Date- February 22, 2019
Location- Bank of Suwannee
Elevation- 43 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 27.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 681.3 miles
Weather/Temp- partly cloudy/mid 80s
Pain level- none
Wildlife encounters- deer, turtles, lizards
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 3
CatFox Status- sassy trooper
We utterly crushed today!
We were up at 6 am and hiking a little before 7 am. In 2.5 hours, we went 7.5 miles and took a break. It was overcast, but the forest felt like a sauna. We were drenched all day, all the time.
After a 30 minute break, we pushed more than another 10 miles to another convenience store a half-mile off trail. At this point we had almost 18 miles and it was only 2pm.
I was soaked from head to toe in sweat, as well as covered in fine sand. I drank 3/4 of a gallon of Gatorade and a liter of water over the course of an hour and a half. I still felt thirsty, but couldn’t make myself drink anymore.
It was 3:30pm when we left the store and headed back to trail. We wanted 9.5 more miles to reach the furthest point on trail before a 40+ mile road walk.
We arrived at our target destination on the bank of the Suwannee a little after 7pm in pitch black – wrapping up our second 27 mile day. Even with how quickly we moved today, Katana still racked up over 5 miles on some old forest road beds that weren’t bordering the river.
The terrain was overgrown, but the roller coaster climbs were minimal. Despite being almost next to the river for most of the day, the trail remained fairly level. This was a saving grace in this upper 80 degree heat.
These last few days have been truly miserable from a hygienic and comfort standpoint. We’ve been constantly soaked in sweat. All day and all night.
You can’t dry off, no matter what you do. Even standing still in the shade, I’m sweating. There’s never any breeze – only stagnant, saturated, suffocating air all around you. Every night a thick fog rolls off the river and drenches everything; even the trees – to the point that they drip like rain.
I crawl into my hammock soaking wet with sweat and just lie there… sweating and feeling hot until I fall asleep and wake up still soaked. These last few hot days have been worse than anything we experienced on the AT. It’s the level of humidity and lack of wind that’s tipped it past anything the AT ever did to us.
If I wasn’t so used to being miserable and uncomfortable all the time – I could scream in frustration at being so damp all the time.
To make my own personal situation worse… I’m always covered in sand. Every time I set Katana down and pick her back up onto my pack – her little paws track sand onto me. Caking it to my face, my hair, the back of my neck, and down the collar of my shirt. And once it’s there… it’s not going anywhere until I shower.
The fine white sand has found it’s way everywhere. The worst is under my shirt and on my shoulders where my pack straps put pressure. My skin has been rubbed raw under the straps where the sand is acting like… well, sand paper. It stings with sweat all day.
Not to mention, all of this sand on my body mixes with the sweat, creating what feels like an abrasive muddy film over the top of my skin. If I scratch or rub anything, I get the sensation of scrubbing myself with a mostly dry loofah, as the sand and skin comes back caked under my fingernails.
Bottom line… this shit is miserable aggravating torture. The other bottom line… I love every minute of it. What the hell would this hike be if it didn’t absolutely blow every now and then? As I’ve said in previous posts – I love it, and boy do I love to hate it.
Besides our exceptional pace and determination today, nothing exceptional happened. I wish cobwebs had some sort of nutritional value, because it was an all-you-can-eat buffet of them today. Even more so than usual.
We’ll be leaving the Suwannee behind for good tomorrow and beginning a 40+ mile road walk. Once again, it will be in the mid to upper 80s. If it’s too miserable, then I will bed down and siesta during the hottest hours.
It finally feels like we’re closing in on our target. We only have around 400 miles left, and it feels like the time is melting away. I find myself growing extremely excited with the thought of finishing this hike walking across my hometown beach. It’s going to be hard to not let friends come pick me up to hang out when I get close, but I’m going to try to resist. I want the next time I see my hometown to be when I walk the trail straight through it.