The Florida Trail: Chapter 9

Friday, February 15th, 2019

The coyotes were howling and yipping every other hour as we tried to sleep, but at least it was a lot warmer than the night before. This stretch of the trail wasn’t very scenic. The only excitement of the early morning was when I nearly had a heart attack after a turkey flew out of the bushes in front of me. The trail made it hard to get a steady pace when it transitioned back and forth from lumpy to wavy.

We’d run into a pair of NOBOs, 80 year old Al and his son Brant. They warned us about blowdowns throughout the swamp caused by the hurricane and more importantly, a forest fire in the section ahead. They originally suspected it was a controlled burn, but there was no sign warning hikers about it and no people to be found in the area. Al had wanted to hike through the fire, but Brant eventually persuaded him to turn back and take the road around it. They suggested the best way around the fire and we were incredibly grateful to run into them. They potentially saved us miles of backtracking! Thanks guys!

I was bummed to miss out on the Pine Log State Forest section, but these thing happen. During our 2016 Appalachian Trail hike, we had to go around the wild fires near Hot Springs, NC.

We reached Route 20, crossed the Choctwhatchee River and entered the town of Ebro.

There’s rain in the forecast for the next few days, so we decided to cut our hike short and spend this one at the Ebro Motel to hose off some of the mud and to sleep in a bed for a night. There was an adorable and affectionate kitty the resided their after his owner abandoned him there, which had me missing my fur children back at home.

The bulk of the evening was spent in front of the TV, eating Subway subs, wandering around the Greyhound Race Track where people were playing poker, and playing with the kitty. There was cat food at the Marathon gas station and Frisbee couldn’t resist grabbing a couple cans to feed him. It wouldn’t end up raining, but Frisbee’s calf was feeling sore, so a short day seemed necessary in the end.

9.0 miles (14.5 km)

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