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Grit on the Florida Trail

Dr. Glenn Tremml treks 1,100 miles from the everglades to the tip of the panhandle — 1,101.7, to be exact

The unrivaled guardian cypress tree near Holton Spring is 45 feet in circumference and 14 feet in diameter. “When I found it off the trail,” says Tremml, “I thought the site looked so prehistoric that the only thing missing was a dinosaur.”

The unrivaled guardian cypress tree near Holton Spring is 45 feet in circumference and 14 feet in diameter. “When I found it off the trail,” says Tremml, “I thought the site looked so prehistoric that the only thing missing was a dinosaur.”

Dr. Glenn Tremml is familiar with the commitment it takes to reach a lofty goal. As an age-group competitor in the 2011 International Triathlon Union World Championship in Beijing, he had trained long hours in grueling conditions to reach the highest competitive level in his sport, but his biggest challenge to date was not viewed by stadiums full of cheering fans. Instead, it took place in the lonesome wilderness of Florida National Scenic Trail, which extends from the southern end of Big Cypress in the Everglades to Fort Pickens outside of Tallahassee — a 1,100-mile thru-hike for only the heartiest of souls. 

Tremml’s son Will had tackled the trail at the south end in Big Cypress but had the bad luck to try it in late 2015 — the wettest winter recorded in a decade — when deep water and mud made the trek dangerous. The hike was abandoned but for Will’s father, the seed of an idea had been planted. 

Tremml pushed the lure of the Florida Trail to the back of his mind as he worked increasing hours as an emergency physician at Indian River Medical Center. A few extra pounds and a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation had put his running on hold, but he wanted to get back in shape. “I was looking to lose 10 pounds and knew that walking burns more fat, versus running, which burns primarily carbohydrates.” He began training in August for the biggest walk of his life, hiking and backpacking over all types of terrain. Dry, warm conditions were predicted and by December Tremml committed to walking the entire length of the Florida Trail. “I started along the southern route in Big Cypress in February where I knew it would be warmer than at the north end near Tallahassee. I saw that there would be two full moons within the month and thought that would be beautiful and practical, providing more light at night.”