The Florida Trail: Chapter 24

Friday, March 1st, 2019

The cows in the distance were making a ruckus throughout the night and it rained a little bit, but we woke up dry. The pastor’s wife made coffee and we enjoyed our drinks while getting to know the volunteers who were about to go to work. They came from all over to assist in the building of a new fellowship hall for the New Home Baptist Church. We’d also get to meet their wives who were very curious about our journey. Everyone was so kind! We left a thank you note before we began walking.

It started out on the less than scenic side with our road walk, but we’d meet a NOBO named Spankrash who was attempting an FKT (Fastest Known Time) for the Florida Trail.

We didn’t want to hold him up, but he was more than happy to take a break to chat. He told me he was getting choked up when he saw us since other hikers have been few and far in between. He was also a former Appalachian Trail hiker and we both could agree that the Florida Trail is far less traveled, and that the trail community is lacking in comparison. I’m lucky enough to have Frisbee with me to keep the loneliness at bay. We warned him about the hurricane damage and threw a couple suggestions his way regarding the miles ahead of him. He let us try on his Palante Joey pack, a prototype given to him by the company. The pack hasn’t been released yet. I loved the shoulder straps! We wished him luck and went our separate ways.

It would drizzle on us a bit as we walked under oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

We’d hear thunder rumbling in the distance as we approached Mt. Olive Cemetery.

We mooed at the cows in the field to the right of us before the rain began to fall. Then the sky unleashed its fury!

We were drenched by the time we made it to McDonalds in Madison. A puddle formed under us as we ordered our food, and got a few questionable glances from the other customers. Frisbee offered to mop it up before we inhaled our food, then walked across the street to the Best Western.

The weather report was showing some nasty conditions ahead so we decided to give ourselves, and our gear, a chance to dry out. We would re-evaluate tomorrow, hoping the storms would blow over. Florida weather can change at the drop of a hat, and we were hoping it would change to our benefit.

After showers and laundry, we’d grab a late dinner at Waffle House where only two employees were there and working their butts off. They were working a double shift and had been there since 6 am since several of the other employees called out. It was nearly 8 in the evening. I suggested to Frisbee that we give them a $20 tip. After all the generosity we’d received, I thought it was a good time to pay it forward.

11.6 miles (18.7 km)


Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

After looking at the radar, we decided we’d take a zero. The forecast was calling for severe thunderstorms most of the day and into tomorrow morning with a chance of hail and tornados. Nope! We’ll stay dry instead!

… and that’s an Emu outside next to our hotel room!

We gorged out on the free hotel breakfast and farted around the hotel room most of the day. I submerged my sleep mat in the tub to search for the hole causing the slow leak I’ve been experiencing since day one. No such luck.

Bad luck would continue when the sun would come out in the afternoon and shine the rest of the day. We would have much preferred hiking over doing a whole lot of nothing! They predict thunderstorms again tomorrow. We’ll be hiking rain or shine.

0 miles (0 km)

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