Trail Journal

Date: January 13 2001
Trail Day: 227
Miles Today: 0
Location: Howard Johnson, Pensacola
Section Mile: FAR 296
ECT Mile: 3439

Zero day today.

Date: January 14 2001
Trail Day: 228
Miles Today: 0
Location: Howard Johnson, Pensacola
Section Mile: FAR 296
ECT Mile: 3439

Zero day today.

Date: January 15 2001
Trail Day: 229
Miles Today: 20
Location: Near Battery Longdam Ruins
Section Mile: FAR 316
ECT Mile: 3459

Returned the car at the airport and started hiking. Entered Pensacola downtown. Had a little trouble finding the Pensacola Bay Bridge. This bridge is more than 3 miles long. Then crossed the Pensacola Beach Bridge to enter the Gulf Islands National sea shore. Headed west towards Fort Pickens. The foot path along the road is also the Florida Trail. So I am actually on my last trail. Also because its a trail, I dont get weird looks any more.

Saw 3 dolphins swimming lazily when I was taking a break. Took a couple of shots. They were only 100 feet or so from the shore.

I was hoping to get to the camp ground but could not. Stopped about a mile from it and set up my tarp. The whole day has been overcast with light rain. I have also sent back one of my jackets and the sleeping bag liner. I think I should be OK. Lets see.

Date: January 16 2001
Trail Day: 230
Miles Today: 19
Location: Gulf Islands Sea Shore
Section Mile: FNST 17
ECT Mile: 3478

Rained almost non-stop last night. I got a little wet with reflected rain. Waited for it to stop raining before setting out. Reached the start of the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) in about 2 miles. The fort is quite interesting to look at. Took a shot at the FNST trail head. This is my western most point on this hike.

Parts of the trail followed the beach. This is a very nice beach with no buildings, clean blue water and white sand. Some parts were along the road.

At one point the trail went off the road to the left towards the Santa Rosa sound. This seems to be a new section not shown on my map. This section was extremely beautiful. You can see what this island looked like before they put the buildings in. The sand dunes and vegetation were incredible.

One section had some pine trees that offered some shelter. Decided to stop for the night. Turned out to be a short day but I was quite worn out. I had not slept much last night because of the mosquitoes.

Date: January 17 2001
Trail Day: 231
Miles Today: 30
Location: Near Wright
Section Mile: FNST 47
ECT Mile: 3508

Got an early start. Another mile or two of the sound and the trail blazes stopped all of a sudden. There was a dirt / sand road that lead back to Rte 399. Took it and walked the beach. This area is very deserted for a tourist spot. A few tourists came to the beach as time went on.

Met Nomad. He was with Honey Bear whom I had met back in Vermont. We talked for a few minutes and I went on.

The road then turned into built out areas for a long time. The maps I have now don't show where the built out areas are. This can be a problem when trying to find a camping spot. Walked till about 7 PM and found a vacant lot. It was too dark so I decided to sleep without a tarp. Then it rained a little, so I found a good place and set up the tarp.

Date: January 18 2001
Trail Day: 232
Miles Today: 23
Location: Rte 85 Near Trail
Section Mile: FNST 70
ECT Mile: 3531

I had camped near the road and could hear the traffic all night long. It did not rain much. Continued the road walk towards Niceville. Had a good breakfast. Picked up food for 4 days. Went to Jackson Guard for a permit to hike in the Eglin Air Force base. The lady was very incompetent. First she issued me a permit, then a camping permit. Then she said since I was going to be in the base for only a few days I did not need the permit. So she voided it. In the meantime the computer locked up and she had to reboot. I got the camping permit and continued on. On the way I read some of the instructions with the map and it looks like I do need the permit. Now some ranger will stop me and wont believe me when I say that it was the lady's fault.

It was a long walk from Niceville to the trail head. On entering the woods I realized how much I had missed it. I have been doing road walks for the past month or so. Decided to camp near a creek.

Date: January 19 2001
Trail Day: 233
Miles Today: 22
Location: Unknown Place, Eglin
Section Mile: FNST 92
ECT Mile: 3553

The trail today was well maintained and marked. A pleasure to hike. It rained almost all day. Did not see anyone. Saw a deer run away. The trail paralleled I-10 for a long time. I can hear the sounds of traffic from I-10.

Never saw the sun and had no idea what the time was all day.

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