Trail Journal

Date: January 28 2001
Trail Day: 242
Miles Today: 0
Location: Snowbird Motel, Bristol
Section Mile: FNST 226
ECT Mile: 3687

Got a ride back to Bristol from Prashant. He charged me the same rate Cherokee motel charged me although the room is much better. Quite happy.

Talked to Kumar, Suriyan, Vivek, Vikas, Sangita and Mari. Looks like Vikas and Sangita will be moving to Texas. All of my friends and relatives have moved or changed jobs since I started my hike. Shows what a state of flux American society is in.

Date: January 29 2001
Trail Day: 243
Miles Today: 0
Location: Snowbird Motel, Bristol
Section Mile: FNST 226
ECT Mile: 3687

Zero day. Had breakfast with Nomad who is back from visiting his friends in Georgia.

Date: January 30 2001
Trail Day: 244
Miles Today: 15
Location: Camel Lake Campground
Section Mile: FNST 241
ECT Mile: 3702

Rained last evening and night. I was glad to be indoors. By morning the rain had stopped although it was still cloudy. Had breakfast, bought groceries for 3 days and checked my email again. Found a message from Janet and Jack Williamson. They were the ones who had brought in the stripper ! It was nice to hear from them.

First a 10 mile roadwalk. With this the major roadwalks on the FNST are done. There are still some minor ones and then there is the 200 miles or so roadwalk to Key West.

Then a 5 mile hike to Camel lake campground. Lots of pine and swampy area. I knew my shoes were not going to be dry today. So I ploughed right into the first bog. Drank water from one of the cypress swamp creeks. Its light brown in color because of the tanning from the trees but the water tasted wonderful - like mild lemonade.

Date: January 31 2001
Trail Day: 245
Miles Today: 18
Location: Near FR 176
Section Mile: FNST 259
ECT Mile: 3720

It rained a little last night. In the morning I wanted to sleep in a little. Hoped it would rain thus allowing me to sleep some more and it did! Today's section through the Appalachicola forest had numerous swamps and forest roads. Fairly uneventful day. Saw no one today.

Towards the end it started raining quite heavily and I got thoroughly drenched. I thought it was getting dark and decided to set up camp. Its tricky setting up a tarp in the rain. You dont want the sleeping bag and other clothes to get wet. I was quite dry and warm in about a half hour. Also found I had stopped about 2 hours too soon. A very short day. I will have to push tomorrow and the day after or I will be out of food.

Date: February 01 2001
Trail Day: 246
Miles Today: 21
Location: Bradwell Bay
Section Mile: FNST 280
ECT Mile: 3741

Had a deer stomp and snort at me last night. Got a slightly late start. Started hiking and reached FR 176 soon. I had walked farther yesterday than I had thought. Much of the trail has blow downs. Took a lunch break at Porter Lake and continued on into Bradwell Bay. This place is named after a hunter who got lost here for several days. It is a big swamp. The guide says if the ditches along the approaching forest roads are dry then the hike is "likely to be a pleasant one". It also says that this area is not suitable for first time hikers.

The ditches along the road are filled with recent rain, so I entered it with some apprehension. Initially the swamps were small. Then there was a section that was about half a mile long and was non-stop swamp. It had large cypress trees. My feet went numb and water came up to my crotch in some places. I slipped and slid in a few places. Every once in a while I thought of alligators. Sure makes it interesting.

After the big swamp there were a couple of quarter mile or shorter ones. I was hoping to get to a camp site shown on the map but could not make it. Reached some dry area and decided to stop for the night. The place is completely covered with thigh high titi shrubs. Flattened a small area and set up tarp. Feeling somewhat lonely. This rarely happens to me. Maybe its because of a fairly long hard day, not knowing where I am and being right in the middle of a large swamp. Watched the moon and clouds drifting by.

Date: February 02 2001
Trail Day: 247
Miles Today: 25
Location: Near Medway
Section Mile: FNST 305
ECT Mile: 3766

I was quite hungry last night. Thought of the good food at Dave Farley's place during Thanks Giving. I have been living on crackers the past 2 days. Decided to start early as I have a 25 mile day to Medway and food.

There were a few more swamps after which the trail was quite dry. Some of the areas were beautiful with pine stands. Today is also my 3rd consecutive day of putting on wet socks and shoes.

Got to Medway and bought lots of food. Took it back to the trail and ate it. Set up camp in a nice area. Tomorrow I go back to the store for breakfast.

Date: February 03 2001
Trail Day: 248
Miles Today: 21
Location: Shell Island motel, St. Marks
Section Mile: FNST 326
ECT Mile: 3787

Had breakfast at the store in Medway. The trail continued to be good and well marked. They have had prescribed burns in a lot of places. So a lot of places are charred.

One section ran close to a bay - very interesting, peaceful and quiet. Then a section that looked like old growth forests. Large shady trees. Old growth forests have a richness that is hard to explain. Stood and enjoyed the scenery in several places almost not daring to breathe.

Day started out slow as I sang and explored my way along. Then decided to speed up. Saw 6 day hikers. Long time since this has happened.

St. Marks wild life refuge also had mature forests. Saw 2 armadillos and 3 young deer. Armadillos can be very noisy for their size.

Had dinner at a gas station and continued on the rail to the trail section to St. Marks and the motel there. Very tired today - My shoes are now falling apart. I need to get new ones as soon as possible. No phone in this motel - somewhat expensive at 42 $.

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