Trail Journal

Date: March 10 2001
Trail Day: 283
Miles Today: 16
Location: Bull Creek WMA
Section Mile: FNST 792
ECT Mile: 4253

Started off early. It was misty. Had some soup. It tasted good. We are short on food and so have to ration it for the next 4 days.

Found two orange trees and tood a break to gorge ourselves with oranges.

Most of the hike was on levees. There were numerous cows in the Deseret ranches. Saw tortoises and several fox. We took several breaks. Suriyan is not in good shape.

We are glad to be out of Deseret property and into Bull Creek WMA. The pump at the first camp site was broken. So we are also short on water.

Decided to sleep in the open but the mosquitoes became bad and they set up their tent. I used the mosquito net Kumar has brought me. Also played cards for a while.

Date: March 11 2001
Trail Day: 284
Miles Today: 16
Location: Near US 441, 3 lakes WMA
Section Mile: FNST 808
ECT Mile: 4269

Did not have enough water to cook breakfast. Water has become quite a problem. Most of the trail runs thru swamps but everything is dry.

Got off to a good start but slowed down a lot towards noon. There is a loop trail of which the FT uses the east segment. The sign showing the southern terminus has faded out. We did not realize this and continued on into the western section. Realized we were on the wrong trail about half mile into it and turned back.

The connector trail in Deseret ranch was very poorly blazed and we lost it about a mile into it. Did a lot of bush wacking to get out of it. This area needs a lot more maintainance. We must have covered 5 miles instead of 3.

Found an orange beside the road and split it amoungst us. Also saw turkeys, deer and armadillos.

We were very tired. It was dark by the time we were done cooking.

Date: March 12 2001
Trail Day: 285
Miles Today: 15
Location: Near Lake Kissimiee
Section Mile: FNST 823
ECT Mile: 4284

The day started out fast but we slowed down a lot towards the end. It was also a very hot day.

Saw alligators, turtles, armadillos and deer. When we got to the junction of the north and south loops in Three Lakes WMA we took a bath with pump water. The water here is very low. Things have changed a lot since Kumar and I were here about a year ago. The little pond had baby alligators and tortoises. The bath was extremely refreshing. Also found more orange trees.

By the time we were done with 15 miles it was late in the day. Cooked food, ate and slept.

Had to do some bushwacking near the loop junction. The trail blazes are inadequate there.

Date: March 13 2001
Trail Day: 286
Miles Today: 14
Location: Kissimee River near SR 60
Section Mile: FNST 837
ECT Mile: 4298

Got a very early start. We were prepared for a very hot and tiring day because there was 6 miles of road walk at the end of the days' hike. But the day started out cloudy and stayed that way. It started raining and it was very refreshing.

We did a much faster pace today. Suriyan is now getting into trail shape.

Took a little bath at the well at the entrance of Three Lakes WMA. Very refreshing.

Picked up grocery for 4 more days from Oasis. The store is going to be closed in a few more days because they will be building a new bridge. They have removed the public phones and the groceries were very limited. But we were glad it was open. Also picked up some beer.

Date: March 14 2001
Trail Day: 287
Miles Today: 16
Location: Orange Hammock, Avon Range
Section Mile: FNST 853
ECT Mile: 4314

Started early. Looks like the River Ranch is going thru bankruptcy. We were hoping to get some sodas and my brothers were looking for a phone. I hope Karen (Suriyan's wife) is not worried. He has not been able to call her since he left California because there have been no phones anywhere.

The trail was very good today. Lots of oak hammocks along the Kissimee River. Saw 4 owls.

Decided to hike till Orange hammock in the hope of getting oranges. Kumar and me had got a whole bunch of them last year. However, all the oranges were very sour. It was quite disappointing.

Cooked rice with sardines.

Date: March 15 2001
Trail Day: 288
Miles Today: 14
Location: Mosquito Hammock
Section Mile: FNST 867
ECT Mile: 4328

The last several days have been overcast. We are glad because it was very hot before. Today was parly cloudy.

Walked 3 miles to a camp site. Bathed and fished for a while. No luck fishing. Got several lemon, grapefruit and oranges on the way. Lemon juice with salt tastes real good.

Saw a yellow snake with black stripes.

Decided to stop at the Mosquito Hammock camp site. This one has water. We played Crazy 8.

Date: March 16 2001
Trail Day: 289
Miles Today: 18
Location: Near S-65D lock
Section Mile: FNST 885
ECT Mile: 4346

Last night was cool. A good chunk of today's hike was thru new trail. At one point Kumar tried to wade a bog and went hip deep in the water unexpectedly. It was comical to watch him try to plod out of the water.

Took a half hour break near a grape fruit tree in Hickory Hammock. I never knew grape fruits could taste so good. Also saw another yellow snake with black stripes - about 4 feet long.

Then came a railroad walk for about 9 miles which we completed in 2 miles sections. Kumar and Suriyan are now in trail shape although Kumar now has a cold.

Saw 2 AMTRAK and 2 freight trains go by.

There was a point where we found a small potato like vegetable. I took one along thinking I will check it out once I get home after the hike. I completely forgot that I was on a thru-hike. It felt strange.

We have also entered the last county of our group hike. We are now winding it down. Tomorrow a 15 miler and then 11 miles into Okeechobee where we will check into a motel room and clean up.

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