Walking Across 15 States and 5 Provinces
ECT day 257&258
Day 257: 23 miles
This morning we were up pretty early at the motel room. I walked over to the continental breakfast and grabbed a couple things. But it was a small spread. Then we packed up and got ready to hike out.
On our way out of town we stopped at the Piggly Wiggly to resupply. I got so many random things. Lately I’ve been obsessed with rice pudding. Especially the brands you can find down south. That stuff is so good. We began road walking after that and I brought along a giant thing of chocolate milk and my rice pudding. What a great breakfast.
The route we were on brought us through town for miles. Which gave me plenty of opportunity to throw out the trash that I created from everything I was eating. While we were walking we eventually left town and there weren’t any more stores. At one point we were supposed to turn off the road and head back into the woods. We missed the turn off and didn’t realize.
Because of that we wound up road walking a bit further until we could reconnect to the trail. The road brought us by another gas station after a couple of hours though. Then we could grab one last bite to eat before we were in the woods once more.
At the gas station we sat on the curb and ate pizza. A donkey was fenced in right next door and was very interested in us. He made so much notice to get our attention.
After sitting there for a little while we kept moving. It was quite hot out and I used my sun umbrella as we walked the road. Then eventually we cut back onto the trail and were on a much shadier back road. The timing couldn’t have been better. It was the hottest part of the day.
It wasn’t long before we were in the woods once more. It felt so good to have dirt and pine beneath my feet. The road is so incredibly hard on your feet and body. I was so happy to be weaving along the trail through a pine forest. We’re getting close to the end of the Alabama Road Walk now! Soon we will be on one of the connector trails heading for the Florida trail.
While we walked the sun set. Then we began looking for a place to set up camp. It felt so late already but was actually surprisingly early. We wound up stopping around 5:30pm at a nice flat site. Neither of us really realized at the time how early it was. Once we were set up and I was laying in my tent I noticed it was just after 6pm. I can’t remember the last time I had such an early day. But it felt good. We’ll get a great nights sleep and have an earlier start tomorrow.
Day 258: 31 miles
This morning I woke up feeling amazing. Last night I got over 12 hours of sleep. My body felt a lot better over all as well. We were packed up and walking before 6:30am.
Over the course of the first few hours of the day I really needed some water. I had a bit left but not enough to drink to my hearts content. But we weren’t going by any sources and everything that was marked was dry. Eventually though we came to a creek crossing and stopped off. We had to trudge down an embankment to access the water. But I was quite thirsty so it was a worthy cause. We sat there afterwards for a little while. Then kept on going.
The path we were walking was a mixture of trail and dirt road. Anything was better than pavement though. When I first started road walking on the International Appalachian Trail I thought I loved it. It is such a wonderful contrast to climbing mountains. You immediately assume it’s “easier” than elevation gain. But I find it much easier to do big miles on trail than road. Road crushes your body. It hurts in ways that are hard to explain. The pain doesn’t necessarily go away, you just get better at tolerating it with time. That’s my experience at least.
After a while we left that spot and walked for another couple of hours. Then we stopped off once again for a quick break. Beer Run cooked something on his stove and I snacked. I definitely seriously under-packed food for this stretch. I’m so used to the frequent resupply options that I’ve gotten too comfortable. So I will be taking it easy with the eating so that I have plenty of food to get me to our next stop. We’ll be able to get to a store of some sort tomorrow hopefully.
Once we finished up eating and enjoying our break there we kept going. The back roads were nice and shady which was really great. The last few days it’s been incredibly hot here. Even just being in the 70s is brutal with the humidity down here. But with the bit of shade we got today it wasn’t too bad even around 2pm. Lately the worst heat has been 11am-2pm.
In the afternoon we officially crossed out of Alabama and into Florida! The blazes have now changed from from yellow to blue. We are officially on the black water connector trail headed to the florida trail. I’ve now hiked through 15 states and 5 provinces. Only one more state remains!
The rest of the day was absolutely beautiful. The trail was so enjoyable to walk along. It was sandy but easy enough to walk. And we went through pine forests all day long. That’s some of my favorite terrain, except for mountains of course. Later on in the evening I got to watch a fantastic sunset. I’ve been told that the sunsets are special down here in Florida. I saw that myself when I was living and doing work too stay in Florida back in 2021.
After watching an incredible sunset we continued walking past dark. Then passed by a nice managed campsite just after dark. There were lots of RVs, vans, and tents set up there. It was a bit busy so we decided to walk another mile or so to another campground. That was a bit less busy and we were able to find a spot to set up for the night. We both set up our tents/tarps and got comfortable. There was a bath house there so I go to wash up. That’s always such a treat. Then I called it a night. It began to rain around midnight, but that always just helps me sleep.
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