Date- February 18, 2019
Location- White Springs
Elevation- 115 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 10.9 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 624.4 miles
Weather/Temp- partly cloudy, 70s, 80s
Injuries- Loose ankle
Pain level- none
Wildlife encounters- stray dogs, black racer, tortoise, glass snake,
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 0
CatFox Status- Superstar
It rained for about 5 minutes at 3am last night, but by morning it was a gorgeous day. The forecast had called for rain all morning, but as is customary here in Florida – the weather changes by the minute. I know lots of people say that about where they’re from, but Florida is truly bipolar when it comes to the micro weather systems.
We reconnected with yet another road right off the bat for about 3 miles. Then, we encountered 2 more dogs roaming the street – barking and snarling at us. I still have yet to run into a loose dog on this trail that’s simply happy to see someone, or will run up to be pet or lick you. I guess it’s too much to hope that people who actually have friendly dogs would let them roam the streets.
No sooner did we leave the road, we found ourselves high on the banks of the Suwannee River. The trail will snake along its banks for the better part of the next 60 miles, and it’s said to be one of the best sections of the entire trail.
My favorite aspect of it so far is the steeper climbs and the illusion of being at higher elevations. You’re a good 40 feet above the river at times, sometimes more. We even hit our first switchback of the entire trail! The climbs are obviously not big, but the trail along the river is like a roller coaster, and surprisingly steep in many spots. Steeper even than most of the PCT.
We ran into a black racer on the banks, and then I found a tortoise with a black shell. It looked burnt, but I couldn’t be sure. I’ve never seen one with such a black shell, so I’m only assuming it was burnt. I will say this however, it was the feistiest tortoise I’ve ever seen. As soon as I picked him up, he was kicking and snapping and trying to get away. He was a fighter for sure!
Two miles before town, we ran into Poet and Hippie Chick and their children on the trail. Poet was taking a zero at the campground in White Springs and was doing a short day hike with the family. He was actually about 40 miles ahead of us on trail. We all walked into town and had lunch together, then made plans to have dinner with them at the campground.
Around 6 pm, Poet picked us up and took us back to their camp. They cooked steak, sausages, coconut rice, Texas toast, and roasted marshmallows. Yet another perfect evening with the Hester family.
Schweppes and I are holed up at a friendly Bed & Breakfast in town. After this last stretch, I think we might take a full day off. It looks like we’ve got some hot days ahead, but at least we’ll be on the river!