Miles Today: 27
Trash: 28.4 lb
Trash Today: .3 lb
I woke up under a massive tree in Hollie and Doug’s yard, and for the first time on the trip, I had no condensation in my tarp tent. It was a sign of good things to come.
Hollie and Doug made us coffee, sandwiches, and seriously wanted to take the day off of work to come hike the final day with us. And, that’s exactly what they did!
We told them that the next 18 miles were going to be a roadwalk, but we would meet them when it got fun later (ON THE BEACH!). Also, they sealed the deal by offering to bring us pizza. Yes, please.
I did the 18 mile roadwalk with no break, I’m pretty sure that’s the longest stretch I have gone all trail without sitting down. By the time I passed the Burger King before the beach, I needed to stop and eat veggie burger(s). I hadn’t heard anything about Holly or Doug, so I ordered 2 veggie burgers, fries, a soda, and a sundae. I ate most of it when I got a text that they were across the street, with pizza!
Katie filmed me crossing the 1 mile bridge on to the large barrier island of beach. It got pretty high up, and I was screaming the whole time – I’m sure Katie wonders all the time why she chose me to follow…
I screeched and ran back to my backpack, and put on all my warm layers. Poor Katie, I looked like a drown rat. It could have been a cool shot, in theory. In reality, I had purple lips for the rest of the day. Worth it!
I was happy to have Katie and Doug walking with us, because I think it might have gotten actually sad if it was just Cyrilia and Lint and I. It truly felt like the trip was coming to a spectacular end. I didn’t really have words to express my emotions, and luckily we didn’t have to.
We said goodbye to Doug and Hollie for the final time, and Katie went up ahead to plan for her next spot. Cyrilia and Lint and I goofed off as usual- Cyrilia and I making fun of Lint for being old, Lint and Cyrilia calling me a “trash witch”, and all of us collecting interesting pieces of beach trash to put in my side dump pocket. It felt like a strangely beautiful ending to such a challenging trip.
We made it to the parking lot where Justa and Lint’s van is, and where Katie is parked. For the first time on the FT, I am cowboy camping! I am using Katie’s car as a wind block, so it’s not as glamorous as I would love, but whatever.
Tomorrow we will wake up and have roughly 19 miles to finish. Then we will all go our separate ways, which is the nature of a thru hike. You make friends under a weird and intimate circumstance, and then you say goodbye.
I still miss my PCT friends everyday. One of my top goals for 2017 is a reunion little backpacking trip. Hold me to it!
Miles Today: 29
Trash Total: 28.1 lb
Trash Today: .3 lb
I physically couldn’t wake up today, because I slept on the floor in a room that had black out curtains! I awoke to a couple texts from Lint, asking if we were ready to “crush the miles” – nope, sorrrrrrry!
We hung out with Sean for a bit this morning while we finished up laundry and generally sat around in his kitchen.
Thanks Sean! Thanks Kelly! We appreciate you!
We got back to the hiking around 8 am, pretty sure that we weren’t going to do any miles. During the rest of the roadwalk, I distracted myself by listening to music and collecting trash lighters that I found on the side of the road. One time I looked up from my studies and saw Lint lunge at an angry dog. Crazy boy!
We walked through the town of Holt, and stopped to get snacks at the brand new Dollar General. This trail could be renamed the “Dollar Store Trail”, because I think you could exclusively resupply on DG the whole way and make it work.
When we were sitting in front of DG, while getting trashy, Lint ate an entire container of cookies. Impressive. Gross. Then he got a text from Justa, saying that she was hanging with “One Gallon”, and keeping him company until we could hike the 4 miles to catch up to him.
We have been gaining on One Gallon for days now. We track him through his shoe prints and his entries in trail registers. Why are we so obsessed with One Gallon?? He is one of the three triple triple crowners in the world! Lint is one of the other ones! That’s right weirdos, there are TWO triple triples on the FT this winter! What an honor to hang with both at the same time!
