Woo Hoo, my first day with over 20 mile of trail logged! I’ve done over 20 a few times before, but they included detour miles, not trail miles, so this is a small accomplishment for me. Today was a hard day though as many of the miles were done on paved roads, (which is killer on the feet). Not all miles were bad though as I started out with the first few miles on actual trail, where I got to see a hawk that I assume was a fighter pilot reincarnated. The hawk was flying so low to the ground that it’s wingtips were slightly touching the tops of the grass as it flew in and out of the ditch and over bushes. This majestic bird was weaving gracefully around the landscape, having a good old time showcasing its skills, and I admired the whole show. Shortly after that I saw an armidillo milling about. I walked very slowly up to him while he was searching for food, and I was able to get within a few feet to get a pretty good picture (posted below). That was the end of my nature walk for about the next 12 miles.
The road walks in the country isn’t all bad. For the most part I had the whole road to myself and only had to step off for cars to pass a few times. It was such a barren road that I kinda felt like I was on the show “the walking dead” and I was out on a supply run for my group of survivors. Today was too long on the road though. You know how when you are driving at normal speed and you see a sign up ahead. You think, ‘what’s that sign say?’ Then you drive pass it before your even done reading it. Well, on the road walk, I saw a sign and thought “I wonder what that sign says?” And after I walk for a few minutes, I look back up at the sign and I was still too far away to read it. That’s what walking on the road was for me today. The objects in the distance stayed there, taunting me by seemingly never getting closer and just hang there in the distance. I did have a lady slow down as she was passing me and she said “be careful, there’s a water moccasin up ahead at the bend”. I politely said ‘thank you’ but I could see that the bend in the road was a good mile away. As I walked towards the bend, I figured me and that snake would have no trouble with each other by the time I get there. Well, the mile passed and sure enough, there on the side of the road was a water moccasin, not doing so well from being ran over, by whom I’m assuming was the lady in the pick-up truck withering about. The snake was bitting himself where the tire had hit him and I felt kinda bad for the guy, so seeing as he wasn’t going to make it another day in this world anyway, I killed him as quickly as I could and pressed on.
I made it back into the woods for the last 4 miles of my day, and as I was walking along I noticed odd looking deer tracks on the ground. I’m a deer hunter (and I think I’m pretty good with tracks but I couldn’t figures ones out… Then one word filled my brain, PIG! Oh, how I don’t like ferral hogs and their aggressive, fearless personalities. I’m not looking forward to a run-in with one, but I’m in their territory now so anything is possible:)
*Break in my train of though* As I’m laying here typing this, a beast of large proportions just ran by me at full speed, literally just a few feet past my helpless cocoon wrapped body. I spun out of my sleeping bag as quickly as I could and shone my light towards where it stopped running, only to see a pair of eyes bobbing through the palms. I have no idea what it was other than that it was large and looking back at me. I will not sleep well tonight, must defend my camp!
The Kissimmee river as seen from the 78 bridge
the clueless armidillo that noticed me and took off right after this picture
a few cows walking a small portion of the Florida Trail with me