Florida’s Drought Ended Just For Me
ECT Day 263&264
Day 263: zero day
This morning we slept in at the hotel and then went to the continental breakfast. The holiday inn express hotels have the best continental breakfasts, hands down. While we ate, we decided what to do today. The weather is looking pretty rough so it would be the perfect day to zero. But it’s a bit too expensive to take the day in Pensacola.
We wound up deciding to head back over to Navarre where Animal lives. There are cheaper hotels near there for us to zero at. Animal said he could bring us over there and then come back tomorrow to bring us back to trail. That was so incredibly nice of him. We really couldn’t have pulled off such a plan without him.
Over the last 12 days we have walked 302 miles. That’s pretty solid! So we are definitely due for a day off. It’s hard to think that we have already made it so far. It feels like just yesterday that I finished up in Canada and flipped back down. Time sure does fly while you’re hiking every day. As of today, I only have about 1200 miles remaining of the ECT. It’s going to be a big day when I finally get below 1000 miles and into the triple digits. When I finished the AT at Katahdin, I still had 3000 miles to go. It will be hard to wrap my head around being so close to being done.
At 11am we checked out of the hotel and Animal came to pick us up. He drove us over to Navarre and we stopped to get lunch. We went to a seafood place, and I got fish and chips and hush puppies. Everything was great. Then the three of us just sat there talking for a while. It’s always fun chatting with other hikers. There’s always something to talk about.
After we ate, we headed over to a Days Inn to check into a room. It was only like $60 which is a sweet deal. So far, the motels have been pretty reasonable down in Florida. Once we got into the room, we both dropped our packs and vegged out. I laid in bed and wrote for a long time. My foot is definitely feeling better today. I’m glad though that I’m able to rest it all day today.
Later on in the evening we went over to the store. I got some random things that I needed and resupplied lightly. At the grocery store I found these 2 crocheted worms. They had a card with them that said “worry worms for a stranger”. So I kept one and gave one to Beer Run. They were adorable. Then I grabbed a frozen lasagna to microwave for dinner. I ate that in bed and chilled out for the rest of the night.
Day 264: 16 miles
This morning we slept in super late at the room. That is the best feeling in the world! The weather was still pretty crummy, so we weren’t in any rush to get going. Eventually I packed up and then walked over to McDonald’s to grab breakfast. Then I came back and laid in bed as I ate.
Around 10:40am Animal came to pick us up and bring us back to the trail. He drove us all the way to the Eastern part of the trail. That’s where the Blackwater connector ends and the Florida trail picks up. This time when we get back on trail, we will head east rather than west like we have been the last couple of days.
By about noon we were on trail and walking once more. The trail followed along dirt roads for most of the earlier part of the day. Then eventually it cut back into the woods. My foot definitely felt a whole lot better today which was quite hopeful.
The trail continued on for miles and felt great. Then after a while we were back on the road once more. We wound up walking until about 3-4pm when we came past a gas station. Then stopped off there to grab a bite to eat. It was raining lightly at the time as well. So it was a perfect excuse to get out of the rain and rest.
I got chicken fingers, potato wedges, and a soda. Then we sat there for a while eating and hanging out. By the time that we were getting ready to leave it had gotten dark. We still had to road walk for at least another hour or so before we would find anywhere suitable to camp.
After leaving the gas station we walked for another hour and change. Then we came upon a thick forested area and decided to take a look around. We were just off the road, but the trees gave plenty of protection from view. In the end we wandered about 30 feet or so into the woods and found a spot. It was covered in pine needles which seemed like it would be comfortable. Though there was a rough slant. But it was late and our options were limited. It’s tough finding a spot that doesn’t seem like it’s actually someone’s private property.
I managed to find a decently flat spot and got set up for the night. Not long after I got into my tent it began to rain lightly. Then it wound up raining for most of the night.
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