Monday, December 2nd, 2019
I woke up with my entire right cheek covered in bug bites. I guess the mosquitoes were able to maneuver around the tiny holes in the bug net on my bivy. We took the dirt road passed an RV Park, then walked a short distance down the road to the town of Christmas so we could grab breakfast at the Christmas Market. We ate out front while sharing our food with an adorable kitty, then returned inside to fill our water bottles.
The owner warned us that, although safe to drink, the water had an “eggy” taste from the sulfur. We had already had some eggy water in the past, but the flavor was so intense it actually felt like we were drinking hard boiled eggs. After struggling to chug it down, we dumped the remains out in the parking lot, then bought a gallon jug to split between the two of us.
Back on trail! We entered Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area and would get palm leaves to the face throughout.
“You’re in the jungle, baby!”
We were thrilled to see a couple resting on trail. They looked exhausted and hardly had any energy to talk. They were hiking a section and warned us of a three mile stretch of hell ahead. We thanked them, but took their warning with a grain of salt. We’ve seen things. We have a high tolerance level for BS, so the terrible section ahead was not likely going to be so bad for us. Oh, were we wrong!
At first we struggled a bit with navigation. Some blazes were hidden, and we had to check our GPS often since we constantly felt like we were going in the wrong direction. Then the suck continued. We were mangled by barbed briars that would snag so tightly it would stretch out our skin and stop us in our tracks. There were also the sharp Caesar weed seeds that covered us head to toe as we bushwhacked through a flooded trail.
Frisbee was losing it and stopped frequently to curse at the situation while removing briars and seeds from his body. One good thing about us is when one of us is having a meltdown, the other, although hanging on by a thread, manages to keep the sanity. It was my turn to try and pull us back together for a change. I talked him through it and we kept moving until we escaped.
We had a short, but mellow walk down a flat, grassy road. We had to walk through a flooded area, but we had already seen the worst of it, so it wasn’t much of an inconvenience. Then it was time for a break!
After eating and clearing our heads, we began the road walk down FL-520. Before our turn, we caught a hitch with Rob, a Coco Beach native who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California. He told us about his interests, which were surfing and sailing. Frisbee told him that he would like to give sailing a try one day, but was hesitant to do so.
“Don’t be intimidated by the terminology. Sailing is easy.”
We got dropped off at the McDonald’s in Coco West. We ate and I searched for a cheap room for the night. We didn’t want to spend the money, but we could really utilize a nice, dry place for the night to rest our aching feet, and to relax our frazzled minds. I found what we were looking for in the Budget Inn which was a short walk down the street. While I booked it, Frisbee ordered our resupply: 24 McDoubles. There’s nothing funnier than a McDonald’s employee’s face when you have such a request.
“Are you serious?”
The girl thought he was joking around. It’s similar to the look of shock when we tell people we’re walking to Key West. Once we had our burgers, we checked into the Budget Inn and decompressed.
20.4 miles (32.8 km)
Jump Ahead to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 13
Jump Back to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 11
Start from The Beginning