Hello! I am alive! We are in Titusville at a Trail Angel’s house for the night. He’d contacted us prior to our hike about our propsects of doing the east side of Lake Okeechobee and told us they were doing work and had been kicked off recently. Then he said when we got to the Christmas area to give him a call and we could get a shower and laundry done. We gave him a call last night to tell him we thought we’d be there Tuesday afternoon but he said he’d meet us where we started a 24 mile roadwalk today at noon. So, we ended up slackpacking some of that roadwalk today, about 12 miles or so and nixed sleeping on the side of a county road in favor of a shower, laundry and comraderie with a large group that is hiking together about a day and a half ahead of us. Look up Chuck Norris on Trailjournals.com if you are interested. Our friend Speaker from the AT started on the 4th and caught up to that group so we got to see him as well.
So far the trail has been very different than the AT. For one we’ve seen all of 1 thru-hiker so far other than the group today. We met southbounder, Plugger, on the Seminole Reservation when he was a few days from being done. Other than that we’ve mostly met either day hikers, fishermen, lock workers around the lake, people curious on what we were doing, hunters (deer or squirrel) and that’s about it. We did meet a guy out hiking for a few weeks and he was taking a zero at the Kicco ghost town due to a sore foot.
After leaving Big Cypress we were either on a road or levee most of the time until we arrived at Hickory Hammock…which is a veryyyyy long distance. Road and levee walking sucks, sucks, sucks. It sucks worse than PA rocks, it sucks worse than the Mahoosuc Notch, it sucks worse than the AMC hut system. Why? It tears the crap out of your feet. Chris, who had barely a blister on the AT, has been plagued with blisters, too. Finally though I think we are slowly coming away from that and other than the sore feet the last two hours of the day and hiker hobble after, we are doing better.
The trail is very quiet and that is another difference. Logbooks are rare and finding a trace of anyone else is hard. We look for footprints and fellow AT hiker Love it or Leave It left a note in the sand north of Mosquito Hammock so we knew we were within a day of him.
Anyway, I am definitely done with thru-hikes after this. Someone should have reminded me that oatmeal and breakfast bars really suck for breakfast, lunch is mediocre at best and the sore feet—ahhhhh! And the people missing. I am definitely better when we are around people, talking to others. I know that having Merf around on the AT helped a lot towards the last bit of the trail. I think section hiking, shorter trails and such are in my adventure book after this.
Here’s a few photos. We’re having some issues with our camera card so we lost a lot of our photos from Okeechobee north, including a super cute otter picture. We saw three otters three days in a row!
Well, we will write more when we get another chance. We will be going through a more suburban area around Orlando and will more than likely try to motel/hotel it within the next week and take a half day off somewhere. Then we’ll really start getting into some nicer hiking of Florida. I’ll have my brother post again when I call him.