your shoes well in advance of the trip)
    [  ]  Gel Insoles (for inside the shoes) (optional)
    [  ]  Flip Flops or Sandals (to use at base camp after each day’s hike)
    [  ]  Modest Swimsuit (possible swimming opportunities)
    [  ]  Long Sleeve Shirt / Sweatshirt
    [  ]  Lightweight Activity Pants
    [  ]  Lightweight or Seasonal Jacket
    [  ]  Thermal / Long Underwear (if cold is forecasted)
    [  ]  Knit Cap
    [  ]  Complete Change of Clothes Including Footwear (for drive back home)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    **DON'T BRING: Jewelry - or - Valuables**
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NOTE: The following gear will be hiked in w/our guides.
    >>>  Fire Starter & Igniters
    >>>  Guide's First Aid Kit
    >>>  SPOT (GPS Emergency Signaling Device)
    >>>  GPS

    We look forward to all that God has in store as we embark together on a God-awesome adventure! Come and see why we are love’n life because of Jesus Christ!

    *We reserve the right to amend this checklist as needed
    .