What can I say about today...Holy Cow!!! I have hiked mountains and lots of trails but the first day of the Florida Trails is a BEAST. Imagine hiking 8 miles in knee deep water over sharp limestone, through clay mud that sucks at your feet...and a beating sun for 7 hours and you would have a good idea about the trail today!!
It sounds bad...and it was but you have to take the good with the bad. I saw beautiful plains with saw grass and cypress tress. I felt cool water on my feet and saw foliage which I had never seen before. I felt the accomplishment of finishing a hard days hike and the sweetness of my sleeping back as I lay in it now.
We are hiking with some amazing people so far and I am sure in the future they will make a difference in my experience on the trail.
A hiker named Max joined us. He was very humble about his journey hiking, he echoed my sore legs and made it so funny.
I will try to write more things on that matter but I am beat and ready for bed :)
Well today was another great day. We started from the Oasis Visitor Center where we ended yesterday. It has been a much dryer day today than it was yesterday. We were anticipating water and mud like yesterday but had all dry trails.It was like I expected the Florida Trail to look like.
It was a great day with great people. Natalie is doing great. She is so positive. She works hard and pushes through things. I am thankful to have her with me.
We got to 10 Mile Camp today at 2pm because It was so dry and had a great time talking and laughing. There are a bunch of older guys who have hiked a lot.
We were joined by Zipp Off, Bushwaker, Sparkey, and Needles.
You know I love how interesting all the hikers are. all come out for different reasons and stay for different reasons as well.
I am thankful for all the people I have met on the trail so far. It has only been 2 days and it's already changing me.
The past two days have been something else. It has been a heck of a lot of water. It has been hour after hour of mud and knee deep water. It was like walking on the sand that i right on the water shore while you feet are getting sucked in and fighting for the mud to release you but :) it was the hardest hiking I have ever done and it was also the hardest any8 of the other hikers have done and they have also hiked long distances. It was funny. After mile 8 yesterday on route and mile after mile of water and mud Natalie and I and the rest of the hikers were taking one step at a time. I was trying to be positive the whole way because Natalie was having a hard time trying to get to camp but it was hard. There was little better than seeing the Old Oak Camp Ground. It was a great revisit to the lesson I learned on the Appellation Trail which was that no matter how hard a hike is that it will not last forever. "This to shall pass" echoed through my ears and helped me make it. I am so thankful for this experience It is a good thing to see what you are really made of. I felt each time I pushed past "my wall" that my character grew. What I knew I could do grew everyday.
Now we finished where the trail crests, the I74 rest stop. It was a welcomed site. It was little more than wonderful to get a cold Diet Dr. Pepper and some combos...It was as tasty as a $100 meal.
As our friends showed up from the trail we cheered them in. A hiker "Max" - Phil is ex-military and he has been trudging through having a bit of a problem but he made it. It inspires me when I see people who are not just sore but really struggling to be thankful I can move forward.
It is a magical thing to be out here, challenging yourself, meeting people who are doing the same and just figuring things out. My mind is more clear because life is so simplified. I am getting answers to a ot of questions I had been pondering on.
Thank you for the prayers and love.