Date- January 31, 2019
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 13 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 18.9 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 346.4 miles
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- I love it out here.
Wildlife encounters- armadillo, possum, fuzzy chicken
Days without shower- 2
Days without laundry- 7
Hunger/craving- Greek food
CatFox Status- Rockstar
Food Eaten – bacon jerky, roast beef sub, hunt brothers pizza
I slept really good last night; like a rock.
The name of the game today was mud, water, palm hammocks, and flooded basins. And to tell ya the truth, I really-really liked it. Today was easily my favorite day in terms of trail and forest conditions.
We were in the deep shade of palm hammocks, oaks, and every other type of tropical Florida vegetation for the ENTIRE day. It was 60 degrees and overcast, so the hiking was comfortable. I didn’t even mind that the trail was completely saturated with ankle to shin deep water for much of the day – it was all so beautiful.
Aside from Hawaii, Honduras, and Southern Mexico – I’ve never hiked in a more jungle-like environment in North America. I can’t get enough of it, and it’s days like today that make the road walking worth it.
There were virtually no animals to be found on the trail today. It seems the excess water pushes them to higher ground or into hiding. There was really nothing to speak of during the day.
Around 12 miles in, we crossed a road that bisected the town of “Christmas.” We walked a half mile sideways to a lone convenience store and grabbed some food.
Speaking of which, my whole “carnivore” thing has pretty much fallen apart. I was trying to eat only meat on trail, but we hit so many communities and restaurants, I never go more than a day or two without town food. So I’m officially dropping the diet restrictions. I’m still not going to make meals out of sugar like I did in the past, but if someone hands me a cupcake on the side of the road… I’m eating it.
The hiker hunger hasn’t really kicked in yet out here, and I’m not sure it ever will. I don’t think I’ll ever be pushing hard enough for that to happen, even with Katana on my shoulders most of the time.
We slogged steadily through the day, taking breaks to dry our feet a bit and shake the mud out of our shoes. Speaking of which, these new ones I got are not working out. I can’t stand it when a company comes out with a newer version of a specific model of shoe – and then it doesn’t perform the same way on your foot as the previous version. My feet are over-pronating something serious in these new Altras Lonepeak 4.0‘s. To the point where my knees are beginning to hurt. I’m going to try and get my hands on an old pair of Lonepeak 3.0’s, but they might be gone everywhere online. Hopefully I can find something.
I’m not getting any blisters with these new ones, but my feet just aren’t sitting right and it’s starting to cause other problems. In reality, these other problems could be potentially way more serious than simple blisters. Not sweating it too much just yet.
We hiked into the evening and did a mile and a half in the swampy dark. You want to talk about really eerie and really cool? Hiking in a flooded forest at night… Seriously, not that scary. You just feel really lucky to be able to confidently do something that freaks the hell out of 99% of people. But trust me when I say – the idea of doing it is much scarier than actually doing it. I promise you could be out here and be just fine. There’s nothing special about doing it – only the experience is special.
We made camp in a dry and open palm hammock. Shortly after getting set up, an aloof possum wandered into our vicinity. I was able to get within about 3 feet, before it even realized there were humans around. It was just too busy eating its acorns.
So the guy Schweppes contacted about the wallet has responded. In short, he’s in disbelief that someone found it, and even more disbelief that they’re returning it with all the cash inside. They still haven’t worked out whether the man will come and get it personally, or if Schweppes is just going to mail it. The saga continues!
We’re about 20 miles from the outlying Orlando community of Oviedo. We’re going to try and get in tomorrow and see where the town takes us. It’s another good stretch of road walking once we get there, so we’ll either have to stealth camp when we get in, or figure out a room. Let’s see how this cookie crumbles…