Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 16

Friday, December 6th, 2019

Our water hadn’t been tasting too wonderful so I used the wild lemon I snagged to spruce it up a bit. Then it was time to get the day started, and it wasn’t a good start. We had to walk through tall, wet grasses with holly bushes hiding within that were mutilating our legs.

The grass got taller and taller, well over my head, and the blazes were getting trickier to locate. We pushed through the layers of palmetto leaves until it opened up. Frisbee used a dead one to remove the spider webs as we walked under tall palm trees. Then, back in the grasses we went!

The last couple of miles before we made our exit from Three Lakes wasn’t any better then the previous ones. The trail had been plowed and the upturned soil made it unpleasant and very challenging to walk on. Half of the time we tried to avoid it by returning to the holly infested grasses beside it.

When we reached the dirt road, we were incredibly relieved. When the dirt road ended at a busy highway that hardly had a paved shoulder to tread on, but rather lumpy, un-mowed, knee-high weeds with hidden ditches, we were back to being frustrated. The FL-60 Highway was a death trap. We took a lunch break beside it on a service road that led to a phone tower, then went back to dodging tractor trailers, speeding cars, and dead alligator. I absolutely could not wait to be done with it. Frisbee found a flag with a handicapped symbol on it on the side of the road, so he tried to get a laugh out of me by sticking it on my trekking pole.

Before it was over with, we crossed the highway to get to Hyatt Farm which had picnic tables to sit at so we could remove the sharp seeds from our socks. There was also a spigot to fill up our water bottles and a trash can to toss some of the extra weight.

We crossed the Kissimmee River, then the trail left the highway and continued on a dirt road. We were no longer on edge! We got to see a lot of wildlife too. Right off the bat, we saw gators, hogs, and a raccoon hiding in a bush. It was just a grass path which then followed a fence line before we climbed over it to a paved road. There were signs leading up to River Ranch Resort, the expensive tourist destination that we were retrieving our resupply from, that made us think of the ones that led up to “South of the Border” in the Carolinas. One said, “Save a horse” followed by another that said, “Ride a mechanical bull.” Another said, “Cowboy up, partner!”

After passing through the gate, we walked by tents, bison, cabins of all sizes, horses, a teepee village, even an emu! We wandered further to the general store to grab a coffee and our resupply. Then we ordered a pizza, charged our electronics, and sucked up some WiFi. We had to force ourselves leave before we spent anymore money after filling up on water. Two coffees cost nearly $7 and there were no free refills!

We passed the teepee village again and watched the sunset, grazing livestock, birds and deer on our way to KICCO Trailhead Campsite. When we got there, we decided to go a little bit further. It was only a couple miles to the next camp. We put on our headlamps, hiked on, and ended up startling some turkeys when we arrived at Long Hammock Camp. After settling in, I listened to the coyotes and cows before dozing off. There were a few disturbances by a deer, a raccoon, and a few wild hogs that wandered around camp, but it was otherwise a restful night.

20.8 miles (33.5 km)

 Jump Ahead to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 17

Jump Back to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 15


Start from The Beginning

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