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[ft-l] Joan "Igloo" Hobson - Section 23 - 3/20 to 3/21

Florida Trail Journal - Section 23
Apalachicola East

Beginning: US 319 (Near Medart)

End: Porter Lake Bridge, FR 13

Total Mileage: 32.6 Miles

Conditions: This is an untamed section of Florida with the inherent dangers
of swampland, unpredictable water levels and footing on the trail. Extremely
remote. Hiking terrain varies from pine forest to dense swamp. This is also
the Florida National Scenic Trail and offers spectacular vistas,
unparalleled wildlife experiences, magnificent old growth cypress and
vegetation unique to this forest.


Monday March 20, 2000

Spring has arrived. Fewer Jasmine, but Azaleas on the Sopchoppy River. Sun
shinning, no rain predicted until we get to Bristol. After rain and the
threat of rain the last 3 days, that's a blessing. We're driven to the
trailhead and start out in cool weather. The Apalachicola N. F. is
challenging with narrow slippery bridges, palmettos and bushes on the trail
and wet spots to skirt. The Sopchoppy is beautiful, but also has it's
ravines and small river-lattes. We've gone about 16 miles today and at 7PM
(still night) both my partners have called it quits and gone in. We saw very
few footprints today just a couple turkeys and no sightings. I'm sitting by
a small fire as it cools off and begins to darken. Expect a full moon
tonight and 47 degree temperatures.

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


Tuesday March 21, 2000

Were going to be led thru Bradwell Bay today. I misread my watch and got up
at 4PM, built a fire and had a cup of coffee. The moon was full last night
and is still bright this morning. We're being met at 8AM so we would have
lots of time. People start arriving around 8:10AM. It turns out that 5 folks
arrive for this jaunt. By the time we're ready it's after 9:30 and I figure
we'll be walking about 7. Up a blue blazed trail and about 2 miles later
arrive at Monkey Creek. Knee deep water and a sand bottom, not too bad. Up
to now everyone has been ahead of me and had to stop to let me catch up. As
we get into the first serious swamp, everyone slows down. There's water and
mud. A suggestion is made that I go first so I can see where I put my feet.
This works well through this portion. We're out in a burned pine Island for
lunch, then back into the swamp. It's now 12:30 and were about half way. The
next section is deeper, muddier and has "holes". When you step down you sink
about another foot. There are large pine and cypress trees in here. We come
across a series of ropes which presumably mark the way. Some blazes are
missing. The folks with me are removing rope. Finally another couple
continues on and my partner and I follow. We are slack-packing this section.
It would be almost impossible with a pack. As we near the last two miles we
find lots of blowdowns and trash to maneuver over. It's really slow going.
We finally reach the brim and are out to the cars. Mud and water everywhere:
boots, pants, shoes. We are on our way to Porter Lake by 3:30PM. Another
couple overgrown road walks and two connecting sand roads before the CR 75
and the last mile of trail. It's 5:45 by the time we arrive and I still have
several things to dry. Hurry and hang things up and build a fire. My
partners are eating and preparing for bed. Off at 8PM. We're being serenaded
by a posse of Barred Owls, three overhead. I finally take time to eat, home
cocoa and tea, and sit quietly by the fire until 9PM. It's been a tiring day
and I fell twice.

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

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