Date- March 7, 2019
Location- Camel Lake Campground
Elevation- 82 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 16.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 864.1 miles
Weather/Temp- Clear, 60s
Injuries- Countless scratches
Pain level- burning
Wildlife encounters- frogs
Days without shower- 5
Days without laundry- 7
CatFox Status- Loveable
After a deliciously hearty breakfast of grits and bacon prepared by Hippie Chick, we were on the road back to trail.
After getting through all the flooded service roads, it was almost noon by the time we were hiking again.
Nothing exceptional happened today, only more of the same. Slender pines, bogs, mud, water, overgrowth, wet feet.
We’re getting into the area affected by Hurricane Michael last October. There has been a lot of damage to the forests through here and it’s showing in the condition of the trail. Maintaining the Florida Trail just hasn’t been a priority since the rebuilding process began – and rightly so.
Aside from the multitude of abrasions we’ve been getting to our legs, the skin on our legs is also becoming severely cracked and dry. I’m not sure if this is from the constant submersion and unsubmersion from the water – or due to any chemicals/pollutants/pollen that could be in the water. Either way, our legs don’t feel normal.
All day we’ve been walking along the border of the eastern standard and eastern central time zones. All of our phones keep sporadically jumping one hour back or ahead. I guess that’s determined by whichever tower we’re pinging off of, but it’s been a tug-of-war, and an interesting one at that.
Around 12 miles into the day we hit a section of destroyed trees and ruined trail that was impassable, without incurring significant bodily harm by bushwhacking through dense forest. As a result, we had to double back and get on a logging road to get around it and join up with the trail a little further on. In the end this tacked on an extra 3 miles of hiking for less than a mile of actual trail gained.
When we reached the drive-in recreational campground of Camel Lake, we called it a day. This place is beautiful, but sustained heavy tree damage from the hurricane. There’s even a beach area in the lake that is roped off from gators for swimming. The eeriest aspect is the lack of people. There’s this gorgeous lake and campground with amenities and running water… yet there’s no one here. I love wandering into places with that post apocalyptic feel, and this is definitely one of them.
We have 15 miles to walk into town tomorrow. After that we’ll be mostly rerouted onto roads to bypass all the hurricane damage as we trek north of Panama City. We’re finally into my old stomping grounds!