the only wildlife I saw today, a happy tortoise
my view for the night
Lastnight the storm showed up around 3 am. It was pouring and windy and I had to adjust my rainfly twice to keep the rain from blowing under it and getting my gear wet. I did however liked the rain and also knowing that 3 other folks were at camp because I felt like the predatory animals would be seeking their own shelter and leave us alone. I slept until my alarm went of at 6:30 this morning, then I went right back to sleep for another hour. It was raining and I didn’t feel like getting up just to get wet. The rain died down around 8 and the three guys and I started tearing down camp and packing up. They don’t have far to go, and respectively neither do I. My plan for the day is to get to big cypress camp ground 12 miles away so I can shower and wash my clothes. I spent the morning getting things packed, eating 1000 calories, drinking a liter of water and filtering water from the gator hole. There was an alligator there last night, but I couldn’t find him when I was scooping water this morning. I was thinking that this might be the last water source that I have to keep my eyes scanning the surface for awhile.
I noticed once I had my shoes on that my feet are pretty messed up. Luckily the trail to and through the Indian reservation is wide and flat. I did have to stop after a few miles and run a piece of string through a few blisters (which helps take some pressure off without removing the skin). All of the miles are hard today simply because my feet hurt so bad and I have to take a lot of breaks. About a 100 yards from Billie swamp safari, an unleashed (collard) pit bull decided I would be fun to run off from in front of her house. She was really aggressive and I had to keep my trekking pole in her face to keep her from bitting me. Although very threatening, she never bit the end of the pole so I figured she was just wanting me to distance myself from her property, not hurt me. Our game of bark and poke lasted until I got to the turn off for the safari where she finally had enough of me and went home.
The last few miles for the day were similar to yesterday’s (minus the dehydrated feeling) but my feet are my biggest concern. Every step sends sharp pains through the ball of each foot. I get instant relief once I take the pressure off so I ended up taking a lot of breaks.
My destination for today is Big Cypress campground but right before the campgrounds is a restaurant with a pretty good menu (says the reviews on my map app). As I was approaching the street my mind started to think of all the things I was about to shove in my belly. Probably at least one hamburger or two, a hot dog, fries, onion rings anything that sounded good was going in my belly. As I neared the end of the street I could see the corner of the building, but to my horror there was also a construction chain link fence that wrapped around the building like a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of the poor restaurant. It looks like the app needs to be updated so folks don’t get high hopes for a greasy spoon meal and end up wiping a tear from their eye. Well, slightly disappointed in missing a good meal I hobbled my way to the campground and paid the 10 dollars to primitive camp. I was driven to the back of the campground by a snowbird (and hiker) whoes trail name has “kayaker” in it. He’s from the New England area has done a lot of winter camping in freezing cold temps and otherwise completely miserable conditions. He let me know that it will be 40 degrees tonight and to bundle up. I set up my hammock in the 20 mph wind (I had to forego the tarp because the winds were too strong) and I climbed into my sleeping bag to hide from the coldness. I haven’t eaten since breakfast, and although I have a mango and two apples from the lady camping out of her car nearby (and a beer from the kayaker), I don’t feel hungry for the calories I have. If that restaurant was open though… I would have eaten everything they had on that menu.