Date- February 15, 2019
Elevation- 161 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 21.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 584.4 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudy, 60s/70s
Injuries- sore feet
Pain level- moderate
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 5
Days without laundry- 5
CatFox Status- great
My feet hurt more today than they have on this whole hike. I don’t know if it’s the consecutive long days, or the terrain of this day in particular.
We took it slow getting out of town, even though our mystery guest was going to meet us in Osceola – a little over 20 miles away by trail. We were confident we could make it, and they wouldn’t be getting in until after 9pm anyway.
By 10:30 we were on our way out of Lake Butler and tackling a 7 mile road walk along a busy highway. The highway had a steeper than usual slant on the shoulder, contributing to the excessive soreness I’ve felt today.
We knocked out the 7 miles in one go and took a break a little ways into the trailhead where it branched off the road.
From there the trail turned into an overgrown, boggy, muddy, watery, thorny mess for the next 3 miles. It looked like the trail hadn’t been maintained or regularly hiked for quite some time. All I could think about was all the ticks I was probably collecting from the overgrown vegetation we were trampling through. But alas, neither of us found a single tick on ourselves.
After that it was 11 miles of muddy dirt roads. We made up a lot of time on them and trotted into Osceola a little after 7pm. Katana also chalked up another 3 miles or so today.
Once again, it was a fairly uneventful day on the trail. The hiking went by fast and there were no animals (aside from the dead ones on the highway).
After reaching the highway into Osceola we walked a half mile sideways to a convenience store/gas station. It was here we would wait for our mystery visitor.
I ate fried chicken and sat next to Katana on the ground – leaned up against the convenience store. They closed at 8 pm and left us sitting there under the outside lights. Our guest was a little late, and it was 10:40pm when a silver Prius pulled into the parking lot – a Cheshire grin visible through the front windshield. Out stepped Laser Pussy.
If you haven’t read the AT book about my 2014 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, then you have no idea who I’m talking about. If you fall into this category, I implore you to not be offended. LP’s real name is Jim, and I hiked over a thousand miles of the Appalachian Trail with him and our other friends we met out there. Jim’s trail name seems lude and crude, but it’s origins are innocent enough. When Jim began hiking the AT, he wore a hat that had furry cats outlined in neon lasers on it. Naturally, someone called him “Laser Pussy,” and it stuck. If it makes you feel better, just think of him as Laser Cat, or LP, or just Jim.
We haven’t seen Jim in 4 years, and he just recently moved from Portland, OR, to Sarasota, FL. Now that he was so close, it was about time for a reunion.
He has a busy schedule, so he’s not hiking with us. He only came out for tonight and tomorrow. We drove back down to Lake Butler to camp in the town again and enjoy a nice zero day tomorrow. It’ll be great to hang out and catch up!