So we are booking it for the final 4 miles, and rushing down the roads. All morning we were battling dogs, and this small roadwalk was no exception. Lint was talking a big game about how he was going to bash the next dog he saw, when we all looked to the right and said a simultaneous “oh. My. God.”
There had to be 8-10 big dogs barreling down a long driveway at us! The gate was wide open. They were all chows! This stupid chow breeder house had left their gate open for all their precious dogs to get run over! Stupid business plan if you ask me… The chows came into the road and barked, but none decided to chase us. Still, it was hilarious though.
We turned off onto the weirdest, creepiest, hill billiest road that I have ever seen. (Bold statement on the FT, and probably not true…). A creepo redneck tried to impress Cyrilia and I with how loud he could rev his truck. Sexy. We turned a corner, and an extremely tall and thin red neck was standing at the edge of the road, and it seemed like he was waiting for us. As we got closer, I could make out his tall staff/stick, which was taller than him. I tried to hold on to Cyrilia or Lint, but they wouldn’t have any of it. We tried to keep our cool as we walked past him, but it was toooooo weird not to gawk. He was wearing cowboy boots, basketball shorts, a T-shirt, and either had the worlds greasiest hair or had just jumped in the river. Who knows. He told us he lost his puppy. Ummm… sir, I don’t think you ever had a puppy.
We met up with Justa and One Gallon! OG is continuing his trip up to Alabama and along the Appalachian trail. About 3,800 more miles to go! But that means that when the trail split in 7 miles, he was to head north to Alabama, and we were to go south to Pensacola. 7 miles with One Gallon! He is funny. He’s got a great sense of humor for a guy that spends a majority of his life hiking solo.
While Justa and Katie hung out in the gas station parking lot, waiting on us, they met a super awesome couple that wanted to check out Justa’s transit van set-up. They got to talking, and they invited all of us to camp at their house! They have 2 acres, about a half mile from the trail. After Cyrilia and Lint demolished a bunch of gas station hot dogs (and they call me trash!) we headed over.
Holly and Doug had made a fire outside for us! It felt so weird but good to hang by a fire with real people. I hope they enter vanlife and/or hike life soon, they are totally ready!
Miles Today: offtrail miles most of the day.
Trash Total: 27.8 lb
Trash Today: .2 lb
Today wasn’t so bad. Because of the roadwalk, we were able to eat breakfast at a diner!
When we arrived to it, I made some snarky comments to Lint about whether or not it was even going to have flushing toilets. Lily’s Cafe kind of looked gross from the outside. BUT! It wasn’t! On the inside, the walls were filled to the brim with suburban mom decorations, like wooden signs that said stuff like “live, laugh, love”. There were three types of scented hand soaps in the clean bathroom. Also, they had super fast wifi. It felt like I was in someone’s home!
I ate a really good breakfast burrito. We drank too much coffee, charged our phones, downloaded allllll the podcasts, and mentally prepared ourselves for the day of roadwalking.
The rest of the roadwalk was uneventful, until we arrived at a bridge entering Crestview. There was NO shoulder on the bridge. When we got closer to look at it, we saw there was a sliver of space where one could squeeze their body and walk. FINALLY! I had found my sport on the FT. Cyrilia’s legs are much shorter than mine, so her hips were kind of in the way on both sides. Lint’s mondo thighs were rubbing along both sides of the crack, and he was sandpapering all the skin off his legs. I, on the other hand, with my tall skinny bird legs, was able to perfectly run through the crack!
Because we were entering the metro area of Crestview, we weren’t sure if we could stealthfully camp tonight. I messaged Jupiter about any Crestview connections, and he had one! We got put in contact with a trail angel couple, Kelly & Sean.
We met up with them at sundown, and drove over to their house. Kelly brought FOUR PIZZAS for us! The first part of hanging out consisted mostly of us ravenously eating as much pizza as we could stuff in our faces. For the remainder of the night, Sean and Lint geeked out hard on ultralight gear. It was really funny to watch Sean pull out his scale and weigh and compare his gear vs. Lint’s gear.
