Windy Weather Walking to Key West

ECT Day 319

Day 319: 26 miles 

This morning we packed up fairly early at Bud and Mary’s marina. The room was really cute last night, and it reminded me of some of the places that we stayed in Canada. Once we were both up and ready, we headed out to begin road walking again.

A bunch of boats in the marina this morning.

When we left the room, we both immediately realized it was really windy out. It seems like it’s going to be a pretty windy and overcast day today. We haven’t been getting the best weather for going through the keys. I’m kind of happy though that it’s not sweltering hot while I’m down here. I can manage with a little bit of rain and some cloudy skies. I’ve seen the keys before when it’s beautiful and sunny. It’s just as beautiful and the water is just as crystal blue even when it’s overcast.

Bud an’ Mary’s.

It’s looking like today we have to hike a marathon to get to Marathon key. I thought that was pretty fitting. All morning long we were walking by the ocean. The road was going right past the water on the side that we were on. Every now and then the trees would open up and you’d have completely uninterrupted views of the crystal blue ocean.

That was a really beautiful way to start the day. The wind was a little rough, but I was hopeful that it would get better. When we had to cross over some of the extended bridges that was when the wind was the worst. I was honestly just worried that it was going to blow my hat away or something. After the first couple hours it was getting old. But it seems like the wind was getting a bit better as the day went on.

The beautiful clear ocean just off the road th is morning.

Only three days of hiking remain along the eastern continental trail. And today is one of them! I’m trying to stay present and be as self aware as possible about the end of this journey. It’s tough because I just wanna hike and treat it like any other day on trail. But at the same time, I’m so well aware of the fact that I’m going to blink my eyes, and this whole thing will be over. There were so many times in the last 10 months that I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the end. The amount of distance up ahead of me was so daunting. It was hard to even imagine.

The sun coming up over the ocean this morning.

When I summited Mount Katahdin, I still had over 3,000 miles left to hike for the year. And I had already hiked 2,600 miles at that point. Now here I am. I’ve almost walked those whole 3,000 miles since then. I’m closing in at 5,500 miles total walked in the last 10 months. Now there’s no doubt left that I’ll be finishing this thing.

Sometime after 9:00 a.m., we stopped off at a gas station to get some drinks. I got a Dunkin coffee drink and an Arizona iced tea to pack out. The gas station that we went to actually had some really nice-looking Colombian food, so I wound up getting a beef empanada and some pan de bono. We sat outside at a picnic table to eat. The wind was whipping so intensely it was hard to keep everything on the table.

Crocodile warning sign.

When we left that gas station we got to go up and over another long and windy bridge. So far, the bridges really haven’t been more than two miles or so long. I know that in the days to come we’re going to be doing some bridges that take literally two to three hours to walk across. The cars on the bridges haven’t bothered me a bit. So far, the worst part is how windy it could potentially be while you cross the bridges.  

While we walked today, tons of people waved and cars honked at us. I realize that the majority of the people are just more so curious about what we’re doing. But I like to pretend that every single person who honks and waves knows exactly what we’re doing and is rooting us on. I know that sounds silly, but it makes me happy to think like that.

Trucker up ahead on one of the walking bridges.

Not long after the gas station we were walking along the left side of the road. I like to be able to see the oncoming traffic while I walk. I noticed a guy at a parking area across the street get out of his car and wave at us. I didn’t recognize him at first, but it was clear that he wanted to come over and talk to us. He ran across the street and once he got closer, I realized it was Sir-Enity. I had met him and his two sons at the Florida Trail kickoff.

Walking along a bike path today.

I loved him and his sons. Sir-Enity hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 1995. If you know me, you know that I think anyone who was thru hiking in the 90s is a complete badass. There’s so much ease to thru-hiking now it’s unbelievable. But if you were hiking in the 90s, you are a true legend. I also thought it was so cool that he got his kids into backpacking young. He had already hiked a longtrail with one of his sons, and then was planning to hike the Florida trail with another son.

Cute baby turtle statues on someone’s property.

I totally forgot that he mentioned that he and his son are doing some work down here in the keys. I guess he drove by us earlier and noticed us. Now on his way back he couldn’t resist stopping off to say hello. It was so cool to see him again. Especially because meeting him and his sons really stuck with me. The three of them are such a cool family. I’m always so envious of people who thru-hike with their family, whether that be a sibling, parent, child, or spouse.

We talked to him pretty briefly alongside the road. It was really cool to see him again. Then he got in his car and headed off and we continued walking along the road. We went on for another few hours of busy boring road after that. Going up and over some of the bridges, we got really beautiful ocean views. I spent a lot of the day fighting to keep my hat on my head and my headphones from blowing out of my ears.

Only 70 miles from the end!

