Florida Hog Encounter at Night

ECT Day 265&266

Day 265: 27.5 miles

This morning we got up around 6am and got packed up. Apparently, Beer Run slept pretty shitty last night because his site was slanted. That’s the worst! Sometimes when you pick a site it’s hard to tell how slanted it is until it’s too late. The place we set up last night was rough, but I managed to pick a good spot.

Once we were packed up we got moving. The road we were following along was super busy so we just walked in the grass. I managed to write and post a whole blog post as I walked along. First thing in the morning too! That was a good feeling. We continued walking for about 5 miles and then passed by a gas station.

Beer Run road walking up ahead of me.

Not long after that we crossed into Crestview and then walked through town for a while. At the first stop I got a coffee and a couple danishes. Then we walked a little while longer and stopped off at another gas station. That’s the routine. You get a drink at the first gas station. Then by the time you get to the next gas station you have to pee. That way I don’t have to pee next to cars along the road.

Entering Crestview.

Crestview had a really cute downtown area with lots of murals. It was a nice time walking along the sidewalk through town.

One of the murals in downtown Crestview.

Another mural on the street in Crestview.

By 10:30am we were passing through the downtown Main Street in Crestview. Our eyes were set on a Starbucks. Beer Run has been talking about Frappuccino’s for days now. But when we got there the location was closed for construction! What a bummer. We walked a bit further and wound up going into Chick-fil-A. I can’t remember the last time that I ate there.

Chick-fil-A for lunch!

I got a spicy deluxe meal and a frozen coffee drink. We were able to charge our stuff inside and sit for a while. Then we continued along the road.

An actual water that I bought today.

Within the next hour we went by the final gas station of the day. I got more uncrustables there and then we kept on going. And not long after that we finally got off of the road and were back in the woods. It felt so good to be back. My right foot immediately felt a whole lot better. The pain took a really positive turn after our zero day in Navarre. When we tagged the FT northern terminus my foot was killing. But it’s felt better ever since.

A crystal clear swamp along the trail.

Time flew by as we hiked through the forest. We were walking through the Eglin Air Force base and while we walked multiple bombs got dropped. You could hear and feel the bomb go down in the distance. It was clearly far away but still wild.

Around 3:30pm we stopped off so that Beer Run could dry his stuff out. He’s been cowboy camping every night and wakes up soaked from the humidity. I set up my tent every night so at least that’s the only thing that I have to dry out. The rest of my gear stays dry every night. We enjoyed a long break while Beer Run dried everything out. Then around 4pm we got moving again.

A wooden bridge on trail. So far there have been plenty of bridges and walk ways to keep your feet totally dry.

We decided to walk into the dark tonight to make more miles. Because we stopped off so many times today we hadn’t made it as far yet as we needed to. However, once the sun sets in the forest in Florida it gets a little spooky! You always have to be looking out so you don’t walk into a giant spider web. The spiders down here are nuts. I’ve seen some banana spiders and a few other large spiders as well. At night it’s much easier to walk into a web.

On top of that there are all kinds of other animals out there. Our most recent concern has been hogs. Tonight while we walked, we heard a bunch of hogs just off the trail. But because it was dark, we couldn’t see them. I’m not incredibly worried about them but they can be dangerous. I’ve heard that whichever direction they are facing when you scare them is the direction they run. So I’m trying not to scare them at me.

We managed to get by that group of hogs with no issue. But damn was it a little concerning for a second. I usually have no issue night hiking. However it’s definitely a whole new world down here. Nothing is going to stop us though.

Around 7pm we found a nice flat place where we could set up camp. We had made it quite far at this point and I was feeling good about it. Now we’ll be able to walk right to a Waffle House for breakfast tomorrow. You gotta love that. Once we stopped I set up camp and then got on my tent. I did my stretching and was pleasantly surprised how good my foot felt. Today was much better over all. I’m very happy about that. Then I called it a night.

Day 266: 26 miles

This morning we got up bright and early. The idea of Waffle House for breakfast was our motivator. Once we got up and moving we had to walk briefly through the woods. Then got onto a main road and walked a mile or two to the Waffle House. After we eat we’ll be able to road walk right out of town and back to the trail.

The site that we camped at last night.

At Waffle House I got a massive spread of food. One of the waitresses chatted us up about our journey. She actually wound up paying for most of the bill too which is so ridiculously nice of her. When we finished up eating we got back on the road. Then followed it until it caught back up with the trail.

Smiling in the Waffle House bathroom.

Today I got a pumpkin spice waffle and devoured it before I could even take a picture.

