The Florida Trail: Chapter 27

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

It was raining when we woke up and we weren’t too thrilled. Our food bags were pretty empty, and we planned to eat lunch at the next resupply stop about 9 miles ahead. Even after the rain stopped, it was hard to get out of our sleeping bags because it was so damn cold out! I had no idea Florida could get so frigid!

We’d eventually motivate ourselves to get packed and go. We weren’t too thrilled to get our feet wet first thing, and it would continue throughout the morning. At least the water was semi warm.

There were a number of blow downs too, and parts of the trail were badly eroded.

After passing the ruins of an old bridge, we’d cross a very graffitied out-of-commission one, then we made it into Suwannee Springs to resupply. The selection wasn’t great, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

On our way back, we’d meet a section hiker and trail maintainer, Jumping Joe and his cute dog, Susie Q. He gave us a little history lesson about the area.

He told us the bridge was built in the 1930s and that there used to be a very well known resort there. People came from all over the world to get the health benefits from the sulphuric springs. We had passed by some of the original cabins that guests had stayed in that appeared to be falling into ruins. He pointed to a stone wall from across the bridge which was all that currently remained of the original old spring house. He told us that the place burned down, was rebuilt, burned down again, was rebuilt again, then was burned down yet again and was never fully restored.

We took the blue blaze back to the trail which was now a very well groomed single track. Both Frisbee and I loved this scenic section which took us through oak trees covered in Spanish moss, down along the beach, which we would take a short break at, then up and down hills, snaking alongside the river.

All was going great until we made our way down the muddy slope of Devil’s Mountain. Frisbee took a spill and caught his body weight with his left wrist with the fall, which he suspects could be broken. He has broken his wrists before and said he usually can’t tell until the following day. I felt awful.

Seconds before the fall

The trail would remain groomed and would widen as we traveled away from the Suwannee River. We’d set up camp at a random camp area by a blue blaze and hoped for the best in the morning. We were sure to bundle up. There was a freeze warning for the night.

16.1 miles (25.9 km)

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