Day 20, 26.5 miles of which 13 on pavement.
The oak tree we’re camped under kept us nice and dry last night. This morning is much warmer and soon we’re down to our summer outfits. We pass by Rattlesnake pond which has an early fisher man.
We make our way through a sandy clearcut which is less pleasant but the new plantings make Greenleaf happy. The landscape is slightly hilly and once through the clearcut it’s quite pretty with tall grasses and small trees.
Then it’s on to the not so enjoyable part of the day. About 14 miles of highway walking along SR 20. In the beginning it’s not too bad, there’s not much traffic and there is a good shoulder to walk on. It soon gets hot though and our highly anticipated stop at the Chevron station is cut short because we can’t find a good shady spot to hang out. The No Loitering signs don’t help either. They do have some good fried foods and we decide to pack them out to have them for lunch in a random shady spot on the side of the road. Feeling classy eating my fried chicken in the ditch surrounded by trash. I still don’t understand why people throw their trash out the car window. Every road side is littered with cans, beer bottles and even the occasional diaper.
I can’t wait to walk some trail again but Greenleaf has his eye set on getting to the next town. I can’t blame him, the trail makes a long detour south just to get back to SR 20 six miles later. He continues about 2-3 miles along the Highway and hangs out at the Greyhound race track bar for a few hours while I continue on trail.
My first mile off the highway is possibly worse than the highway since it’s a sandy logging road in the hot sun with a short soggy section. I don’t even mind getting my feet wet but the sun is baking me. I had stowed my sun umbrella but need to take it out again.
After I leave the logging road the trail improves and soon I’m in the forest with shade and good tread. There is even a sweet little section with a stream next to a boardwalk. I do feel silly basically walking in the wrong direction but once I reach the Sand Pond area I forget all about that. There are two ponds, one with a beautiful reflection and some ducks and the other has an awesome cypress forest lining the shore. So cool! It’s a good thing GL isn’t here because I take my time taking pictures.
A little further along there is a sign to a boardwalk. That’s sounds intriguing. It’s only about 1/4 mile past the Florida trail turn off and I decide to explore. The board walk goes though the cypress swamp. I’m surrounded by a gazillion cypress trees, I love it!
Back on trail there are a few more pretty ponds with cypress trees to walk by and then it’s on to a residential road. My feet are hurting badly at this point and when Greenleaf suggests staying in a motel in Ebro I’m easily convinced. I hobble the .7 to the motel and don’t move much for a while. Luckily GL surprised me with a Subway sandwich so I didn’t have to hobble across the parking lot. My feet are throbbing.