Florida Trail

Suburban Jungle

So after doing our slackpacking the other day we did an easy 13-14 mile day on Tuesday because we thought it was going to start storming sometime after lunch. We’d stopped at an RV resort to fill up our water before walking three more miles to the campsite which we arrived to at 1pm. Cloudy, maybe a sprinkle, but no thunder in ‘sight’. We ho-hummed for the next four hours until it really did decide to rain, right at hiker bedtime, 6pm. Damn, could’ve put in six more miles and stayed at our Trail Angel’s house again. Oh well, instead we hung out at the campsite in Seminole Ranches. After looking on the map it appeared we were quite close to the St. John’s river so I kept getting worried we were going to be flooded by the rain—not likely, just me being paranoid.

The storm came and I listened to a local talk show and it was interrupted several times by tornado warnings for various counties including the one we were in. We were dripped on by our leaking tent but eventually the rain left and we slept soundly, except for the call of a bald eagle that had a nest probably within a quarter mile of a site.

Yesterday took make up miles but also because we discovered the map was newer than the book and was adding about five extra miles we hadn’t planned for, we did 27 miles, breaking our AT day mileage of 26.3. It wasn’t too bad, just took very quick afternoon breaks and a thirty minute lunch. I wouldn’t do it again often, but at least I know it is doable by 5:15pm. We had a very nice walk in the Little-Big Econ State Forest in which we walked along the Econlockhatchee River, a very lazy, molasses looking river.

Today we woke up anticipating our hotel stay! We were entering a no-legal-camping-zone through suburban Orlando, but we did find that there were many places along the Cross-Seminole bike path that one could stealth if needed. For the most part the hike through the streets was not bad since for the most part we were on the bike path and it mostly wound through very naturey areas, but we did walk by a few schools, through a sketchy neighborhood in Oveido, and a small industrial type area. We encountered many people wondering what we were doing, some asking if we were training for the AT, but most had no clue that we were indeed on the Florida Trail!

We also caught up to most of the group hiking with Chuck Norris and we saw Speaker and most of the group again at the shopping center when we ended today. Tomorrow we may overtake most of them as they are heading to Ocala for a birthday party. I am sure we will see some of them again.

I am looking foward to getting a haircut. And a pedicure. And inserting my face in some sort of deep moisturizing treatment. I didn’t realize how dry my face was…it’s ick. We’re sporting some pretty rad looking hiking pole strap tan lines now…awesome!

Other than that, all is good. We should be walking into Ocala National Forest this weekend and spend a few days in there and then within the next week we will be halfway done with the trail and soon after I know we will make our turn west towards the panhandle.

Until next time…happy hiking!


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