Trail Journal

Date: March 22 2001
Trail Day: 295
Miles Today: 16
Location: John Stretch Park, Lake Okeechobee
Section Mile: FNST 963
ECT Mile: 4424

Talked to Vivek and finalized the meeting place. Then took the bus back to Pahokee. Had luch at an authentic Mexican place. Good food although the place looks like a dump. It was about 1 PM by the time I hit the trail.

Walked with very short breaks to well past sunset. Saw some sky divers land on the levee. Took some shots. Had dinner and slept.

Date: March 23 2001
Trail Day: 296
Miles Today: 13
Location: Vivek's place, W. Palmbeach
Section Mile: FNST 976
ECT Mile: 4437

Got going early. It was half canal and half road walk. I was at the intersection of CR835 and L-1 canal where Vivek was to pick me up by 11:30 AM. Read 'Of Human Bondage'. Havent read it in a while.

Saw a small alligator resting near the canal. Took a shot. Vivek was to pick me up latest by 2 PM but there was no sign of him. About 6 PM a car turned around and came back towards me. It was Greg, an old friend from my Fort Lauderdale office. He told me Vivek had developed severe abdomen pain.

Greg dropped me off at Vivek's place. It was really nice of him to pick me up. Its about an hour and a half drive. Vivek was lying down on the sofa in pain. Hope its nothing serious. Met him and Lusia. Showered and did laundry. Went out for dinner.

Date: March 24 2001
Trail Day: 297
Miles Today: 0
Location: Vivek's place, W. Palmbeach
Section Mile: FNST 976
ECT Mile: 4437

O Day. Got some clothes and a day pack from my storage. I am now switching to a day pack. My car also started up with some hesitation. I was very glad. Accompanied Vivek for an ultrasound at a hospital. No serious problems. We were relieved.

We went to an Indian restaurant for dinner with Lusia's dad. He's funny and cracked several jokes. Here's one -

A chemist, a mechanical engineer and chemical engineer are at lunch. The mechanical engineer examines something small between his finger and thumb. The other two get curious. The chemist takes it in his hand examines it but cannot figure out what it is. The chemical engineer then takes it, rolls it, looks at it closely but is puzzled. They then ask the mechanical engineer what it is. He says - Oh its nothing - just a booger I just picked.

Date: March 25 2001
Trail Day: 298
Miles Today: 17
Location: L2 Canal
Section Mile: FNST 993
ECT Mile: 4454

Got back on the trail at about 11:30 AM. The canal is long, straight and boring. No trees anywhere to offer shade.

A family living there gave me some iced tea and food. It was hot and the iced tea was refreshing.

I now have about 250 miles left - slightly more than 5%. I will be done with the FT in another 5 days. I hope to be done with the ECT on April 10th or so.

Mosquitoes galore tonight. Not possible to sleep without a mosquito net.

Date: March 26 2001
Trail Day: 299
Miles Today: 16
Location: Near Billie Swamp Safari
Section Mile: FNST 1009
ECT Mile: 4470

Continued along the canal and then a roadwalk. Talked to an Indian (American) for a while. He was driving a jeep and stopped on the road and started chatting - very friendly. Looks like the Seminoles are the richest tribes in North America.

Ate lunch at a restaurant - quite good. Then went to Billie Swamp Safari - very expensive and touristy. Camping - 15 $. So decided to move on. Got a lot of time to read.

Date: March 27 2001
Trail Day: 300
Miles Today: 18
Location: Near I-75 rest area
Section Mile: FNST 1027
ECT Mile: 4488

300th day on the trail. Third last on the FNST. About 200 miles left to complete the rest.

A few more miles of road walk and trail switched to a dirt road. Became quite remote then. Lots of wild life - alligators, deer and fish. Saw an animal run away - could be a Panther although it was somewhat short. Also entered into a staring contest with a deer. Lasted about 10 minutes and then it walked away. Sridhar - 1, deer - 0. There are small pools with a good number of fish in them. Watched them for a while.

It was dirt road walk all the way to I-75. Got some junk food and went back to the trail and settled in for the night.

Date: March 28 2001
Trail Day: 301
Miles Today: 18
Location: 10 Mile camp
Section Mile: FNST 1045
ECT Mile: 4506

Today's hike was through the Big Cypress Forest - very remote with very few dirt roads cutting it. I had been told there was no water for about 25 miles and was carrying 2 bottles of water. The day was hot and I finished both of them by noon. There was a broken pump near a campsite with a long plastic tube nearby. Figured out that by opening a valve, putting the tube into the hole and sucking on it, I could get water. It was a big relief. This area is supposed to be all swamp but is now dry.

Had picked up food from the rest area before starting off for 3 days. Its all junk jood and am now sick of it.

Turned out to be a long and tiring day. Was very glad when it was over.

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