Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 continued…
As we hiked on, my legs were getting thrashed by palmetto stems. We made a few wrong turns, so we were both glad we agreed not to night hike. We would have been in even worse shape had we gotten lost.
As we carried on, we ran into a north bounder named Kevin. We asked him if he had any water. He wasn’t willing to spare us any. To be fair, he seemed a little disoriented himself, so I wondered if he was in the same state we were in. He told us there were no water sources ahead, but he camped with a trail maintainer at 10 Mile Camp who had a half gallon of water with him. We were feeling hopeful that he was going to leave a water cache for other hikers.
I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I was dangerously dehydrate. Frisbee asked if he should get help. I refused. Stubborn me. I was not going to be rescued out of here. No way!
Since he was in much better shape than I was in, I asked him to hike ahead to try and catch the trail maintainer before he left with the water. It wasn’t for certain, but it was our only lifeline. I gathered myself and followed shortly behind him.
I glanced to my left and saw something glimmering in the sun nearby. Maybe I should have taken Frisbee up on his offer to seek help. I was starting to see things. I looked at the mirage of water and went to investigate. I sincerely mistrusted my eyes, especially since Kevin told us there was no water until we reached the southern terminus, but I had to at least check.
I was ecstatic! It was a pond of water! My short arms couldn’t collect it without getting swamp floaties in it, but the bleach would take care of that! My joy very quickly turned into sorrow. I sent Frisbee ahead, passed our only opportunity of hydration until the end. I filled my liter for us to share later and tried to track him down.
I’m not a spiritual person, but there have been many occasions during my hikes where I start to become a believer of the man upstairs. I heard Frisbee yelling to me. He had stopped by a downed tree to make sure I didn’t miss my turn. The trail appeared to be going straight and he didn’t want me to get lost. I began to cry. I was feeling a flood of emotions. I was so grateful that I was able to stop him before he got too far from the water source.
He followed me to Flag Pond, which we believed would be dried out like all the sources that preceded it. He was able to get a cleaner sample. We bleached it and drank all that we could. It tasted weird. Not bad, but different. Then I remembered Lota telling us that the swamp water reminded her of green tea. I strongly agreed with her comment! It did!
We stopped at 10 Mile Camp for the night. Night hiking was too risky, and we were both mentally and physically run down. Our race to the finish line would have to wait until tomorrow. The mosquitoes were worse than ever before, and we would have to wake up during the middle of the night to pitch our tarps when it began raining. It was all just the icing on the cake!
16.8 miles (27.0 km)
Jump Ahead to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 30
Jump Back to Return to the Florida Trail: Chapter 28
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