Date- March 8, 2019
Elevation- 164 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 15.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 879.6 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, high 70s
Injuries- cut, raw legs – sore feet
Pain level- moderate to high
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- sink washed clothes
CatFox Status- Beastly
It was 36 degrees this morning and my phone couldn’t decide if I was getting up at 6:30am or 7:30am. This meant I didn’t know either.
Today felt like a long day, but it really wasn’t. I think it was the culmination of the weight of the past 4 days finally hitting me. Even though we took it slow, and the majority of the miles were on roads – I was in more pain today than any other day on this trail.
My feet hurt and my legs burned and stung with the rawness of super dry, super cracked, super scraped and scratched skin that hasn’t caught a break in days. My toenails feel bruised. The tops of my feet are cut up. My socks and shoes are more or less destroyed. And my joints feel like they’re lubed with sharp ice crystals. I feel like I’ve really done something… and I like that feeling.
When we got back on trail, it was immediately strewn with downed trees. It was 5 miles of trail and plenty of dense swamp before a 10+ mile paved road walk. After I saw the beginning of that 5 mile stretch, all I could envision was running into a blockage like the one yesterday and having to double back and do pointless miles – or endure the nightmare of getting through nearly impenetrable trail with a dog (let alone a blind dog). As a result, I decided to hike a comparable distance on logging roads to the paved road, allowing Katana to walk the entire time instead of getting dragged through blow downs and overgrowth.
When I reached the trailhead where the FT met up with the paved road, it took an hour and a half of waiting before Schweppes and Poet made it out. The verdict… it was not impassable, but it would have been a royal pain in the ass getting Katana through it due to some crawling and bushwhacking.
The rest of the day was spent on the paved roads, shaking our fists at speeding drivers who refused to give us an inch, and swatting away the hordes of gnats. Hiking with Poet has been a breath of fresh air. Between the three of us, it’s a non stop riot of funny stories, jokes, and life lessons from the trails, hostel life, and everything in between.
We met Hippie Chick and the kids in the town of Bristol and ate a seafood buffet at a small restaurant called “Apalachee.” It was exquisite.
After dinner we bid them farewell. Poet is going to fill in what he missed so that when he finishes in Pensacola, he’ll actually be done. I only hope he’s able to catch back up before we finish.
After our second day in Apalachicola, Critter walked some logging roads to get into town a couple days early. He’s a little ways ahead as far as I can tell. I’m not sure if we’ll catch him or not.
We’ll be crossing the bulk of the hurricane damaged area starting now. All of the trail is impassable and destroyed, so we’ve got about 70+ miles of road walking ahead of us. I’m not looking forward to it at all, but the miles will come fast. It can’t be any worse than the 93 mile road walk I did through Idaho in 2017. But I could be wrong…