What a beautiful night lastnight! The sky was clear with a slight breeze that rocked my hammock ever so gently as I layed there enjoying the star filled night. There were so many stars visible that the constellations didn’t even look like themselves, with so many more stars visible that are light saturated out of view near towns or cities. I slept peacefully except for having to hollar at the coyote that were headed my way down the trail, but that only happened once through the night.
When my sunrise alarm woke me up with its gentle light breaking through the trees, it felt good knowing I wasn’t doing any miles today and I slowly pulled my sleeping bag up to block the light and got a few more minutes of shut eye.
By 8am I was finally out of bed and starting an assessment on my ankle. I found that I must have torn the Achilles tendon a little bit yesterday because my left ankle is swollen with pitting edema (when I squeeze it, it stays indented for a few seconds) and is tender to the touch. It took but a moment for me to recognize the need for a rest day, but I started to question if I needed two. I dumped out my food bag to check my rations and found that there is a full three days supply still available, so I feel comfortable with staying an extra day if needed. Time will tell on that.
I spent the rest of the morning utilizing the solar powered well pump to wash my socks that had gotten blackened with soot from wearing them through the aftermath of a recent controlled burn area. I also filtered three liters of water for later use and used the small mirror in the bathhouse to trim my mustache and get a good look at the ‘Moose’ I’ve slowly transformed into over the past 20 days in the wild.
The rest of the day was spent with my foot elevated to draw the swelling out of it and looking at the map app to gain a bit of a plan for the coming weeks of travel. I know that the 20+ mile days are capable at a strength and drive level, but I think my body parts might need another week or two of hiking adaptation before I can press that hard without injury. So for now, I will set a strong pace with sub 20 mile days and get back to enjoying the show that the Florida Trail provides.
As evening approached, so did two hikers. I recognized Ed from his 1970’s kelty backpack and new I had good company for the night. With him is a guy named ‘Nonsense’ who is a first time through hiker like myself. Ed went off to do his own thing and Nonsense and I chatted about our awesome experiences and troubles along the way to include stories about learning what your body can handle verses what your mental drive is. It was nice to see a familure face and to meet a hiker that is learning as he goes like me and really just to talk hiker talk with someone going through the pain and enjoyment, just the same. All in all it was a good zero day and hopefully my Achilles tendon holds out for tomorrow’s adventure.
my sunrise alarm clock
a cool low fog that baked off pretty quick this morning
filtering the well water, but I think it’s probably safe to drink. Habits.
a green anole checking out my camp
my spoon broke, so I used a palm stem for a handle