Covered in Ticks in Florida

ECT Day 283&284

Day 283: zero day

This morning I wound up sleeping in super late. I woke up and it was around 9:00 a.m. I can’t remember the last time I got to do that! Eventually, I got out of bed and headed downstairs. Judith who ran the bed and breakfast offered to make us something to eat. But I wasn’t particularly hungry yet.

The sweet dog at white springs bed and breakfast.

I wound up packing up my zpacks tent and heading over to the post office. I’ve been trying to pick up a replacement tent for the last couple of weeks. Zpacks will send you a replacement so that you can mail in your own tent to be repaired. The package was supposed to come to Blountstown where we were for thanksgiving. But it got held up in Orlando somehow for almost a week. So I wound up having to bounce it here to White Springs. It’s been a really long time so I’m assuming it finally arrived.

When I got to the post office though it wasn’t there. Somehow, we walked to White Springs faster than the Mail could travel. Now that’s impressive. Fortunately, the postal lady was understanding and took my information down. Once again, the box is going to get bumped ahead about 160 miles. Hopefully that will be enough time for it to arrive.

After figuring out a post office to have the box bounced to I also sorted some other packages out. My shoes have well over 700 miles on them already. Sadly topo is sold out online. But I have a stock pile of shoes at my moms house just in case of that! I called her up and she said she’d mail me out a pair. Gossamer gear is also going to be sending me a new umbrella to the same post office. They are replacing mine for me because I lost it in the hurricane blow downs the other day. That’s so nice of them!

Back at the bed and breakfast I hung out upstairs in my room. I had gotten a bag of frozen burritos yesterday from the dollar general. So I microwaved a couple up to eat with some queso. That’s one of my favorite cheap zero day meals. A bag of frozen burritos and a tub of queso.

Lounging with this adorable girl.

I laid in bed and watched a bit of a movie on my phone. Then I headed downstairs. Beer Run and Judith were out on the porch. I hung out snuggled with the big dog who lives at the bed and breakfast. There are a couple dogs but I’m especially fond of the giant girl dog who looks like scooby doo.

The rest of the day I spent mostly just relaxing. In the afternoon I left to do my resupplying for the next 60 miles. I got ingredients to make rotisserie chicken sandwiches with cheese. Sandwiches used to be a go to of mine back on the AT. But I got ridiculously burnt out. Maybe now I can get back into them again. It’s a solid meal to eat on trail. I’m trying to get some more nutrients in if I can.

After I did my shopping I went back to the bed and breakfast. I laid in bed for hours after that just writing and watching TV. Judith and her daughter went out to run errands. When they got back I helped them bring all the groceries into the house. I love the challenge of carrying in as many as possible. That way I only have to take a few trips.

Once the groceries were inside I went back to my room to lounge some more. I ate some more frozen burritos and watched trash TV. Then hung around for the rest of the night.

The trinkets that I’m currently carrying around. A bullet casing that I’ve carried for over 4500 miles, a piece of rock that Beer Run gave me from New Mexico, a stitch toy, and a rubber ducky.

Judith made dinner for us in the evening which was so nice of her. She made chicken, rice, and green beans. It felt so good to eat a home cooked meal. We ate and watched a bit of TV. Then sat out on the porch for a bit before calling it a night. Back at my room I packed most of my things away. Then did my stretching and laid in bed watching TV until falling asleep.

White springs bed and breakfast.

Day 284: 21.1 miles

This morning I was up around 6am. We wanted to have a relatively early start so I decided not to snooze too late. I got up and packed the rest of my things away. Then went down to the kitchen to make a few sandwiches for the day. I’m only going to make 3. I’ll keep the rest of the meat and cheese separate and make more sandwiches later today or tomorrow. That way they don’t get gross.

Once we were both packed up, we headed out. We thanked Judith for everything and said bye to the dogs. I would have loved to have taken the one dog with me. She was the sweetest gentle giant. On our way out of town we stopped off at dollar general. Then continued along the road until we were back on trail.

A florida trail marker surrounded by Christmas lights! Fitting for my continued thru hike through the holidays.

We weren’t on trail for more than a minute before I got my first ticks on me. I’d heard that they were pretty bad around this area. But apparently they are worse than I ever imagined.

The Suwannee river. I’m excited that we finally get to experience it without all of the blowdowns and hurricane damage.

The trail was super beautiful though so I’d risk it with the ticks. I’ll just have to get in a habit of checking for them again. The trail followed along the Suwannee for the next 6 miles or so. It was absolutely beautiful. We finally got to enjoy some views of the river without battling around blow downs. Some areas were so ridiculously deep! There even appeared to be rapids at times.

The fast flowing Suwannee.

The Suwannee river.

I was surprised how fast those next few hours flew on by. The hiking was scenic and enjoyable. There was no place that I would have rather been than right there on trail. There were lots of well maintained bridges along the way. One of them I came upon though had washed away. You had to cross the river on a log with a rope next to you. It was easy enough to get across though.

