Florida Trail Day 44

Florida Trail - Pillow time

Day- 44
Date- February 11, 2019
Location- Oak Hammock Shelter
Elevation- 16 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 4.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 495.5 miles
Weather/Temp- partly cloudy, 80s, humid
Injuries- none
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- weird day
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
Hunger/craving- none
CatFox Status- Grouch


What a strange, strange day. Also, stressful, annoying, and did I say strange? And also, also… we did not cross 500 miles.

When I awoke this morning, Katana had chewed up a portion of her tail. Pulled all the hair off a part of the back of it, then chewed it red and raw. It looked bad and it was obviously hurting her. I immediately thought it was fleas.

I’d been using an over the counter flea medication and it seemed to have been working, but now it looked as though our luck had run out. I decided to call a local vet and see if I could get some Trifexis. They had it, but the only way they’d give it to me was if I had her normal vet fax over all her heartworm testing history, as well as proof of regular Trifexis use in the past. Not only did they want all of that info, but she had to have a checkup too, before they would sell it to me. I agreed to everything and had all the info faxed over.

The earliest they could get us in was 11:15am. At 10:15am I walked the 1.5 to the vet and was seen by the doctor by 11:25. Her last heartworm test was in 2016, so they had to run another one.

That whole morning and during the trip to the vet, Katana was not her self. I thought it was the pain of her tail, and I showed it to the vet and asked if they could give me a steroid spray for the itching and healing. He said they would.

So they took her back to draw blood for heartworm and didn’t come back for 15 mins. When they did, Katana smelled like straight anal glands.

Come to find out, when they took her back they examined her a little closer. They said they didn’t find any fleas, but that the biting of the tail can be from impacted anal glands that haven’t been drained. They said they drained them and that they’ve never seen that much and that thick of fluid come out of a dog as small as her. The vet said they had been close to rupturing, and that if that had happened, it would have caused a lot more problems.

This has never been an issue for Katana before, and I wonder if it’s stemming from riding on my pack so much. I have no idea, but I’m glad they figured it out, and that I now know to have her checked for that regularly.

She tested negative for heartworms, so they gave me some more heartworm prevention and a month’s free supply of Nexguard instead of Trifexis. The Nexguard would take care of ticks, while the Trifexis wouldn’t. Crisis averted!

From the vet’s I walked another mile and a half to meet Schweppes at Walmart and resupply. Resupply went smoothly and we broke everything down under a large oak in the parking lot.

By this time it was already almost 2 pm. We decided we’d have lunch before calling the uber guy (he’d given us his personal number to bypass the app). Schweppes wanted a Chinese buffet another mile across town.

As we walked across the Walmart parking lot, a man came running up behind us, talking loudly to get our attention. He was in his mid thirties and looking a bit rough. We turned to face him…

He had prison tattoos on his neck, tattoos on his eyelids that you could only see when he blinked, and a “mi vida loca” tattoo above his thumb (3 dots grouped in a triangle). A common prison tattoo meaning, “my crazy life.” To top it off, his tongue was cut into a fork, like a snake’s tongue.

Aside from all of that, he looked and dressed fairly unassuming and normal. Didn’t seem high or drunk, or look like an addict. However, when he spoke, you could tell something was amiss upstairs – probably trauma related.

The first thing he asked was if we knew any places to stay, rent, or squat in town. We told him we didn’t, and that we were just passing through. He then asked where we stayed the night before. I told him. Next, he asked where we were staying tonight. I told him we’d be camping in the woods. After he realized we probably wouldn’t be of help, he went on an almost 10 minute long rambling diatribe about just getting out of prison; serving in Iraq; pleading guilty to some charge to get 6 years in prison instead of 60. He didn’t specify the charges. He also talked about not being allowed to leave the county; how much money he was getting from the government, his mother, being harassed by cops around town for loitering; and a handful of other things of which I had no idea why he was telling us.

In the end, he never asked for money; only information. Although it deff seemed as though he was casing us out at first… I honestly had no idea where he would ultimately take the whole interaction – but I was half tensed and ready to react accordingly if he tried to extort or rob us. He just gave off a very erratic and unpredictable vibe. He eventually left with a handshake and a “good luck!” We wished him the same.

Literally 30 seconds later, a homeless man panhandling on the corner of the Walmart entrance, across the street from us yelled – “You didn’t let that crackhead scam you for money did you!? I just ran him off from here!” This was the pot calling the kettle black if I ever saw it. The homeless man was actually dressed far more poorly than fork-tongue, and I could tell even from across the street that he was a few teeth short of a smile. I called back, “No, he was only looking for information.” Panhandler responded, “That’s a pretty dog!” “Thanks!” I said.

We walked the mile across town only to find that the buffet didn’t even exist. I was now up to over 4 meaningless town miles, it was upwards of 80 degrees, and the humidity was 100%. I was ready for something to give.

We spotted a Subway and headed in that direction. After eating our sandwiches, we called the Uber guy who didn’t even show up for 45 minutes. And when he did (a thin guy about our age), it was like he took one deep breath, and then never took another one until he dropped us off. Not one 5 second stretch of silence. I can’t even begin to tell you everything the guy said, but I can give you the gist of it. Basically, he’s trying to build his own shuttle driving, errand catching, food delivery, one man taxi empire in Palatka. I’m fairly certain he was stoned out of his mind while explaining his master networking plan, and plans to start his own reviews (for his future customers) of every single business in town. Long story short, the guy was trying to reinvent the wheel. He wasn’t looking for suggestions, he just wanted approval. So we gave it to him. I applaud his tenacity and wish him the best.

It was almost 5pm when we finally got back to trail. We were hiking in mud and water almost constantly. We did 4 miles and called it a day.

Katana seems to be back to normal, but her raw tail is deff causing her some pain. I’m going to have to keep an eye on it for the next week or so.

It’s supposed to pour rain tomorrow at some point. We’ll see what happens…

Go to Day 45.


  1. I’ve been following your journey and love reading your updates! Glad Katana is on the mend. FYI there is a full moon around now-ish and I’ve been blaming it for everything but that would definitely explain the crazies you encountered today 😂

  2. We had a small dog that had that…..I came home from work and saw that she had a big round blister on her backside…the vet explained it to be like a blow out..his exact words….it healed up and she never had it again…it was weird!!

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