Date- January 9, 2019
Location- Oasis Campground
Elevation- 20 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 12 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 47.9 miles
Weather/Temp- overcast/70s 80s
Pain level- none
Wildlife encounters- gators, tropical birds
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 3
CatFox Status- stoic and aloof
Food Eaten – Indian Tacos, Beef Sausage
Left Noble campsite a little before 8 am and began a brisk 8 mile hike to Billie Swamp Safari. Spotted a few small gators in some ponds, and I couldn’t help but wonder what their main staple of food is. They looked healthy, but I just couldn’t imagine that many animals straying down to the waters edge. But I guess they do.
We met up with another hiker named “Parks” about 5 miles in – a heavy set, cheerful guy in his early 30s from Michigan. He wasn’t out to do the whole trail, just a few hundred miles. We stuck with him for the next 3 miles to the swamp safari and learned he used to be a field engineer for a microscope company. You meet all kinds out here!
We rolled into Billie Swamp a little after 10:30 and threw down on some Indian Tacos before my sister Carly arrived with Katana and my nephew, Ethan around 12:45. United again at last!
I caught up with my two family members for about 20 mins before they continued on their long round trip drive to get my Honda further south. But not before they left me with some tasty snacks and sweet tea! They were a huge help in getting Katana back to me smoothly.
From there, Schweppes and I road walked the 4 miles to the RV campground where I left off last week. We met up with around half a dozen other thru hikers here – not a one of them under age 50. Cue Florida/Florida Trail retirement jokes. If you don’t mind the heat, the gators, the mud, and the bugs… the Florida Trail is very friendly on the ol’ joints! In fact, there is a man in his mid 80s hiking just ahead of us.
We called it a day, and I cooked some beef sausages before the sun went down. Katana was the Bell of the RV park, attracting herself lots of pets and inquiries. I just don’t know if I have it in me to jerk people around about her origins and breed like I used to in the old days. Maybe I’ll get a wild hair and spin some yarns…
We’ll be on to greener and stranger pastures tomorrow. Finally back into the unknown. In about ten miles we’ll begin the “levee” portion of the hike. Not 100% sure what to expect, but from what I’ve heard, it’s 40 miles of exposure, gators, contaminated water, and wind. My curiosity is piqued, and I look forward to sharing the encounters with you!