Trail Journal

Date: February 09 2001
Trail Day: 254
Miles Today: 15
Location: 3 m E of Econfina River
Section Mile: FNST 399
ECT Mile: 3860

Got a ride from the same cab driver who had given us a ride in. He just happened to be driving by. What a coincidence !

Continued the forest road walks. We can still see Wild Flamingo Man's footsteps although they are now quite faint.

Decided to stop a little early today. Spent the rest of the day taking a nap and reading J.R.R.Tolkein's 'The Hobbit'. Interesting book. Sleeping in the open tonight under a full moon.

Date: February 10 2001
Trail Day: 255
Miles Today: 15
Location: Days Inn, near Madison
Section Mile: FNST 414
ECT Mile: 3875

It started raining in the morning. I decided to try walking barefoot. The roads are sand for the most part. A good place to try this out.

Stayed cloudy with light rain all day. Another day of boring forest road walk. Florida trail is highly incomplete.

Nomad is now half a day ahead. I dont think I will be seeing him again.

Walking barefoot - the toe area bends a lot more without a shoe. So my toes are aching. Also developed blisters under the foot. I did not know this could happen. Also problems with thorns. Feet are quite sensitive and you can pull back before you step completely on them. Some of the sand spurs are somewhat painful to remove. Things were OK as far as I was walking, but once I sat down for dinner and got up, walking was painful. This calls for another O day !

I now have about 800 miles or just under 2 months left of this hike. I am feeling quite sad that its coming to an end. Things all around are looking up. The weather is improving, days are getting longer and hiking is fairly easy. I have more time now, and will be reading a lot more. I am dreading re-entering society. Before I started I did not realize that it would be so bad. I am planning on travelling the country by bus and spend a couple of days at some of my friends and relatives place after the hike is over.

Date: February 11 2001
Trail Day: 256
Miles Today: 0
Location: Days's Inn, Near Madison
Section Mile: FNST 414
ECT Mile: 3875

Took a O. My feet are in no shape to walk any way. Talked to Vivek, Kumar and Suriyan about getting together as I approach Orlando. Vivek and his wife Lusia plan on meeting me in Orlando and spend a weekend. Kumar and Suriyan will be hiking with me from the south of Orlando to Lake Okeechobee. Really looking forward to it.

Date: February 12 2001
Trail Day: 257
Miles Today: 11
Location: Anderson Springs, WMA
Section Mile: FNST 425
ECT Mile: 3886

Tried to get a ride back to the trail with no luck. This has become a problem now. I will have to stop going into towns off the trail. I have to go into Lake City to pick up a mail drop in a few days. After that I plan not to hitch hike as far as possible.

Walked the 6 miles to the trail. Some more forest road walks. The day was overcast making it quite pleasant. Decided to stop near the river. I think its the Suwannee but I'm not sure. There are 2 rivers that meet a few miles north of here and I dont know which is which. Set up tarp in a nice pine stand. Read for about an hour and fell asleep. Quite worn out - dont know why. Had a deer snort at me late night.

I am going to change my hiking a little bit. I am going to cut down the O's, hold a steady 15 average and read a lot more.

Date: February 13 2001
Trail Day: 258
Miles Today: 18
Location: In Holton Creek, WMA
Section Mile: FNST 443
ECT Mile: 3904

Forgot to write about a squirrel that burried a nut with me looking less than 6 ft away. It was interesting to watch it. It was comfortable when it was near me but as it slowly moved away from me it became afraid and ran.

Saw a flock of 20 or so turkeys run and fly away as I approached. They can be very noisy when they scamper.

Found 2 oranges and a power bar near US 90. Must be left by Nomad and friends. Thanks.

Today I complete the section running east and head south. Took a photo at the store where this occurs. They had very good BBQ sandwiches. Had two. They were piled really high.

Date: February 14 2001
Trail Day: 259
Miles Today: 14
Location: Spirit of Suwanee Campground
Section Mile: FNST 457
ECT Mile: 3918

Today's hike was along the Suwanee river. I have heard good things about this section. Now I know why. Some sections had huge oak trees. I really love these. Took some shots.

Met Del. He is from Manchester, England and is attempting the ECT. He is the 3rd north bounder I have met so far. Luke and Wild Flamingo Man were the first two. Took a shot of him.

This campground is quite expensive at 13 $ for primitive camping. I think its geared more towards the "upper crust" with their expensive RV's and 5th Wheels. Would not recommend this place to thru-hikers.

Took a shower and did laundry. I will be mailing out all my winter clothes in White Springs. I may be jumping the gun a little, but I should be OK. It has become quite hot and I walked shirtless all day. I think by the time I get to the Keys it will be unbearably hot.

Finished reading JRR Tolkein's Hobbit. Enjoyed it. Now reading Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales. The older style of writing uses too many long, obscure words with sentences that run 5 or 6 lines. But, he has a very good narrative style and I am enjoying the book. I should be done with it in abother 2-3 days. Hope to pick up some more books at White Springs.

Date: February 15 2001
Trail Day: 260
Miles Today: 14
Location: Swanee River, Near I-75
Section Mile: FNST 471
ECT Mile: 3932

Bought grocery for a day and got an early start. The trail in this section runs along the Suwanee river. The day went quickly. Stopped near a beach area and slept in the open.

Saw 2 rattlers today. I have not seen snakes for may be 6 months. The first was a little one - about 1.5 ft long and about .75 " in diameter. Saw the second one on a heap of trash. I went over to see what stuff was in the trash when I saw this big snake - 4 ft long and 4 " thick. Took shots. It then slithered away and made its rattling noise. Now I know what a rattler sounds like.

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