Road walks are hot. The first four miles were among trees. The last eight miles were in the hot sun. I need a break.
Heading to the Reservation
I got up a little earlier than the other days so I could get into town before it got too hot. The downside to that is there is more dew on the ground earlier in the day.
The first 2 miles to get to the gate of the reservation were double track overgrown with grass. The grass can hold a lot of moisture. I was wearing dry shoes and socks because I did not trust my water shoes. Even though I knew they would get wet.
My rationale was to change into dry socks as soon as I got to a road without grass. And as soon as I entered the gate into the reservation that wish came true.
My feet were slightly damp but not really wet so I decided to hike on a little bit further before changing. The road progressively became more and more open with less shade. My umbrella came out by 8:30 in the morning.
Just before 10:00 I was already getting hot and tired. So when I passed by a very large oak tree I just had to stop and sit a while. I had picked up a therma rest pad that someone had dropped just outside of the gate. It came in handy for this little stop.
I drink quite a bit of water and ate a little snack while I was stopped. The shoes and socks were the first thing to come off though. I put a fresh pair on before leaving because my toes were a little bit tender from being so wet the last several days.
By the map I only had four miles to the center of the reservation. But by my feet it was a full 8-hour day in the Sun. I stopped at the cemetery about a mile outside of town because they had water and a chickee for shade.
The bathrooms were open, so I washed my face and could see that I was pretty sunburned even though I had been using the umbrella all day. I also washed my sunglasses which were filthy. They had a bottle filling station which was very convenient.
Arriving into Town
The last building before getting to the Baptist Church was the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole museum. I had looked up their website while I was sitting at the cemetery and found out that they were closed both today and tomorrow.
I was sad because that was one of the reasons I wanted to stop at the Baptist Church. I wanted to have time to really explore the museum. It looks incredible from the outside and all the reviews are very positive.
I finally arrived at the church at 12:30 and asked one of the parishioners where I can find the Reverend. She pointed me towards the kitchen.
I was actually planning on telling him that since the museum was closed I was probably just going to hike through town. But now I was having second thoughts.
It turns out they were just starting their Sunday supper and they invited me to join them. You never have to ask a hiker more than once if they would like to eat.
I washed my hands and face and put on a clean shirt so that I wouldn’t offend anyone too badly. But I still had my filthy white shorts on. The mule was an assortment of home cooked foods, all of which were fantastic.
They have water spigots, electricity, and a shower that the hikers can use. They also have a hiker box and a little goodie bag they give to all hikers. It is a very welcoming environment.
This is the first year they have publicly advertised their services to hikers. I hope some inconsiderate hiker doesn’t make them change their minds.
Normally this early in a hiking trip, I would not be very hungry yet. But this trip has been different. It seems I already have full hiker hunger even only 4 days in.
This is one of the rare times that I am coming into a resupply point and have almost no food left. I frequently stumble into town with one or one and a half days worth of food. By the time I hit the store tomorrow I will be down to maybe just a few pieces of dried fruit and a little bit of granola.
Normally I would be overjoyed at the thought of arriving in town with no food. This is because usually when you have no food your pack is really light. But I have so much camera gear with me that my pack doesn’t feel that light at all. And the fact that I am about to do 40 plus miles on canals that have undrinkable water means that I will be carrying a lot of water.
A Day of Chores
Since I had been given a full course dinner, there was very little I needed to do except for all my chores. And in this case it meant posting 3 days worth of blog entries that have been queued up since I did not have cell signal.
I would interleave other chores in between the postings. First up was take a shower and rinse the filth out of my hiking clothes. The shirt looks good and smells good. But the white pants still look awful.
The second chore was to take inventory of my food. I have to resupply at a gas station tomorrow and I need to try and figure out exactly how much I need to buy for the long canal walks I have ahead of me.
Emotion of the Day
Today would be a toss up between exhaustion and gratitude. But I know there will be many exhausting days to come so I am not going to use that one just yet.
Gratitude is the better word for today. I really was planning on passing through today. But after I met them I just couldn’t leave. I have literally been doing chores all day long. If I had skipped the stop and pressed on I would not be doing those chores until I got to Clewiston which is still 55 miles away.
I am grateful that I was encouraged to stop and do my chores.