Florida Trail – Stage 1 – Western Gate

Start:  Fort Pickens


End of Day 1 – Sunset over Pensacola Bay.

Finish:  Harold

Time:  2 days (December 10-11, 2011)

Distance:  60 miles (97 km)

Daily Average:  30 miles (48.5 km)


  • Fort Pickens Historical Site: Built between 1829 and 1834, this scenically set garrison was one of only four forts which remained under the Union army’s control during the entire Civil War (1861-65).
  • Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Beach Walks: Gorgeous golden sands, no houses or hotels and fantastic swimming.
  • Sunset over Pensacola bay at the end of Day 1.


  • Road walking into and out of Navarre. Sign of things to come.
  • High-rise hotels at Pensacola Beach.

Notes & Musings:

  • Harold Holt: This first section of the FT finished in the tiny town of Harold. The following town, situated only a few more miles up US 90, was called Holt. Put together, Harold/Holt,  also happened to be the name of an Australian Prime Minister back in the 1960’s, who died under mysterious circumstances whilst going for a swim at Cheviot Beach, Victoria. He literally disappeared and was never heard of again. To this day it continues to be one of the great mysteries in Australian history.

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