Wowee... the first 7 miles of the FNST between Loop Road and U.S. 41 are for serious hikers only. It was me and a friend. It was a hot, somewhat humid late april environment. The mosquitoes thirsts for blood. The water level was ankle to knee deep.
The first 4 or so miles are through plains of nothing but florida pines and sawgrass. Some places have short pines, others have taller pines. Some have a lot of pines, other have a few pines. Serious pineage. A short palm appears occassionally. You'll see a cypress dome here and there where you want to rush to to get some water when you are ingesting 2 gallons per hour. It's hot. No shade. Muddy. Wander alongside the trail if the mud gets well, muddy. There are a few shady spots during the first 5 miles.
Opt to miss the first campsite, which is pretty nice, and continue northward..cause this is where it pays off. In the middle of this area, the scene changes into (and im sure there is a name for it) a subtropical canopy of knee to waist deep water everywhere with mangrove-like islands to dry off. This is jungle-like, and fun to traverse. Set up camp here on a mound of dirt. You'll know it when you see it. The party starts at midnight, and ends when the birds sing.
The rest of the trail is an eclectic combination of the two until you hit up oasis visitor center.
We traversed this going FROM 41 to Loop road, and the only way we did it in 1.25 days was through hauling ass(we are fit(excluding camping and arriving time)). These are loooong miles.
We wanted to walk several miles north of oasis on the FNST, but after 1.25 miles of mud-hell and roughly the same scenery, we decided that the dry season is best.
I will eventually do the US 41 to I-75 section, as it promises to yield an amazing time for the hikers who are willing to hike it.