Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 1

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Flattop is the man! Since we already completed the panhandle of the Florida Trail in February, we had plans to catch a ride one way or another to Hampton, where we left off, so we could continue our journey south. We thought about hitchhiking. We also considered catching a ride from Frisbee’s parents, but that would mean that they would have to drive all the way up from Tampa to Crestview, then to Hampton, then back. This would have taken them about 13 hours round trip, which we really didn’t want to put them through. Flattop did us a solid and cut a huge chunk out of the trip for them. He was going to take us to Lake City, which would save his parents about 7 hours of drive time! Flattop, if you’re reading this, you’re awesome!

We went to McDonald’s for breakfast before hitting the road, listening to the Orange Blaze podcast on the way. We listened to Dan “Chopsticks” Munsell first, who holds the FKT for the Florida Trail, then Lo Phong La “Lil’ Buddha” Kiatoukaysy who we met briefly on the Long Trail who has tons of miles under his belt all over the country. Flattop and Kelly were even featured on it, which we insisted on listening to. He was being modest. Flattop is very passionate about the Florida Trail, and we look forward to following him on his thru hike next year.

We met up with Frisbee’s parents in Lake City and Flattop joined us for some Sonny’s BBQ before returning to Crestview. We would occasionally notice orange blazes on telephone poles as we drove to Hampton. They would wind up following some of the roads we walked on on the Florida Trail earlier this year.

After getting dropped off at the same convenience store they picked us up at in February, we said goodbye again and began our journey again. We had no clue we would enjoy this trail so much.

The original plan was to fly to Tampa to pay them a visit before flying to Tucson to begin our northbound Arizona Trail thru hike. Last minute, we changed our flight to Pensacola to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone has told horror stories about how miserable and monotonous the Florida Trail is. However, this information had always come from people who hadn’t hiked it. Yes, there are swamps and you will get wet feet. Yes, dangerous wildlife exists out here. Yes, it’s hot and there will be a good deal of road walking. However, the scenery has been gorgeous, exceptional, and ever changing. In fact the humans have been scarier than the wildlife at times, but don’t all trails have their unpleasantries? Overall, the good has outranked the bad, and that’s why we decided to come back to finish what we started.

We only planned to hike a short distance, passing 30+ turkeys on our way to Cow Creek campsite. The site was on the other side of a fenced in farm. We fed the horses before enjoying the sunset from the picnic table. Overnight, we listened to dogs barking and cows mooing. The coyotes were howling too, which apparently really upset the donkeys which were also quite vocal. It was a noisy night, but a good night.


5.2 miles (8.4 km)


Jump Ahead to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 2

Jump Back to The Florida Trail: Blackwater Section Part 3

or

Start from The Beginning

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