Who are the Adventurers?

Jim Kern – Founder of the Florida Trail

In the 1960s, Jim Kern headed to North Carolina for a hike on the Appalachian Trail. He returned to Florida with a vision for a hiking trail across Florida, and founded the Florida Trail Association. By October 1966, Kern met with the managers of the Ocala National Forest and received permission to start blazing the hiking trail adventurers enjoy today.


Florida Trail: The Idea
Founding the Florida Trail
Hiking in Florida
Trail Reflections Introduction
This video is Jim’s invitation to everyone to get out and hike the world.
Jim Kern’s site
Florida Trail Association
Jim Kern Video

Ross Allen – Reptile Wrangler

Ross Allen, founder of the Ross Allen Reptile Institute at Silver Springs, was known for his daring approach to wild Florida, particularly the reptiles. Famous for “milking” snakes of their venom, he says he was motivated to start this practice by the need to treat his son for a bite at a time when there was no serum available.


Boy Scout Survival Safari
Ross Allen Video

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (February 1519–September 1574)

The Spanish explorer, Pedro Menendez came to Florida in 1565 and established the city of St. Augustine and became the first governor of Florida.

  • He explored the St. Johns River from Jacksonville south.
  • In 1566 he and fifty soldiers came down the St. Johns River crossing Lake George.
  • He is thought to be the first European to visit Lake George.
  • Encountered local Native American tribes of the Timucuans and what his journals called
    the “Mayacans.” Scholars still debate if these were Timucuans or not.
  • Came as far south on the St. Johns River as Astor where he and his soldiers met resistance from
    Native American tribes and were turned back.

Bartolome Barrientos, wrote Menedez’s biography in the 1500’s and wrote about the encounter near Astor.

Not far south of Lake George they found a large settlement where the chief, Moyoca, warned they could
not go further without permission. They found the riverbanks filled with… “large bands of agitated Indians
armed with bows and arrows … at a narrow place in the river, he found the way blocked by a row of stakes.”

After they broke through, more Native Americans appeared and Menendez and his soldiers turned back.

From an article by Ronald Williamson