My name is Jupiter, 31 years old born and raised in south Florida, travel chosen to be experienced by foot. Over the past few years I have hiked more than 14,000 miles on long distance trails across the US, and am looking forward to a lot more in the future!
In 2012 I attempted a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, making it about 400 miles until I was forced to quit. My inexperience and general lack of backpacking knowledge had me carrying a very beastly 60 pound backpack thinking I was prepared, in reality simply causing a lot of pain in my feet and ankles. Coming home I forgot about backpacking for a little while, moved, and eventually came back to it after going down some very negative paths. I remembered having the time of my life up in those east coast Appalachian mountains, I packed my things, and started going out into the woods again near where I lived. Frankly I needed a hobby, and a place to go rebuild myself after a rough couple years. What was just an innocent thing turned into an obsession. Given the reason for failing my first thru hike a big topic of thought and exploration for every new trip was how I could lighten my pack, and walk more freely on the land. I soon found myself backpacking twice a week every week. Going camping nearly every day I had off, and much to my managers dismay, taking an extreme amount of vacations. I racked up roughly 2,000 miles of small sections locally as well as further north on the AT. Pushing myself further and harder with each hike, going through a great period of learning and self growth. I found myself wondering what to do with this new found joy. Bringing us to 2016 and my 4,800 mile Eastern Continental Trail thru hike.
As a Floridian I wanted to hike the Florida Trail, and I still felt I had unfinished business on the Appalachian Trail, so I decided to do both of those in a single year. Quitting a job I really enjoyed to do just one didn’t feel like much of a reason at the time. A friend joked that I, “should just connect the two.” I laughed, he laughed, I went home, and that joke haunted me. So I did, tacking on the 200 miles south to finish in the Keys, and roughly 800 miles north to start way up in Quebec, while still connecting the two trails I originally wanted to walk with a large section of smaller trails and roads in between. In this process I brought one home for the team, and even set a self supported speed record on my home states trail, averaging 39 miles a day for 28 days straight, in a fury of madness down the center of Florida.
Beyond that in 2017 I met a girl, hiked with her from New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail up to Quebec on the International Appalachian Trail for about 500 miles. Later that summer after spending a months time in Montreal I flew to the west coast, and got my first taste of the Pacific Crest Trail. Hiking with friends, though heart broken over the girl, I solidified my feelings that it was time for another really big hike. The dream and obsession began again.
In 2018 I set out to yoyo the Pacific Crest Trail, and though I wasn’t successful I did get to experience 1,000 beautiful miles out west, and sure learned a lot! I actually broke my foot in two places just 200 miles in after simply tripping on a rock, and continued for the next 800 miles with that injury. I hadn’t known at the time my foot was broken as there was no swelling, discoloration, and some days were extremely painful, other days it didn’t feel much different.
After taking a lot of time sitting down and walking with crutches after finding out what had happened I got a job as a painting instructor, teaching classes of students for 2-3 hours at a time how to paint with acrylics. All the while saving up money for my next trips.
2019 rolls around, my feet are feeling great, I hiked the Ocean to Lake Trail a few more times, and soon embarked on a thru hike of the Sheltowee Trace Trail. A 320 mile route across the state of Kentucky. Still to this day one of my favorite hikes I have done. Later that year I joined some friends on the Pacific Northwest Trail to do a 600 mile section across the state of Washington. Shortly after finishing getting a ride to Utah to hike the 100 mile Uinta Highline Trail. It was a year of very different environments. From Florida Trails, to lush Kentucky with its towering rock walls, the rugged off trail terrain in the Pacific Northwest, to the near desert environment in Utah hiking above 10,000 feet.
The following year brought many challenges across the world, and I don’t think anyone would say 2020 was an easy year for them. Fortunately prior to the pandemic making its way to the United states I was able to sneak in a second thru hike of the 1,100 mile Florida Trail hike before moving out west to Arizona. This hike across Florida was a little different as I wasn’t setting a speed record, but also I was hiking with a partner. My first truly long hike with a partner was a great one, and once again I learned a lot.
In 2021 I was able to hike the 800 mile Arizona Trail, the 170 mile Tahoe Rim Trail, and the northern section of the Vermont Long Trail from Canada to where it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. It was a great year and I was able to accomplish a lot of what I had put off doing the year prior. The Arizona Trail I was able to hike in 29 days averaging more than 27 miles per day through the harsh desert. A trail experience I absolutely loved, and would recommend the AZT to anyone who is even sort of interested. The Tahoe Rim Trail was a fun time circumnavigating one of the largest lakes in the United States through the high mountains surrounding it. A good experience to have for anyone thinking about attempting the PCT given they are so similar. Later in the year the Long Trail was a nice return to the east coast, getting to see fall colors in Vermont.
In 2022 I came back to the Pacific Crest Trail (after a failed attempt in 2018) to try again, this time around I was successful and completed the 2,650 mile hike in 84 days! Averaging more than an ultramarathon a day, traveling light, and having a very good time. I did this trail how I always dreamed of doing it, and am now one step closer to my triple crown.
Now in 2023 I plan to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail, Great Divide Trail, and Colorado Trail. An effort to step up difficulty in a big way to learn and grow as a hiker. To expand my horizons beyond what is normally expected on a long trail. It’s going to be a great year!