The bridge here washed out so someone rigged a rope and a log. I was able to cross with dry feet.

While I walked I ate a lunch meat chicken sandwich with hidden valley secret sauce. It was damn good. The trail continued to go past the river with better and better views. I was enjoying myself so much I practically lost track of time.

Sandwiches and secret sauce for lunch.

When I finally looked down at the map, I realized we had gone about 10 miles. It was time to find a spot and take a proper break. I came to a junction in the trail and decided to stop off there and wait for Beer Run who was behind me. I had packed out a bagged salad, so I ate that while I waited. Then did my stretching and what not.

A wooden bridge and Florida trail marker.

We had a nice long break there and then got moving again just before 1pm. The weather was utterly perfect out. Sunny and warm, but not too not. Leaving there we had a little bit of road walking. Then were back on trail. The trail was starting to get pretty saturated though. At first we navigated around the puddles and pools along the trail. Then I had to jump over a massive puddle. My foot sunk in deep on the other side. I was lucky I didn’t fall backwards and eat shit into the pool of water. Both my feet got wet and I officially didn’t care anymore.

One of the coolest root formations that I’ve ever seen.

Now I could walk wherever I wanted. Getting your feet wet is a bummer but it’s also freeing. It takes a lot of time to avoid getting your feet wet. Walking right in the water is much simpler. Some of the stretches were well over ankle deep. But if you were strategic about where you placed your feet it didn’t get much deeper than that.

Those last few miles of the day we were slogging through water the whole time. There would be patches of dry, but the trail was pretty saturated. We wound up having to get water from basically right along the trail. There was apparently a spring, but it was tough to find with the trail flooded. Even after I filtered the water it was still piss yellow!

A big tree covered in Spanish moss. Recently looking up at these trees has been one of my favorite things to do.

Walking along a dirt road to get to our campsite for the night.

After a couple more miles we made it to the West Tower Camp. It was just off trail and was a well-established site with picnic tables, porta potties, and running water. We had only made it just over 20 miles today but decided to call it early. The site was too nice to pass up. We arrived just around 5pm and got set up. Then hung out at the picnic table and ate dinner. When I finally sat down, I picked 3 more ticks off of me.

Over the course of the whole day, I picked 7 off of me. Those are some big numbers. Before today I really hadn’t had more than 1 tic on me in months. I’m just glad that I’ve realized and can start checking regularly. Having had Lyme disease before I really can’t risk getting it again.

Beer Run and I sat out until around 6pm. I ate a sandwich and then a piece of chocolate. Then we called it a night and I headed to my tent. It felt so nice to get bundled up inside. It wasn’t too cold out but my feet were freezing. I had taken my socks and shoes off because they were soaked. So I was just walking around barefoot. In my tent I did some writing and stretching. Then I ate a little treat and called it a night.

Me and a florida trail marker!

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Comments 9

  • thetentman : Dec 14th

    Thanks for the post. Having jumped more than a few puddles and on occasion fallen backwards I am impressed with your luck.

    Do you hang your food? Cannister?


  • Rem : Dec 14th

    Still following your journey. Its been what, 9 months on trail? Im amazed at how much fun you are having. Im an Old man now but in my 20’s i had the luxury of cruising timber down there breaking my own trail 8 hrs a day on 300,000 acres of swamp and timber. Some of my best memories. Glad you are getting a slice of it too. Good luck.

  • Holly : Dec 15th

    I urge you to carry a lint roller and lint roller every square inch of your body twice a day. Your clothes your towel your skin everything. It’s the tic you don’t see that will get you. I guarantee that you will find ticks on the lint roller that you missed visually.
    Wicked weather coming this weekend, with the potential for nighttime tornadoes.

  • Paul : Dec 15th

    I preached at the Presbyterian Church across the street from the White Springs Bed &Breakfast for 8 years (2006-2014). Have many fond memories of that little town.

  • Russell P Spielman : Dec 15th

    It”s good to hear about the FL trail ,good job pegleg

  • Old Man Paul : Dec 15th

    I know the ticks are bad…..but at least it’s not summer. Summers are way too hot and humid in South Florida….be safe. God Bless.

  • Lish : Dec 15th

    Piss colored water and nearmiss shit eating puddles- good stuff PegLeg! Two doxy every time you pull a tick off is my docs recommendation. Luckily doxy is a very easy antibiotic to take prophylacticly. Good luck on staying warm and dry!

  • Herdy : Dec 15th

    Time for a Permethrin party,

  • Charly : Dec 23rd

    As a Flo-rida native I highly recommend picking up a Tick Twister $3.99 for anyone living in or traveling through the state. Especially if you plan on doing any outdoor activities. This handy little tool is a life saver for any dog owner who spends any amount of time on the trails.


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