Around noon we were walking through a small town again. Some of the stretches and the keys don’t really have any place to stop off. Other sections have basically endless gas stations and places for us to stop. I think pretty much from here until the end we’re going to have great options for stopping off periodically.

69 mile sign.

We stopped off at a gas station and I got my second 32-ounce Arizona iced tea of the day. Today my veins are literally coursing with juice and tea. I don’t know why I didn’t get any food there. I was pretty hungry at the time and honestly can’t stand to look at anything inside my food bag recently.

Everyone keeps telling me that when I go home, I’m going to have to be so careful about watching what I eat. This isn’t my first hike, so I realize that a lot of people go home and their eating habits are out of control. Luckily for me, the thought of eating most foods disgusts me at this point.

Smiling along one of the windy bridges.

We left there and walked for another hour or so. Even though we haven’t made it really far today, I was still feeling so tired. I don’t know if it was because we were fighting the wind all day. It was in our favor for part of the day, but it was a bit of a cross breeze. It wasn’t exactly helping or hurting us. I think I’m just tired honestly because we’re staying at hotels through the keys and sleep schedule is a little bit off. My body knows that I’m nearing the end of this journey too and is ready to be done.

A sailboat which washed ashore.

After walking for another couple hours, we went by a covered bench. I had to get my charging block out of my backpack, so we decided to use this as a perfect opportunity to take a break. I charged my phone and did my stretching. It just felt nice to sit there for a little while. I’m feeling pretty sleepy today. When we stopped off at a gas station earlier, I definitely contemplated getting some serious caffeine. But I wound up not getting any.

Getting some amazing ocean views as we crossed one of the bridges.

When we left our break spot I was feeling a lot better. I was singing along as I walked. Earlier in the day I got a ton of writing done. I’m basically all caught up again on the blogging, which is great. We continued along until around 4:30 p.m. Around that time we walked right past a restaurant. I didn’t think we were going to get to anything until we were further into Marathon. But there was a sign outside which said, “famous key lime pie,” so we had to go in. This would be my fifth slice of pie so far in the keys.

Only 61 miles to go!

I hadn’t really eaten all day, so while we were there, I decided to get some sweet potato fries. It was actually the biggest platter of sweet potato fries I’d ever seen in my life. Then once I was completely stuffed, they brought out this massive piece of pie. It had the thickest crust and was covered in homemade whipped cream. I think hands down that was the best piece of pie that I’ve had so far in the key. The place was called the S.S Wreck & Galley Grill. Everything about the piece of pie was just absolutely perfect. The crust was thick and buttery, the texture was perfect and creamy, and the filling was nice and tart.

The most ridiculous amount of sweet potato fries.

The best key lime pie that I’ve had yet in the keys.

Eating key lime pie while hiking!

Leaving there I was absolutely stuffed! And we still had to walk so much longer. I packed out the majority of the piece of Key lime pie to eat on the road. We continue along and got to walk on a path a little bit further off the road for a while. My body was really happy to just not be listening to the insanely loud traffic of the road the whole way. It wasn’t long after we got back to walking that I devoured the rest of my pie. There was something magical about walking along the overseas heritage trail while eating a piece of Key lime pie.

For the rest of the day after that I just walked and hammer out to music. I’ve also been obsessed with the mailboxes down here recently. A game I’ve been playing with myself is that I’m trying to find all of the different ocean themed mail boxes. So far I’ve taken pictures of a manatee, dolphin, Flamingo, sea turtle, a seahorse, a lady manatee which is somehow actually different, and a couple other ones. I realize this is actually the stupidest and most boring thing that a person could do. But there’s so many of them and they are so cute and silly. I thought it would be funny to get as many photos together of them as I can. Oh, the way that hikers entertain themselves.

In the next couple hours of walking, it got dark out. It seems like every single day recently we’ve been hiking well into the night. We got into Marathon, but the town was pretty spread out. We wound up walking until about 7:00 p.m. before we made it to our hotel. Once again, we really only did a marathon or so of hiking today. But because I’ve been sleeping in a little bit in the mornings, we’ve been having late nights. That’s kind of an impossible thing to avoid though.

My shadow we walked through Marathon tonight.

When we got into the room, I took a shower and got comfortable. Then I did something that I haven’t done in a long time. I pulled out the most recent update of my résumé and started to look at it. I have not updated my résumé since March 2020. That’s the last time that I worked in the service industry because everything shut down for so long due to Covid.

It’s looking like I’m really going to sign a lease in the next few days. There’s an apartment in a pretty busy city area that I could move into. One of the people who lives there is a hiker, which makes me really happy. So I started looking at restaurant jobs in the area and had to pull out my résumé.

It’s really wild to be thinking about things like this while I’m still on trail. Ordinarily, I would never do this and I always save all of my planning until after the fact. But my window of time between finishing this trail, flying home, and moving to the city is going to be tight. So I’m trying to stay motivated and productive.