If you wish to contact me, feel free to come through my email
If you wish to support me in sharing my passion through video and artwork while helping others with trail tested advice so they can get out there happily and comfortably as well, check out the link below!
Well written article!
Hey I am also from Juoiter Florida. I am currently at Franconia Notch NOBO. I am at home getting dental work done and plan on returning next week to finish this thing. 363 miles to go, where are you? On trail or planning?
Hey kevin! I’m going to find you on Facebook if that’s ok! Still planning and training and saving for me. I plan to leave june 1st sobo.
Awesome to know there’s more hikers in this area! Hit me up sometime when you’re itching for some trail.
Been home since 10/4. Got off for the season in Monson, Maine as it was getting cold and I didn’t want to buy a warmer bag. Going back this June with my wife and hiking Monson to Kathadin. We might run into each other up there. I am thinking about hiking the Ocean to Lake trail, but maybe waiting another month to see if some of this rain gets out of here. Great luck to you, it will be an amazing experience trust me. Life changing.
Greetings, just wanted to reach out to say thank you for taking the time to publish. Your tips and guidance (everything from Aquamira drops to Leokotape to generally keeping lightweight) allowed the lovely wife and myself to hike the OTL this week in three days. We worked hard, saw some amazing sights, and had an overall great time. Certainly some physically and mentally trying parts but on the whole it was a fantastic experience. I owe you a beer sometime if you’re interested – seriously, I’m in Jupiter so hit me up. Also, do let me know if you ever if you ever want a partner to knock out a quick trip in the area. I personally am interested in covering the OTL in two days in the next few months. Thanks again and best of luck on the ECT. Will be following you.
Three days is rough! I’m impressed! It’s been such a high rain year I encourage you to head out on an overnight or some day hikes next Jan-March, as it will likely be bone dry! What a thought right? Did you two run into my friend and local FTA chapter chair, Roy? He had mentioned a couple. Were you guys the ones looking for patches? If so Roy is the man! You certainly have earned them.
I could get down with a beer or two, but my work schedule is weird. Either way, you can find me on Facebook as “Jupiter Hikes,” as well.
Two days, now that’s something. I’d like you to seriously consider what it would take to go an extra 10 miles after already doing 20! It’s certainly an experience based around the hike, and not at all the camp. It takes me about 10 hours, with maybe one or two short breaks to knock out 31 miles. I’ll usually arrive at camp just in time to go to sleep. If you’re up for it, let me know, and it will be considered. I am meaning to head out there once or twice more in the next couple months.
Surprisingly we didn’t see a soul when we were out this time – I have done a number of long day hikes over portions of the trail and usually see at least one thru hiker. I did see a couple in JDSP last Sunday when I was doing a trial 26 mile day with a loaded pack. They were on their first day and were shooting for a five day trip. I expected to meet them at the lake end on Weds or so, when we set out, but never saw them. So they may have wrapped up earlier than expected for whatever reason. Hopefully they made better time than intended.
Either way two days is definitely ambitious. Not sure really why I even want to other than why not?? Still in the consideration phase of that idea… The wife and I were blown away at the thought of people ultra-marathoning it. Don’t honestly see how it’s possible even if in the summer (wet!!) when the days are long.
Anyway would love to reach out on Facebook but I seem to be the only person in our generation without an acct (yet). But like I said if you ever want a partner to do a fast-paced somewhat minimalist hike then do let me know. I believe you can access my email address via this site? Either way I’m serious about the beer sometime – would love to pick your brain on all matters hiking. I live in Abacoa and have a somewhat flexible schedule.
Reading your tarp article now. Awesome stuff. Thanks again for your efforts in sharing this info.
PS – we had a gator experience of a similar magnitude to yours in your lollipop post. Son of a gun was laying underwater smack dab in the middle of the trail in hole in the wall. Would have literally stepped on him without knowing had I not been wearing polarized glasses. We were easily within ten feet and he was 6-8 feet. We gave it a wide berth but it shook us up quite badly. And by quite badly I mean it scared the day lights out of us. Great times!
Yeah let’s go get a beer. That’s super strange! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this trail without any issue with snakes or gators. At least it’s a good story hahah!
Hi, I loved reading about your experiences, felt like I was there.
I know you hike the Ocean to Lake trail a lot year round.
I’m curious how you deal with the Florida heat in dead summer.
I’ve been out on the section of the FT south of I-75 a few times and it is consistently brutal.
Just curious if you have any tips or tricks for staying cool out there in summer.
Jupiter…is the shirt that you’ve been wearing in your recent YouTube videos a Columbia Silver Ridge? Is it the white or the tan (fossil) color? Do you find that it it cool enough when it’s hot? I have one and wore it for part of the desert section of the PCT and it felt like I was wearing a plastic bag. Mine is blue. Maybe a lighter color would have worked better.
Jupiter, A Canadian Scoutmaster here and wondering if you might publish or have a “go to” source for your meal recipes you like to take or have along on your treks? I am always encouraging my Troop to be doing backpacking and trying new things. Really find your posts, youtube, etc. quite entrigueing. Keep up the great work!
Hi Jupiter, Thank you for all the information provided for the OTL trail. Hiking the OTL anytime soon? Im planning to hike it starting 1/21 to 1/25, any new updates on the trail?