Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
I should have slept well, but I was feeling a little ill. My lousy diet was getting the best of me. We crossed several bog bridges, an old logging railroad bed, then we were in and out of scrub fields. We quietly approached a hunter, making him aware of our presence, but not disturbing his conquest. He was stalking a doe. We whispered good luck to him, then wandered on.
Frisbee and I climbed a sturdy deer stand then walked through a field of palmettos. The soil turned to sand before we got to Little Scrub Camp for our lunch break. We scattered our gear out to dry on the picnic tables and over the palmetto leaves as we ate. Once we packed up and made our way to a sandy road, we were immediately startled by a snake stretched out in the middle of the trail. It was a Copperhead, so it was good that we saw him first before treading overtop of him.
We crossed a stile into Forever Florida property and got our feet wet before taking another break at Tracy Branch Camp. We were excited to see flushing toilets and functioning showers there. Unfortunately the water was cold and the day wasn’t hot enough for cold showers, but we rinsed down our armpits and our shirts anyway. We hydrated and filled out bottles before returning to the scrub fields and sandy forest roads.
The trail led us to a gate, which was locked so we had to climb over it, then it bordered a Big Cat Sanctuary. It would have been more enjoyable seeing the African lion, as well as the Florida panther that stalked us behind its cage, but we had to walk through briar bushes and Caesar weeds in the process. We exited Forever Florida and walked down the road to the wayside.
There wasn’t much to it, just two signs explaining the history of the site. It was the location of a railway that transported workers to and from the turpentine operation and sawmills they worked for. There was also a cement picnic table that looked like it was from the 1950’s. Once it got dark, we set up behind a nearby oak tree, out of sight from passing traffic. The road remained busy with tractor trailers passing by throughout most of the night.
20.5 miles (33.0 km)
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