Here’s a “Florida man” story that doesn’t involve criminal charges, wacky eyewitness accounts, or general nationwide embarrassment.
According to a report from The Associated Press, avid hiker and Florida resident Kyle Rohrig and his 21-pound Shiba Inu Katana wrapped up a 1,100-mile trek across the Florida National Scenic Trail earlier this month. The began their journey around Miami in January and finished April 1 at Fort Pickens near Pensacola.
Originally, Rohrig didn’t expect to make this extensive hike with a blind canine companion. Eight-year-old Katana, who lost one eye at age 5, lost her second one to Glaucoma two months before the planned start of the expedition.
“On this hike, with her recently becoming completely blind, I was really nervous about how she would do,” Rohrig, 29, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “I was worried she would be miserable and I would be miserable, but she rose to the occasion and did a lot better than I thought she would.”
He went on to tell the newspaper that Katana was “happy playing on the trail” and that it was “really emotional for me to see how well she did in her current circumstances.”
When things got especially difficult or treacherous for his furry friend, Rohrig put her on his backpack and just kept going. He estimates that he carried his dog for over 800 miles of the total stretch.
And this isn’t the first time that Rohrig has chronicled a long-distance hike with Katana. Written back before Katana lost her sight, his book, “Lost on the Appalachian Trail,” details the duo’s 2,185-mile adventure down the famous and challenging course that runs vertically along the eastern United States.
Rohrig captured the incredible tandem journey across the sunshine state on his Facebook page. You can see some of the pictures and video below.