I did some more of that nonsense and a bit of writing in bed. After that I wound up staying up pretty late and watching TV. Then eventually, I called it a night. I only have two more full days of hiking along the ECT! I know that tomorrow and the next day are going to fly by. If only you could live in a moment like this for forever.

Some of my bonus mailbox shots.

Some of my bonus mailbox shots.

Some of my bonus mailbox shots.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 16

  • thetentman : Jan 11th

    More pie while hiking. I am getting jealous.


  • Jeff : Jan 11th

    Congratulations! Two more days and I can finally take a break from reading The Trek. Sneaking into the bathroom for a break and reading your posts. Your post today reminded of Matt Green’s walk across America, he took photos of mailboxes along the way and had his Awesome Mailbox photos. So today your adventures took me to another walk. I vicariously followed you and hope two things for you.
    Wish one: Find your peace 🕊️ in completion on this job well done.
    Wish 2: get yourself to a tanning salon and fix that lower right leg!

    Bonus wish: dignapp Roxy and live happily after ever!!

    Best Wishes

    • Dianna Austin : Jan 15th

      Congratulations. I have enjoyed your writing. I walked a couple of miles away allof my adult life then I couldn’t anymore due to health factors. At 72 I have so looked forward to your sharing your journey and look forward to your next one. Tha ks.

  • Chris : Jan 11th

    I’m going to miss this adventure when you’re done. 🙁

  • Rick B : Jan 11th

    You’re going to have to watch your eating when you’re done or you’ll end up on the show my 600 pound life.

    • Nikki : Jan 15th

      Would you have made this comment to a man?

  • nikols : Jan 11th

    Been following you since New England, up thru Canada, not missing one post! I can’t believe it’s almost over, and I’m a little sad. You are one bad ass woman, and such an inspiration. I love that you and Trucker met up and are finishing together. You guys will have a special bond because of this hike. I’m looking forward to your new adventures, and will be keeping my eye out for it. Good luck in all you do, you are amazing! Thank you you for bringing your adventure for us readers to tag along, it’s been truly epic!

  • Gingerbreadman : Jan 11th

    Hope you have a mask & snorkel with you to jump off lands end & see what’s off the key. 40 years ago in the Navy our destroyer docked at Guantanamo Cuba. After feeding Doritos to the Iguanas, I went snorkeling off the beach to find a ghost town of white dead Coral heads. Everywhere ships dock is so polluted that Coral can’t exist; Pearl Harbor I suspect is the same. I had better luck in November following the tourist crowd down the Aussie coast in Spring. I was looking for a place to start “Aus-trail-ia” but the BNT was too long for a 6 month max Visa & it’s hard to get to Cape York by ship or tiny plane. I visited national parks & snorkeling spots @ every decent size town with a hostel. Almost died of dehydration a few times but finally started @ Brisbane to Melbourne thru some more national parks. If it rained the water would disappear in seconds. If I had it to do again I would do all the short trails in the country & call that a thru hike. Same if you extended the ECT to S. America by thru hiking all the Caribbean islands…..any takers on that extension???

  • Alan K : Jan 11th

    I started reading 4 or so blogs at the beginning of AT hiking season and your the only one I followed the entire time. What an amazing trip! I’m hoping to take one or both of my daughters on a thru hike between hs and college in a few years(if they want, they love day hikes at Mammoth Cave). You do a great job writing and with pics along the way. Congratulations on a fantastic adventure!

  • Allen Evans : Jan 11th


    — High Water

    • Chris : Jan 12th

      I just read your blog post about that. I was wondering if you two were going to meet up.

  • Nephi Polder : Jan 11th

    I haven’t followed every blog but I’ve been reading some since the beginning. I tried to find Bama on Google maps more than once before I figured it out. Thanks for letting us tag along on your journey.

  • Tritonal : Jan 11th

    I will genuinely miss reading this when you’re done. This came up on a news feed when you first started out, probably because I was looking up camping gear. I’ve read along the entire way. I don’t know you, nor you me, but it’s wild I got so invested in this trip. Congrats, and keep the adventures going!

  • Justin W Ayers : Jan 11th

    From Pinhoti to paradise. You deserve ALL the pie and an extra slice.
    For real congratulations. Wow. Amazing. I can’t lie and say I’m not jealous you’ll get to go across the seven mile bridge. I hope its during sunrise, you might just tear up. I have followed since you started and vicariously tagged along. Also, What a role model for all the young ladies out there! Keep it up. Thank you for sharing your adventures. A fellow traveler. -Kactus

  • Ben : Jan 15th

    That was our favorite key lime pie as well! I think that makes it unanimous.
    S.S. Wreck and Galley has the best!


What Do You Think?