Florida Trail Day 15

Florida Trail - Levee walking on the road

Day- 15
Date- January 13, 2019
Location- Side of Trail
Elevation- 30 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 7.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 110.8 miles
Weather/Temp- Sunny/80s
Injuries- Cut on hand
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- High
Wildlife encounters- Gators, Buzzards
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
Hunger/craving- none
CatFox Status- super
Food Eaten – Carnita Burrito, Asada Taco, Chinese food

Thoughts/Stories-

After eating Two medium Pepperoni Pizzas last night, I got another hankering around 10 pm and wandered down the street to Popeye’s Chicken. The lobby was closed and they wouldn’t let me walk through the drive through, so I pressed onward. No chicken tonight.

A short ways down the street I could hear latin music blaring and smell food cooking. Like a cartoon character, I floated on the smell and sound waves right up to the scene.

The main population of Clewiston is mostly migrant workers from south of the border – at least in the south half of town. Every restaurant is Mexican themed, and everywhere you go, everyone is speaking Spanish. It can be a culture shock for some people to experience this sort of alienation (if you want to call it that) within their own country, but I don’t mind it.

Wearing my fanny pack, my super short American Flag running shorts, and a torn and dirty button down shirt – I wandered under the front awning of the restaurant called “Jalepenos.”

They were two men cooking on a large flat grill behind a rolling counter with different meats stacked up around them. Carnitas, chorizo, asada, barbacoa, adobada, and more. They also had a toppings bar laid out with about a dozen different combinations of pico de gallo, salsas, guacamole, sour cream, onions, cilantro, etc.

Nobody really spoke English, and I stuck out in my outfit like a turd in a punch bowl. As I tried to relay my order of a carnita burrito and an asada soft shell taco to the women accepting the money and the men preparing the food – I couldn’t understand anything the said in regards to them putting my order together in front of me. They would ask me something, and I would just nod and say “Si!” as I smiled like a goofy idiot. Then they’d pile something onto the flour tortilla and ask another question. “Si! Porfavor!”

Eventually, after enough “Si’s,” I had a giant burrito and an over filled soft taco in front of me – and all for under ten bucks! I filled up a few to-go containers from the toppings bar and hobbled back down the street to the room.

Long story short, that burrito and taco was as good, if not better than anything I’ve had on the west coast, texas, or even Mexico. “Mwah!”

This morning I did some laundry in the bathtub and dried it on the sidewalk outside. You know, classy stuff.

We rode the checkout all the way to 11am before setting out with Parks. We had lunch at Jalapenos, then second lunch at a lackluster Chinese buffet. After that, it was on to resupply at walmart about a mile further into town.

I laid out my sleeping pad in the shopping cart and set Katana and my pack inside. If someone asked if she was a service dog, we would tell the truth. If they asked us to leave, we would leave. But… no one ever does. She’s just too cute and well behaved for anyone to care; especially sitting in the shopping cart the way she does. I think 4 employees stopped to pet her while we were shopping.

Of all places, I garnered my first injury of the trail in Walmart today. While reaching in to grab a grass fed ribeye, the top of my right hand scraped the bottom of one of the shelves of meat. It hurt enough that I knew I’d broken skin, but not enough for me to even look to assess the damage.

Outside of Walmart after I’d gotten the bleeding under control

I walked back over to Katana and the cart (which I had left on a nearby aisle away from the meats) and set the ribeye down. As I did so, I noticed I had blood dripping down my hand partly up my arm. Surprised and a little alarmed, I wiped at the blood with my other hand in an attempt to see the injury. There was a deep but thin gash across the top of my hand which had apparently nicked one of the raised blood vessels, which was now pumping blood out like a weak faucet. I usually coagulate very quickly, so this was out of the norm.

I kept swiping the blood away as it came out, so as to keep it from dripping onto the white floor. It was starting to get everywhere. In that moment, I heard a little girl’s voice say, “excuse me,” directly behind me. I turned to see a girl of 7 or 8 years standing there. Then I saw her eyes widen when she noticed the blood all over my hands (which were at her eye level), but she didn’t get scared. “Can I pet your puppy?” She asked. “Sure!” I said, trying to hide my bloody hands and feeling really awkward. If her parents were watching, they were probably horrified that their young daughter had just approached a bleeding hobo pushing a feral fox dog in a shopping cart. What a sight.

We made it out of Walmart without further issues and hiked another 6 miles across town, residential, and farmland before getting back on the Okeechobee levee. We hiked a little further and made camp on a flat spot. No trees, so I’m on the ground again. Hopefully we’ll knock more miles tomorrow…

**UPDATE!** I’m going to start doing the blog a little differently. Instead of doing multi day blog “dumps,” I’m going to start scheduling them to upload one post a day at 5pm (eastern standard). This will give me more time to work on the individual blogs (if I can or need to), and it will give you guys a little bit of daily reading material, instead of a whole bunch of random reading material. You’ll have to exercise more patience, but I think this will be a better strategy overall. On zero days or uninteresting days, I’ll try to schedule two days worth of uploads. I hope you guys like this new format!

Go to Day 16.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks again for taking me along on your adventures. I look forward to reading your blog. I loved both your books and have given them as gifts.

  2. I am currently reading your PCT book, having read the AT adventure. I love hearing of you escapades & am so glad your beautiful Katana is on your latest trail. Greetings from Scotland where I live with my Black & Tan catfox, Harry.

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