I love sleeping outside in a gental rain! It started raining yesterday around 5pm and once I had camp set up it started raining a little harder. With no wind to blow the rain around, I was dry and enjoying the sounds as I drifted off to sleep. I woke up at my usual time of 6:30 to the sounds of the rain still coming down, not as peaceful I thought, as I started packing up.
I took my time eating breakfast, brushing my teeth and filtering water from a pond near by, in the hopes that the morning sun would bake off the rain cloud before I set out for the day. By 8:20 it was still raining pretty good, and although I only had 15 miles planned for the day, I couldn’t wait any longer. I still thought that I should average an easy 2.5mph since my feet and Achilles Tendon felt surprisingly good and I could take full strides first thing in the morning.
As I hit the trail, the ground was soggy from the night of rain and the sloughs had collected quite a bit of it. At first I tried to work my way through them by stepping on logs, palm fronds and grass clumps, but it was pointless. The ground was to saturated with rain water and I decided to swap my good shoes for my camp shoes and trug on through the muck. I did this for about 2 miles before I could tell that my feet were going to get screwed up again if I pressed on any further this way. After a brief search I found a descent looking tree that had fallen over to make a nice bench to sit on and I swapped back to my hiking shoes.
The rain became relentless in is efforts to soak mother earth and myself and it was succeeding in all its efforts. My clothes soon became saturated with water and the ground could no longer absorb the moisture into its already swampy soil. I was moving at a terrible pace as I fought the conditions and still tried to step in the shallowest pools of water, but my feet were becoming just as saturated as everything else in the swamp.
Just before my lunch break the rains let up to a sprinkle and I saw an orange on the ground. I looked up to see that I was standing under an orange tree and took quick advantage of this always welcome surprise. I ate two oranges and hiked less than a mile to a stream I planned on both eating at and filtering my water supplies back up. I sat in the light rain, thankful that the downpour had stopped but at the same time wanting some sunshine to break through and I ate my lunch hunched over to block the rain from getting on my food.
I’m glad I had chosen that stream to eat at because shortly after I was back on the trail, the rains picked back up again. I had heared that it was supposed to be off-and-on rain all day, but whomever flipped the rain on, forgot about turning it off. The trail now had about 20 hours of constant rainfall and the water was over my ankles and into my shoes for the better part of each mile passed. The trail was difficult to maneuver and my leg muscles hadn’t hurt this bad since Big Cypress three weeks ago.
I managed to make it the fully planned 15 miles for today, but really only because I new the end was close. If I had planned on a 20 mile day, I probably would have set up camp after the first 10 miles. The best part about today was the smells radiating off all the fauna around me. It seemed every plant was happy with the rain and showed their excitment by releasing their pleasant aromas into the rain filled air. I hiked through areas that were sweet, some spots of rich pine scent and the swamp that usually smells unpleasant had its own new enjoyable smell lofting up from it. Although it was a hard day, second only to the second day in Big Cypress. It was still a great day in the woods, but I do hope for easier travels tomorrow :).
a lot of today was through trail like this
if the trail wasn’t underwater, it usually looked this way
I took this picture after coming from the right, hopeful that the trail to the left would be dryer
this is what I found to the left of that sign!
it finally quit raining after almost 24 hours. Glad to get away from the bugs and rest my legs