Before bed I propped my shoes up to let as much swamp water drain out as possible and hung my wet clothes over my rain fly to let them air dry a bit overnight. One of the ways hikers keep their pack weight down is by only bringing one extra set of clothing for nighttime use only. My wet set of clothes is made from quick dry materials, but I found out in the morning, just not quick drying enough as they were still wet and now very cold, but the show must go on, so swapped clothes and packed away my dry ones.
As I was breaking down camp at 5am I heard that loud blowing sound again, in 4-5 successions then it stopped. I still don’t know what kind of animal makes a blowing sound like that as I’ve never heard a deer blow more than once without a pause. I used my trusty trekking pole to slapped the palm fronds and heard the animal walked away. I stood there shivering from my cold, wet clothes trying to get a glimps of it from my LED light, but there was nothing to be seen.
With the critter gone and my camp packed tightly in my pack, I set out for todays journey as the morning light was just enough to make out the trail. Todays plan is for 21 miles, so I was hopeful that the trail gods would provide easy passage.
The first two miles went by quick as the trail was only slightly muddy after having time to absorb the water over night. Soon I arrived at the bogs which had boardwalks over them. That might sound mighty fine to have, but what they are is railroad ties laid side by side to make a very slippery passage way. So slippery were the boardwalks that I had to almost slide my feet across them like it was my first time Ice skating. I was greatful they were there though as it WAS nice not having to soak my shoes. As I emerged from the woods onto snow hill road, I saw Ed sitting across from me looking at his trail guide. He told me it was a good thing I bumped into him because the bridge over the Econ river is out and we had to take a detour. The detour is marked by signs, but it was not on my map app! We took the short roadwalk to the bridge then found the barely visible sign to follow the detours and we pressed on at our own pace. I thanked Ed for the help as I took the lead and he said that we will meet again. I didn’t make it more than two miles down the trail when I realized that my packs rain cover was missing. I knew it was on there this morning, but one of the many palm fronds or tree branches I bumped must have taken it away from me. This is of concern due to the storm coming tomorrow and the possible rain forecasted through the weekend so I turned around to retrieve it. At least Ed was behind me, so I wishfully hoped that he would have it. As we approached each other, I asked if he had seen my rain cover on the ground. He had me turn around and he said my pack looked the same as when we met at snow hill road. Well, I wasn’t about to undo the 5 miles I had just hiked to try and find it, so I pressed on again.
The rest of the trail before Oviedo was beautiful as it ran alongside the Econ river. I kept stopping to take pictures even though I still had a lot of miles planned for the day. I told myself that I was on the trail for scenery like this, not just to hike miles, so I sat on the benches of each overlook and really enjoyed that small section of trail.
As I entered Oviedo the trail moved from damp ground to an old railroad that the town had paved the top of for hikers, joggers and bicyclists. It was a relief to see that although I had 10 miles to get through town, there would be very little road walking. The trail reminded me of the paved trails in Germany that run for countless miles connecting all the towns together.
As I got to the center of town, there is a restaurant called Town House on my map app that says they are very hiker friendly with an outdoor sitting area (very important for hikers like me that want to keep their funk blowing in the wind). It was a short detour to Town House and walked inside only to tell them I’d be around back and went out the door I came in. As the waitress came to me I told her I needed 3000 calories and a lot of water. She laughed and told me I wanted the hungry man meal with two country fried steaks, two sides and a biscuit. I told her “that’s a start, but leave the menu”. After the first plate was gone, she asked if I was still hungry? I told her I’d like to try off the breakfast menu and ordered the corned beef, two eggs (scrambled) wheat toast and grits. That all went down easy too, but gave up leaving half a bowl of grits. Finally full, I set out for the last 8 miles of the day.
The only thing interesting that happened on the final leg of todays trip was when I got about a mile from a stealth camping spot owned by the Florida Trail. I was a little low on water and wanted a top off before camp and came to a sign for “the Grove”that said “safe space” and “an impowerment facility” and I thought, perfect! They won’t judge me for how I look and smell and I can share a story of finding empowerment in my own life, and I’ll get to have full rations of water at camp. As I turned into the buildings parking lot, there was a group of kids playing basketball and an adult that beelined it towards me. I introduced myself and told him my situation while the kids formed a group telling the responsible adult to “kick his ass Mr. ?”. I immediately knew this was NOT in fact a safe space, and they wouldn’t want to hear how I’ve empowered myself, but I kept my cool and asked for water as nicely as I could. The Man told me “no way” and said I had to leave immediately, so I did, but I also thought that they should change their signs to something more appropriate like “guests not welcome” or simply “keep out”. As I left, I made sure I read everything correctly and checked for a sign that would have kept me at bay, but didn’t see one. At least my camp site has a stream next to it to filter water from (had I known, I wouldn’t have stopped at “The Grove”).
I have no plans for tomorrow as hotels are to expensive here and I have to hike into town for a new pack rain cover all while avoiding thunderstorms and there are no woods for 15 miles to camp in. Should be interesting 🙂
the nice (but slippery ) bog boardwalks
Econ river, to deep to wade across with the trail bridge out, so I had to detour around to another bridge
a little babbling waterfall
the paved over rail system in Oviedo and Winter Springs Florida. Great trail system used by the Florida Trail
my resting spot for the night right along a river. Very peaceful