This morning was the coldest morning on the trail so far, with the temps hovering somewhere around freezing. As I woke up, I found that my wet socks had turned stiff hanging on my ridgeline and Mickey called me over to see her O.D. green tent walls were a shade of white with cracked frost. We hurriedly packed camp and jumped into Gray Beards van to warm up and get ready for our two part day.
Linda came over to the van from her rental car, a Jeep Cherokee (where she attempted to slept), and we all headed out to hike the first six mile leg road walk. It was a bitter cold hike where we tried to move fast and keep warm, all while dodging the winds blowing from the many semi trucks driving past at 60MPH. Gray Beard lost his hat a few times in those powerful gusts and with my fingers stiffened in the cold so tight that I almost couldn’t get the dexterity to roll a smoke on our break.
The second half of our day was much better, and was real hiking through the woods. There was an enjoyable amount of sunny weather and the temps finally reached above 50 degrees to give us a comfortable hike. Along the way, we had to cross a stream guarded by a large alligator, who although looked menacing, gave up on his duties and dove out of sight as we four hikers closed in. We didn’t see much more wild life (other than a few bounding deer) until we came to a swampy area we had to get through. Gray Beard was in the lead when came to a log crossing and let out a holler. He was ahead a ways of me and out of sight, so I dropped my trekking poles and ran to what was the matter. As Mikey and Linda got to my poles, the hurried towards us to see as well. There on the trail was the biggest water moccasin I have ever seen in my life right next to the board we needed to cross, and Gray Beard almost stepped on the coiled beast! Gray Beard even said that he’s never seen one that big in his 83 years, and we both agreed that it could have swallow a softball whole and it wouldn’t bulge its belly. After we got our pictures, he tried to get even closer (he’s like me in that sence), but the snake wasn’t having any of it and finally launched it’s massive body into the water and out of sight.
Once we were done hiking for the day, the trail ended at a river crossing with our camp on the other side. we had to call the fish camp for a boat ride across (which was very relaxing) but wefound out that the temps were going to drop even further down into the 20’s tonight!we decided to stay at the little fish camp motel and get reprieve from the cold for a night, and ate dinner at the dock side restaurant. It was another beautiful day on the trail and I get to sleep in a real bed for the third time this trip. It is a nice treat, as we are about to head into the Apalachacola Forest in the next few days 🙂
The morning steam lifting off the pond
A tidal flow through the salt marsh
The big ol’ Alligator blocking our path
The fattest water moccasin I’ve ever seen
The end of our hike and pick up point for the boat ride across
I’m on a boat :))