Wander on the wild and humorous side of adventure with long distance hiker Lauralee Bliss (trail name Blissful), hiking the 1,100-mile Florida Trail from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore. From alligators and cottonmouths to tenting among the palmettos and walking on water, from forests of cypress knees and lofty pine to the help of trail angels along the way, "Blissful" uncovers the hidden gems of glory in this National Scenic Trail with a unique journey unlike any other.
My thoughts: A long-time goal of mine was to hike the Appalachian Trail, but due to physical difficulties and handicaps that was a goal that had to be amended, edited, and changed to standing on the Appalachian Trail. I'm happy to say I achieved that goal and even hiked maybe a half a mile of it, which is nothing compared to what Lauralee Bliss did. I imagine her laughing at me, but hey, I achieved that goal. My goal was also to see the ocean for the first time which I also did on that trip. I also read a hiking book "Hiking Thru" and lived the experience vicariously through trail journals.
So when the opportunity came to review GATORS, GUTS, AND GLORY I didn't think too long about it. A trail in Florida I never heard of. Adventure. Life on the edge. Survivor stuff that takes a special kind of toughness that I don't possess. But oh, I love to dream. And I loved to experience the journey from the air-conditioned comforts of home. Because I would never survive a day/night out on the trail, nevermind weeks and weeks of it. Not I.
Lauralee Bliss writes a firsthand account of what, how, why, when, and what for that will have other armchair adventurers enthralled and might even help some real life adventurers to plan their own journey through mosquito alley, gator swamps and woods filled with poisonous trees (who knew). Add in quick sand (aka sucking mud) and cotton mouths, you will have the stuff nightmares are made of....or maybe dreams come true.
Seriously. I enjoyed this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes to dream big and live life on the edge ... through the pages of a book. And in real life. This book would be a stepping stone in planning your own adventure and she mentions other resources to study as well. Ms. Bliss has also written a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail which i have not read. Yet. Mountains, Madness, and Miracles.
Grab your copy of GATORS, GUTS, AND GLORY today.
I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
to purchase your copy!
About the Author
Lauralee Bliss is an avid adventurer, one of only a few women to hike the entire Appalachian Trail both north and south. She is also the published author of over 25 romance novels and novellas. Lauralee’s desire is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that ministers to the heart. She makes her home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
More from Lauralee
Why hike the Florida Trail of all things?
L – I’ve had several adventures under my belt, like completing the Appalachian Trail twice (see book one in the Hiking Adventure Series – Mountains, Madness and Miracles – 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail)! We used to vacation in Florida as many do come winter, and once we came upon the Florida Trail sign. I couldn’t imagine hiking among the palm trees. After talking to other hikers who had done it, I knew it would be a unique experience unlike any other. After all, why should life be boring?
It all sounds kind of dangerous – the alligators, the swamps. Were you scared?
L – I’ll admit there are facets of hiking that can cause scary situations. Once I got stuck in mud-like quicksand. In Florida it’s known as sucking mud, and I thought I’d never get out of it. Can you imagine? I also had some rough weather, dangerous water crossings, and an encounter with a cottonmouth. Btu through it I learned about God’s peace and His saving hand in situations where you really have no control.
What did you do to prepare?
L – I hiked as much as I could. I talked with other hikers and asked questions. I joined online trail forums to find out about the Florida Trail. I bought the guidebook for it. I believe one should always try to prepare and not venture into something blind. But of course there’s always the unexpected, which adds to the adventure aspect.
What lessons did you learn?
L – What one can accomplish in life if you keep going and not give up, despite the challenging situations thrust your way. I like to go on these journeys to witness God’s care in my life firsthand and seeing the kindness of others to help a hiker in need. I’ve had people try to give me money. Folks that invited me into their homes or given me rides. The human spirit is amazing and one of the most valuable things I experienced.
What else can you tell us about yourself?
L – I am an avid adventurer covering thousands of trail miles in the US from east to west including two completions of the Appalachian Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Long Trail of Vermont, the Allegheny Trail of West Virginia, and the Foothills Trail of South Carolina. I have also authored of over 25 romance novels and novellas and when not writing or hiking, I love to talk to others about hiking. My motto is – make your dream come true! (and it has, in more ways than one)
To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away a grand prize of a $25 REI gift card!!