David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
08/20  Let's hike Florida!
08/24  Welcome to the Conch Republic!
08/24  Goodbye, Key West
08/25  Live and learn
08/26  Wade to breakfast
08/26  The dogs are barking.
08/27  Ba-HE-ah
08/28  Stealth Camping II
08/29  Who let the hogs out?
08/30  Walk a hundred miles in my shoes
08/31  Goodbye, Keys
09/02  I AM the minority
09/03  Easy come, easy go
09/04  So what is an aquacate?
09/05  Almost there
09/06  Wisdom or Cowardice?
09/07  The smell that protects
09/08  The Florida Trail!
09/10  Radio Resurrection
09/10  To the Horizon and Beyond!
09/11  Day on the Dikes
09/12  Hat Number Three
09/13  Just another day.
09/14  The Everglades
09/14  Good day for critters
09/15  Camping With Cows
09/16  The sounds of airboats in the night.
09/17  The grass really IS greener on the other side.
09/18  Some Math
09/19  Four days until Christmas!
09/20  Hard day, mentally.
09/21  Plan B
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

The Florida Trail!

2005-09-08

About 2 miles North of the I75 Rest Area (26.1934 N, 81.0675 W)Well, I've honest-to-God hiked the Florida Trail! After more than 230 miles of road-walking, I've trotted about two miles North on the official trail.

A long fast ten miles.

Turner River Road was quite scenic. There's a lot of prairie and light forest. Unlike Loop Road, there are no bordering trees blocking the view. After walking twelve miles North on Turner River Road (whose straightness would make any geometry teacher proud), I reached Interstate 75. All I can say is Jake was high (figuratively). Jake was the Park Ranger who told me I could walk along I75. Well, after scaling a very mean fence and two miles of very stressful road-walking, I met Cory. I think Cory really was high. Cory worked for the Highway Department as a "Road Ranger." His job was to drive along the interstate searching for and responding to issues. Well, it turns out I was an issue. He offers to drive me into Naples where another guy would bring me back. Along the way, he swerved off the main road several times, introduced himself twice and asked me where I was walking from about three times. And, yes, he was on duty, truck and all.

Earl was volunteered into bringing me back. Earl was significantly more sober than Cory. Technically, their job is to get people out of "The Ally," not into it, so I had to agree not to mention Earl's name if I got picked up. Earl utilized our brief time together to instill a respect for Alligator Ally by telling me horror stories. I'm sure glad I don't owe any local casinos money.

Cory brought me into Naples. Earl brought me back to just past where Cory picked me up. So in what would have been a five hour hike, I rode in air conditioning in an hour and a half.

Goodbye dorky-looking bonnie cap. After being dropped off at the Rest Area, I realized that I had left my hat in either Cory's or Earl's truck. I hope they give it a good home.

I hiked North from the rest area about 2 miles along the official Florida Trail before making camp. Finally, no more highway walking! no more stares. No more Dave The Freak Show. I can stumble along in relative privacy now.

Critters: More alligators. Some deer. Turkeys right here where I'm camping. Since making camp I've also herd several deer snort (which, for those who don't know, is more like a great big sniff), and I've got a crow pronouncing my presence to the world. I wonder if that means I'll get more visitors?

Dave

Morning follow-up: Twice during the night, something near camp emitted a very loud, evil growl. The first instance brought me to top alert level in about half a second. I originally worried that a panther was miffed at my intrusion. I now think it may have been gators. I'll need to ask somebody. I hope it was alligators. Either way, nothing approached.

I also did a poor job setting up my hammock. It hung a mere foot off the ground with grass swishing back and forth across the fabric all night long making ugly noises and creating a sensation of tick infestation on my back. My view was completely blocked by palmettos (?), leaving me with the constant apprehension that critters were circling my camp.





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