After walking for a couple hours I caught up to Beer Run. He was hanging out on the side of the road taking a break. Apparently a dog had ran out at him and he was super close to dog macing it. Thankfully it didn’t come to that and the owner eventually recalled the dog.

An archway next to trail that said “Don’t do drugs”.

We hung out there for a while and then continued along. I got in the zone listening to some podcast. The time was really flying by and I was feeling good. My foot has felt so much better the last day or so. Plus my calf/knee that I injured months ago has been feeling fantastic as well.

Rad dads pizza. An incredible name for a pizza place in my opinion.

Basically since coming down to Alabama it has felt totally better. I’m continuing to compression wrap as a precaution but that’s hopeful. Walking is so easy if all you have to do is walk! It’s exhausting walking every day in pain. I pushed through pretty constant pain for the last 2 months. I’m happy to actually feel good again.

A tiny toy dinosaur that I found on the road.

After walking along for another couple hours, I came to a gas station. Beer Run wasn’t there when I stopped off which was surprising. He had been in front of me. So I turned my phone off of airplane mode and saw he had texted. Apparently, he had pulled off along the side of the road to dry out his gear. I had walked right past him and didn’t even realize!

I wound up grabbing a drink inside the gas station. Then I laid out in the grass to dry my tent out as well. Beer Run would come and catch up to me once his stuff was dry. It was so funny that with headphones in I walked right by him and didn’t even notice. I was in the zone though listening to a good podcast.

Eventually Beer Run caught up. We hung out that gas station until 2pm. Then continued along the road. It was only a couple miles to a Walmart in DeFuniak Springs that we were gonna go straight past. Then we could reconnect to the trail later on.

Inside the Walmart I got everything that I would need for today and tonight. Lately I’ve had such a thing for uncrustables! I got two boxes of them. Then we got Arby’s for a late lunch. I wasn’t super hungry but got a snack there. We were able to charge our devices there before we kept walking too.

Finally after a while we left town and got moving again. It was already getting late and we still had to walk another 5-6 miles along the road. We probably wouldn’t make it back to the actual trail tonight. That was nearly 10 miles away. But we could stop off for the night at a Baptist church that was right along our way.

The sun set and we continued to walk along the road. By 6pm we only had 2 miles to go to get to the Baptist church. I was feeling surprisingly good even after a decent length day. I think I could have kept going for a while longer. But there was no need tonight to hike so late.

The sun setting as we walked out of DeFuniak Springs.

When we got to the Baptist church it was nice and quiet. There was a big side yard well away from the road that was all grass and dirt. It was the perfect spot to make camp for the night. I got my tent set up and got situated. Then I called it a night.

The Baptist church that we stopped at for the night.

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Comments 8

  • Carole Hall : Nov 29th

    It’s exciting to read your posts because I haven’t seen any other hiker vlog about that part of the ECT. Thank you. 😀

    Reply
  • Randy"OPIE"Taylor : Nov 29th

    Been reading your blog for months.

    Forgot to catch up on it while I was home (Florala, AL – just south of Andalusia) for Thanksgiving.

    We were out 4x4ing in the Conecuh NF/Open Pond and I was pointing out all the ECT trail crossings to my friends the same day you were hiking through.

    So wild “ships passing in the night” and stuff.

    Reply
  • S HALL : Nov 29th

    Enjoying your blog – used to section hike the AT with the Appalachian Trail Club of Alabama. We maintained several sections of the Pinhoti. Fun to see descriptions of places we had been and sections we had worked on. Rooting for a successful conclusion for you!

    Reply
  • Louis Hickman : Nov 29th

    Greetings. I look forward to following you . I live just sourh of Ocala. 1 mile off the west corridor at hwy 441. A lot of hogs around here. Bears are moving around. I hope beer run doesnt cowboy camp down this way. Gators, coyotes here and big snakes a little further south. Best wishes.

    Reply
  • thetentman : Nov 29th

    Dry, flat, and a Waffle House. Are you in Heaven?

    Cheers!

    Reply
  • Skirted Walker : Nov 30th

    Another rich content blog. You may encounter feral hogs anywhere in the US. Waffle House may be a good reference for the FT. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Kurt : Dec 1st

      Just curious. Never seem to see any comment. How many people do you run in to on the trail. Not the cities of course, just the trail parts. Just curious.

      Reply
  • Warren & Diane : Dec 2nd

    We are following you on this trek page and on Monday we should be following you on the trail. So keep posting about your day(s), we can use the heads about places to camp and place to eat. We don’t blog, but we do have a place on the web. 2mph.net

    Reply

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