Friday, February 22nd, 2019
Right off the bat, I almost lost my shoe in the mud as we began our hike. We had a long hike ahead of us.
We road walked a bit as we crossed the Ochlockonee River and after we had already done some maneuvering around blow downs, we briefly returned to the road after seeing that the next section involved some serious bushwhacking. Sorry, I forgot to bring a machete to the party. Not doing it!
Today we’d be entering Bradwell Bay. So the bad thing about hiking the Florida Trail on a whim is the complete lack of planning and research. This would be why we wouldn’t be hiking as many miles a day as we liked, would become frustrated with the rules, regulations and permits, and would be generally ill prepared throughout. In this case, we thought all the talk about Bradwell Bay was because it was a pretty section. We weren’t prepared for the several miles of hell that followed suit.
After busting through the overgrowth, we were actually enjoying the deep swamp walk. We kept smiling even after Frisbee saw a water moccasin swim in front of him, disappearing in the black waters.
About a mile in, we were over it. The sediment built up in my shoes made it feel like I was walking with cinder blocks attached to my feet. Even with my trekking pole, the slimy bottom with roots and debris would cause me to lose my balance repeatedly. I started out crotch deep in swamp water, but after falling over one too many times, I was soaked head to toe.
Once we were close to wrapping it up, we were both grumpy and our legs were fatigued. When we got to a dry area by a trailhead, we sat in silence and ate, hoping to reenergize enough to complete the hike. At least our feet would get a chance to dry out a bit. It was all fields and forest roads the rest of the way.
This didn’t leave out room for fear. We approached a hunter who didn’t see us coming and in his startled state, he quickly pointed his gun at Frisbee. After realizing Frisbee was not an animal, the hunter seemed a little shocked too, just not quite as horrified as Frisbee was. I would put my hunter orange bandana back on my head after that.
We arrived at Martian campsite shortly after. Frisbee started a fire as we consumed some much needed calories. We were so happy to be done with that section and were excited to be out of Apalachicola altogether come tomorrow.
21.1 miles (34.0 km)