Kelly and Sean plan to thru hike the Florida Trail soon, maybe even next year! It was nice to talk to people that were so passionate about the trail. It made me grateful that I got the window of time open to hike the trail this winter. Sean told us about a new section of trail that will eliminate tomorrow’s road walk, and it’s not within the boundaries of the Eglin Airforce base! TOMORROW IS SAVED!
Sean let Cyrilia and I stay in the extra bedroom, and we didn’t get to bed until wayyyy after hiker midnight because of all of our FT stories we kept sharing.
Thanks Kelly & Sean! Hope to see you on the trail!
Mile: Rerouted, so who knows…
Miles Today: lost count, not a lot…
Trash Total: 27.6 lb
Trash Today: .2 lb
I hate myself for ever typing the words yesterday about having a “simple” day. I jinxed myself. The Florida Trail has cursed us once again with her will to destroy good moods.
Let’s start with last night. Right after I finished my blog about my super boring day, I took my contacts out. I became defenseless again. Almost immediately, I heard Cyrilia pipe up “There’s a car coming! It’s coming closer!”. We were camped at a trail head (not necessarily a great spot to camp, but we leave no trace and leave early so…?). I popped my eyes back in, and I told Cyrilia that I would “charm” them. Lint was in his van, and probably didn’t want anyone knowing that there were people in it.
The lights came closer, and it was another ATV, not a car! I waved at the man, and probably scared him. He was super nice, and had 2 dogs with him. They were nice too. He told me that he takes his dogs for a walk in the exact area we were camping every night! He lets his dogs run around for a couple minutes, and then ATVs home. Hooray for a nice interaction with an ATV! And dogs too!
I went back to sleep, and when I woke up the sky was doing weeeeeeird stuff. Cloud formations I had never seen before! We all sat around for way too long, and procrastinated starting our hike. So we drank some more coffee, and some more coffee. Looked at the weird sky some more…
The next 9 miles were so much fun! We were prepared for it to be swampy (probably why we didn’t want to start hiking 😆), but it was pretty dry! We followed a clear creek the whole time. Lint and Cyrilia jumped in!
Well. That’s not how the Florida Trail works. And that’s also not how Eglin Airforce Base works. The permit process switched this year, and its confusing. We tried to call the past 2 days, but it was the weekend.
So we finally did all our research, and realized that we had a real situation on our hands. The base is broken up into super fine “compartments” or sections, and each section has its own status. It can be open, closed, permanently closed… this upcoming week, all of our sections we need to walk through are CLOSED. CLOSED FOR BOMBING MISSIONS. Not like, “hey, please don’t come in here without your permit or we will kick you out”, but like “walk through here and you might get blown up” kind of closed. NOOOOOOOOO OUR TIMING IS TERRIBLE.
The woman on the phone thought I was an idiot, which I kind of am. We really didn’t do any research before hand. Also, I hadn’t looked at the Florida Trail Association map set (Lint had them in the van), and they were super useful.
It was incredibly frustrating to talk to rhe airforce lady. She would only refer to sections based upon the roads surrounding them, while I only had the concept of the section numbers, and their maps online didn’t have roads labelled. It was like we were speaking different languages. The several sets of different maps finally started coming together, and it looked like there was just not a good way to make it through the base.
She told me that this week, several other bases are arriving for the mission, so it’s extra big. Extra big = extra closures!
We were looking at our options, wasting all our daylight, and then a sheriff came by and kindly told us to move the van. Also, he didn’t like that Lint referred to the base as Elgin, and that just made all of us more annoyed and frustrated.
We decided to walk a stupid amount of distance up and over the closure. ALL. ROAD. WALKS.
We started walking, all of us pissed off and fuming mad at our situation. The road was under construction, so we tried to walk in the weeds. They ripped us up with thorns, and we decided we had to walk through the construction. Couldn’t go left into Eglin, couldn’t go right into construction. Ugh.
We were happy again! We laughed at all the construction workers who weren’t working, they were all just staring at their phones. When we came up on one man in his digger machine, he started scooping rocks from his pile, and then put them back on top of his pile! Stay busy man!
