The Florida Trail: Chapter 28

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

It was very chilly outside so getting out of our warm sleeping bags was a challenge. We’d stay in them as we dug through our food bags for breakfast. We were both not too pleased when we noticed everything we had bought at the convenience store in Suwannee Springs was expired. Some stuff by over a year. You know it’s bad when you see something so pumped with preservatives, like Pop Tarts or Rice Crispie Treats, that looks too funky to eat. We were pissed.

To top it off, the morning hike would not be without wet feet. At least we had a nice stroll on a ridgeline along the Suwannee River.

We’d walk by some neat river houses on cement stilts, under I-75, and across foot bridges before we were cruising through Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park (that’s a mouthful!).

Green Anole

Before long, we were in the tiny town of White Springs.

What’s the first thing any hiker does when they get into town? EAT! We got some delicious food at Fat Belly’s Bar-B-Que and Grill. Frisbee got the bacon cheeseburger and I got the pork sandwich topped with coleslaw. We both inhaled our meals without speaking to one another. It was delicious!

After we ate, four older ladies walked in with backpacks on. They had just finished a northbound section hike of the Florida Trail, and had a lot of questions about how we kept our packs so small. One of them was even taking notes. A few of them did trail maintenance and one of them, named Audrey, gave us her “Tropical Trekkers” business card and offered to do trail magic for us when we returned to the trail in December. Sweet!

Perhaps I’ve left some of you in the dark about that, so let me recap. We had plans to visit my in-laws in Tampa, spend a week with them there, then to fly out to Tucson to hike the Arizona Trail at the tail-end of March. Hiking the first stretch of the Florida Trail was a spontaneous decision, but we’re glad we took a leap of faith since we’ve been having a great time! We’ll still be thru hiking, by the ‘calendar year’ definition, just not in one shot. We’ll return in December, or sometime at the end of the year, to pick up where we left off.

After chatting with them, we went to Dollar General to get resupply, grabbed water at the fountain by the park, then followed a white dog down the trail. I don’t know where he came from but he would sit and stare at us, then quickly bolt down the trail. He did this three times before he disappeared for good.

We’d get our feet wet again, as the ladies at the restaurant warned us, but only had 6 miles to tackle before reaching our destination, Waldrons Landing.

The site sat right on the river, and we started a small fire while we ate dinner, then got in our tent. It was supposed to be another cold, cold night and we were already feeling it.

19.7 miles (31.7 km)

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