Day 22, Defuniak springs, 22.5 miles (I think)
We survived the storm last night but are finding lots of branches on the trail. We decide to take the high water route around the flood plain swamp area since we’re sure it’s going to be a mess after the storm. Even the high water route is slightly soggy at times.
The trail passes several pretty streams. Clear water with a sandy bottom. So nice after all the tannin colored water we’ve seen the past weeks. We’re feeling better after yesterday’s funk and find a nice spot for lunch. It’s slightly open and breezy so we are able to dry out our tent even if it’s not sunny.
It’s pretty cloudy today with some showers in the afternoon.
At lunch I check out the upcoming section and discover we have to walk around another flood plain. The Alaqua creek wasn’t safe to ford mid January and that was before the two latest storms so I can only imagine what the water levels are now.
I’m the one who is grouchy now. I’m so over the highway walking. This detour will add at least 6 miles to the regular 2 on highway 331. First we walk about 2 miles parallel the road on nice trail but then we’re pretty much along it. To top it off there is major road construction going on and it’s a mess. We cross two or three times according to what side looks better for us to walk. At times we find a power line road or an elevated berm or even a concrete ditch. Anything is better than right next to the road since there is no shoulder because of the construction. The reroute brings us to Defuniak springs. We really didn’t want to spend another night in a motel but it seems our timing is off for this one. We stay at the Sundowner motel, at least it’s affordable and nice. And there is a good Mexican restaurant next door. Yum!
Next up is figuring out the Eglin Air Force closures. The map I pulled up initially showed a section of the trail in a closed area but a later map showed it open. I’m so confused and really don’t want to road walk around. For now it looks open but I’ll check again in the morning and make sure. So many obstacles on this trail. Ugh.
Our resolve to be end to end hikers is waning. Walking the highway is not only silly it can be dangerous too. Is it really worth it?
The beginning of the highway walk. When we got closer to the machinery I wondered where we could possibly hike. We crossed the road and found a ditch to hike in. Seriously.