Miles today: 21.8 miles
Miles so far: 593.5 miles
Campsite: Milton’s store and Restaurant campground across the street.
Woke up in a nice warm, comfortable bed. It was perfect. It stood tall and had many blankets and pillows. It felt like I was a princess.
Hammock Hanger gave me 2 options as they were the same distance from her house. Option 1: to drive back to the entrance of GoldHead Branch State Park or option 2: drive me to Olustee. Option 2 meant I’d skip around 50 miles of paved bike trails and sleeping in parks and depot in towns where everyone could see me… I thought about and tried seeing the logistics behind both options. I had my game plan outlined for the first option already but meant lots of road walking… Finally I came to a decision. I am no purist and I am doing this trail to have fun and look forward to each day… And I was not looking forward to the road walk so I chose option 2. Immediately after being dropped off, I was already in the woods. Ahhh yes, where I belong.
Within 2 miles I regretted decision. Slosh, slosh slosh. This was the sound of my feet going thru a lot of water. These were small puddles anymore but ankle and calves deep puddles. Ugh! The day started cold but around 10am the sun warmed me up. All morning the water was freezing cold and made my feet numb. I stopped many times to wring out the water out of my socks but to only cross more water. The water is also rich in tannins (hope it’s spelled correctly) and it makes it hard see a through a few inches. So here I was, walking thru calf, and even sometimes knee, deep water with no sense what was in the bottom. There was many boardwalks that proved to be useless. One was submerged under water, another started and finished in knee deep water. At times, you’d get the occasional good one that took you out of the water for a bit.
Afted 20 miles I looked at my map to see that I could hit a local convenience store that offered a camping option so i walked less than 2 miles to get there. The restaurant part closed at 3pm, the clerk informed me. She must had seen my face and offered to make me a bologna sandwich. I gladly accepted. I ate while watching the local news on TV. They warned viewers about the freezing temp overnight and the strong winds making the wind chill much lower. Great, here I was with wet socks and shoes about to camp out in freezing temps. I have done it plenty in Wisconsin but I have never done wet AND very cold. It is a terrible combination and hope I live to tell the tale!
Tonight, I am staying at the campground in front of the country store. It’s habitants are old, beat up trailers with tarps and ac’s affixed to them. I decided to get as close as the woods as possible and as far as those trailers. In a way, the wood is going to shield me from some wind. I am currently listening some folks out there talking over their loud trucks and music. Let’s hope they don’t investigate the only tent in the place.
Beside the wetness today was a pretty section. Hope to see more dry section soon again. Happy trails!