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[ft-l] Joan "Igloo" Hobson - Section 22 - 3/16 to 3/19



Florida Trail Journal - Section 22
St. Marks, East and West

Beginning: US 98

End: US 319 (Near Medart)

Total Mileage: 42.0 Miles

Conditions: Extremely remote. Trail conditions can fluctuate wildly
depending on recent rainfall. Trail follows dikes and trams on the East side
in most of this section. Water sources are rivers and sloughs. Camping
rugged except at designated sites. Salt marsh.



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Thursday March 16, 2000

We're back at J.R.'s for breakfast and it's sprinkling. We head out at 7:15
in drizzle. The trucks are speeding by and sending up spray. We're off the
road and headed into the woods toward St. Marks. The tram we cleared in
November is much easier to walk and the blazes are fresh. As we come out on
the dike a gentle breeze is blowing and the rain has stopped. We walked the
dike and the trail in the woods until noon when we stopped for lunch. Cloths
have dried. The salt marshes are spectacular and well worth the visit. We
finally make the last turn up a dike toward CR59 when the heavens let loose.
The rain is blowing sideways with stiff wind, thunder and lightning. The
wind gusts are pushing us sideways. Drenching rain. As we reach CR59 we make
a decision to go to thru to St. Marks and a motel instead of trying to pitch
tents in the rain. One of the partners has wrenched his back in the wind
gusts and is having trouble. The last four miles are slow. We approach the
river and try to get a ride across. Some one finally hears our pleas and a
pontoon boat arrives. The motel owner arrives soon after and we have a cabin
for two nights. Heat, hot showers, food and we're refreshed. Watch a little
TV and off to bed at 8:30PM, sleepy!

Posted by Jeff Walters on Monday, April 17, 2000.



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Friday March 17, 2000

Good idea to come in last night to St. Marks. It's 8AM and my partners are
still sleeping. I think I wore them out, but it was so good to see them
again. That was some storm yesterday. We saw ducks and other wild birds in
the pools in the refuge and two hogs in the woods. I calculated about 300
miles from here to the end. The trail has more miles than the last time. Out
to dinner and buy food, quiet evening.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Monday, April 17, 2000.



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Saturday March 18, 2000

Up early and packed up. On the trail about 7:15 PM. We have a rail-trail to
walk and about 3 miles of US 98 to the trail. Found some segments of clear
and blazed trail east of the bridge. No "trail" West of the bridge. Saw a
swallow-tailed kite overhead. Have to add blackberry flowers to my spring
flowers. They've been with me and the other spring flowers about 2 weeks
now. Trail on West side of St. Marks has been recently blazed and mowed.
Easy walking today. Warm clear sky. Squalls are promised so we've decided to
walk to 365 and hitch to shell point to get a room. Met a young woman hiking
the trail and she'll drive us to town to the motel. Somewhat disappointed to
find the motel full. We've decided to camp here and while waiting to get a
campsite, we're told a room will open in about 2 hours. Nice room by 4:30PM,
Courtesy of the owner of the motel. We've been driven and returned to a
restaurant for dinner and we're relaxing. Expect a strong storm to arrive
tonight and may rain all day tomorrow.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Monday, April 17, 2000.



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Sunday March 19, 2000

"Up and at 'em". Driven from Motel to trail. Overcast and threatening, but
no rain so far. Half an hour on 365 and into the woods. We face the
"infamous" bridges this AM. Small amount of sprinkles off and on. First
bridge not too bad, then nice leaf-strewn trail. Up "looms" more twisted and
high bridges. Had to climb up on my stomach and roll over to mount and slide
down on my stomach on the other end. Can't go around because of water and
mud. Some nice forested areas between. Lost "Bridge" is out over Spring
Creek. Walked on "trash" and a couple fallen logs to get across. Rain
threatening. Nice walk along the marsh point, lunch and then on in a little
harder rain. We're moving along well in spite of the weather and we're out
on US98 with a decision; go on or head for a Motel? As it started to rain
again, we headed south to a Motel. We were given a lift by a pick-up truck.
Thank you, Lord! It looks like the weather will clear tomorrow, so I guess
we made the right decision. Drying out and resting. I think I'm getting to
like Backpacking from Motel to Motel.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Monday, April 17, 2000.



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