Thursday, December 12th, 2019 continued…
We had splurged enough in Moore Haven and it was time to get back on the move. We coaxed the tractor trailer drivers to honk their horns as we crossed the bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. They all played along! We walked by a trailer park before we returned to the dike. It was a cloudy day and the wind was beginning to pick up as it got dark. We planned on night hiking all the way into Clewiston.
Frisbee struggled to talk to Chris, an old friend of ours, over the phone as the gusts of wind rushed by us. He moved to South Florida several years back, and we were hoping to meet up with him in Clewiston. Chris has made a great living for himself and his family down here, and we’re incredibly proud and happy for him! But between flipping homes, his successful bracelet company, and raising three kids, he’s a really busy guy. So although he was eager to find some wiggle room in his schedule, he would later inform us he couldn’t make it out to visit. We were bummed we wouldn’t be seeing him, but completely understood.
It was pitch black by the time we got to Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp, and we walked off the dike to check it out. It’s one of those places on the Florida Trail that many recommend staying at. Unfortunately we wouldn’t get the pleasure. Before we returned to the dike, a woman came out of her house.
“Can I help you?”
We told her we were hiking and asked about the possible dike closure up ahead. We wanted a second opinion to match that of the police officer’s who we spoke to earlier. She told us there was construction ahead, but we shouldn’t have any issues passing through. She also offered us a place to camp, but we were dead set on getting to Clewiston. We had no clue where we’d be sleeping once we got there, but we were determined nonetheless.
We returned to the dike and after walking a while, Chris would text Frisbee back to drop a surprise on us. He just bought us a room in town! He said it wasn’t the nicest place to stay, but it was located right off of the trail. If he only knew the places we’ve slept at in the past, he would know that we were beyond grateful for his generosity. A roof over our head to protect us from the rain was all we could ever hope for!
As we got closer and closer to town, we would see all sorts of wildlife. We counted 20+ opossums, 1 gray fox, multiple wild hogs, a raccoon, and the glowing eyes of a few gators in the water. It was exciting! The terrain had been monotonous, but the day was very eventful!
We could see the construction site ahead of us. This is what we dreaded. Were we going to have to climb fences? Were we going to run into security? We had no plans of backtracking so we were about to find out! We slipped in some mud and had to maneuver around some gates, but getting through the site was pretty painless. We saw a security car parked below us, but did our best to be unseen just in case someone was watching.
As we arrived in Clewiston, we watched a couple cars drive around Levee Park, doing donuts and parking in the shadows to secretly do whatever it was they were doing. I was super sore, so I was really glad that we could locate the motel and be done rather than search for a stealth site in the dark. We checked into the Plaza Travel Inn for the night and gave Chris one last call to express our deep appreciation, and to continue catching up. This time, we wouldn’t sound like we were in a wind tunnel!
28.4 miles (45.7 km)
Jump Ahead to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 24
Jump Back to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 22
Start from The Beginning