We went to McDonalds, Walmart, Arby’s…. the walk of shame. Our stomachs sure felt it.
We found a slight shortcut, and are stealth camping in some creepy woods. I’m so happy to have trail friends to do this with.
I just did the math, and with the road reroute, we have EXACTLY 100 miles to go.
Miles Today: 31
Trash Total: 24.7 lb
Trash Today: 0 lb
On the Florida Trail, and uneventful day is a good day. Right?
We met up with Justa and the van for lunch. She was parked below an overpass, by a boat launch. As Cyrilia turned in towards it, a slow beat up truck drove past her. I yelled at Cyrilia that the man wanted to eat her. Then I hoped his windows were not down…
We drank Dr. Pepper and watched the weird old truck man get out and walk around the underpass. Ummmm, what are you doing? He had a trash claw! The old man was picking up trash! Awww, then I kind of felt worse for joking about him being a cannibal. He came near us, and told us he was a can collector. Oooooooh. He was using his trash claw to pick up cans!
After he left, we stomped our Dr. Pepper cans and I littered them! Enjoy can-man!
In other litter news, I didn’t really find any today! I may have picked up a clif bar wrapper or two, but nothing that was picked up on the scale. We walked through a new section of trail today. So brand new, only the three thru-hikers ahead of us had prints in the sand. No trash! Pristine!
I really enjoyed the new section. It felt deserty, and I liked picking out the shoe patterns. Someone ahead is wearing Brooks Cascadias, and it made me feel like I was on the PCT again! Ahhhh, the good old days of following Cascadia footprints.
Miles Today: 27 & an 8 mile hitch
Trash Total: 24.7 lb
Trash Today: .4 lb
I want to start out by saying that while Cyrilia and I are roughing it every night camping near Lint’s van, he is in the safety of his metal box WATCHING TV and getting pampered. Recently, he has started watching the first season of True Detective. If you are unaware why that is a TERRIBLE idea while hiking the FT, then go watch a trailer for it. We are basically living it. Kind of?
At 4:20am this morning, I was started awake by the revving of an ATV, and it’s lights flashing into my tent. Oh. no.
When I don’t have my contacts in, I am blind and completely useless. Now you know my weakness…
I was completely caught off guard. I didn’t know what to do and I yelled for Cyrilia over and over, and confused the heck out of her because I Just kept saying “I’m bind! I’m blind!” Meanwhile, the ATV is trying to get out to the road but it is completely blocked by my tent, then Cyrilia’s tent, and then the van. The bushes and brush are too thick to drive around. The ATV kept revving, and started to turn around. At this point, Lint and Justa were awake. The ATV turned around and tried a different route. We could hear it and see it’s lights in the distance, and we were all a bit worried.
I put my contacts in, and then could see the ATV coming back. It eventually rerouted and fought its way to the road on a different path, and then was driving down the road.
We all unanimously agreed to pack up and get outta there! Our cover had been blown. We were scared that we had pissed off a methhead, and that he might come back with more people. Honestly, I don’t know if we were trespassing. I don’t know if it was someone’s long decaying driveway, or who was on the ATV at 4am. But none of us wanted to roadwalk and find out. Lint especially, because he spooked himself with True Detective!
We piled in the van and drove as close as the dirt roads would get us to the trailhead. It ended up being 8 miles, but we felt safe there. We all needed to chill out a bit, because it was a very stressful way to wake up! We watched the sun rise while I ate a million mega stuffed Oreos, and we made coffee.
The next section was suuuuper strange. Unlike anything I have experienced on the FT yet! There were rolling hills of desert. It felt like I was on the PCT, and for the first time in forever, I found myself really imagining and experiencing my PCT desert memories.
Tonight we are stealth camping on the side of the road (again), and as I typed this blog, a truck drove near us. We thought we were in an amazing spot! He must work for the land management or something, but he was remarkably casual about letting us camp here. Hooray! It’s definitly public land!