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[ft-l] Joan "Igloo" Hobson - Connector Sections - 3/26 to 4/9



This email includes journal entries between Sections 24 and 30.
This includes many new pieces of trail including Eglin.
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Florida Trail Journal - Panhandle Connector Sections
Pine Log State Forest, St. Joe Paper Company and others...

Beginning: CR 12, Ten Miles South of Bristol.

End: Santa Rosa Recreational Facility Beach

Total Mileage: ? Miles

Conditions: Rural highways and towns and Pine Log State Forest.



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Sunday March 26, 2000

Up to overcast and warm weather. Road walk all day today to Shelton's
Corner. Lot's of "wild life": garter snake, corn snake, armadillo, rabbit,
possum, blue jay, hawk, dog and chicken. All not moving. Rescued one turtle
from the road. J.P. Peacock is a pretty walk. The sides are blanketed with
small yellow flowers and red clovers. Passed a field of rye grass, pine
stands and cypress swamp. Pretty homes mostly break with some smaller older
houses. Must be a contest to see who can produce the most azaleas. As we
reached the West end of J.P. Peacocks the heavens let go and we got wet. It
abated in about a half of an hour. Stopped at the Chippola River under the
bridge for lunch. There was a bench there. It's warming and clearing as we
near Shelton's Corner where there is the sound of thunder again. We picked
up a cold drink and headed for shelter. None too soon; rain, lightning and
thunder. We're in a country park with covered picnic shelters and it's
2:15PM Eastern Time. It is thundering again, some more lightning off and on.
Seems to be coming in waves. 6:25EST and we've eaten and the rain has
stopped, but it's still overcast. In early to read and do my journal.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Monday March 27, 2000

Noisy with trucks, cars breaking and rain all night. Wake to heavy fog which
made things damp even though we were under a shelter. Off at 7:15 long day
today. Endless road walk. No shoulders. Have to hop off for about 50 cars
per hour. The fog has lifted and shows an overcast threatening sky. On and
on. As we pass about 7 miles, the skies let go and we get wet. The wind has
picked up and as we near 231 the clouds are breaking. Wind getting stronger.
Found a Bud's Grocery on 231 for refreshments. Then on to Owenwood Road.
This proves to be a 4 mile hike to the Power Line. The Section Leader has
been out on the trail removing mini-tornado damage from the trail and stops
to chat. Off to the Fence Bridge to camp. Nice to be back on the trail once
more. Clear cool night, lots of stars, fire very stubborn.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Tuesday March 28, 2000

Nice night. Up to get water from a clear fast moving stream about 3 minutes
from camp. Over a suspension bridge high over the Econfina Creek. A sight to
see. We're on the trail by 7:45EST. Cool and bright day. Next 2.4 miles near
the river are undulating terrain and small steep ravines. Azaleas and,
believe it or not, mountain laurel! We've covered all the trail to
Walingsham Bridge in 3 hours. On South-West to US20. Picnic table and lunch.
Dry things out from last nights dew. Up sandy woods roads. Lost our way
once. Sometimes blazes are on trees going the other way. Not as many going
our way. Still making good time, but I'm having my usual post-lunch slow
down. Ravine over Rattlesnake Creek narrow and slanted - up and down. Come
to Rattlesnake Lake. Beautiful! Sandy beach and clear water. We're moving on
to Porter Lake with the promise of good water and oak trees. Come to a lake
with lots less water and some muddy areas. Had to use my long pole to get
water but we got here before 3PM so we have lots of time. Can sometimes hear
road noise so we think we're near US20. Road walk tomorrow into St. Joe's.
Cool wind blowing. Into my tent by 7:30. No fire tonight. Did crossword
puzzle and rested.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Wednesday March 29, 2000

Got up early. Not as cold as I expected. Made grits and had a nice cup of
coffee. Getting light by 6AM. We're planning to leave by 7AM, because of the
road walk. Out of Econfina in about 1.8 miles and onto Rt.20 West. Nice wide
grassy shoulder and not too many cars. A Sheriff from Bay County stopped to
see if we needed anything. We're averaging about 2.5 miles per hour. 2 miles
down Rt.77 is a convenience store. The day is hot and cold drinks taste
good. I also bought a big piece of cheese. This road is very busy, but has a
5 foot wide shoulder on which to walk. All is well. We passed Skunk Valley
Road and have only 1.75 miles to St. Joe's! Another gas-mart with good hiker
re-stock: lots of food, cold drinks and ice cream. On to St. Joe's. We've
walked about 5 miles and gotten water on the way. Found a nice camp site,
but all of the sudden it looks like rain. It's 4:30PM. Into our tents, I
haven't eaten yet. Got things organized and the rains have started. Very
light at this time but we can hear thunder. So much for light and far away
thunder. The rain is heavier and I'm watching for leaks. A couple drops are
coming in through a couple places. The lightning and thunder have gotten
closer and rain heavier. Leaks more frequent. I've started "mopping". It's
getting ahead of me. I covered my pack with most everything including my
sleeping bag inside. It's dripping on my head. The lightning and thunder is
very close! I'm sitting in my chair and watching the rest of the things on
the floor get wet. I'm wearing my gortex rain jacket. The storm starts to
move away. About 7:30PM now, it's almost dark. I got out of my tent to dry
out enough of the floor to consider going to bed. Tonight was a cold can of
chicken and dumplings. The floor of the tent is still damp and dripping from
the roof. I wiped off the outside. Sleeping pad wet on one side and somewhat
wet on the other side. The seat is soaked. I put a plastic raincoat over the
seat and the end of the sleeping pad. Pulled out my sleeping bag and
proceeded to settle down. I know the bag will be warm even if wet. Cover
with the emergency blanket and I'm ready for sleep. Really slept quite well.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Thursday March 30, 2000

The first day of the last two weeks of this trip! I got up at 5:30 to try to
spread out gear and wrap up my tent. It gets light about 6 AM, so I can see
it's still overcast. Tent, jacket, seat, sleeping pad, sleeping bag,
emergency blanket, plastic raincoat, kitchen, water bag, bandanas (3) all
got wet last night. I stayed dry in the sleeping bag, but was soon wet when
I emerged and tried to tidy things a bit. All packed and ready to go by
6:45AM. My partner had the same problem with a leaking tent and wet gear. We
have 16 miles to go today, most on wet sand roads. We've been walking about
1.5 hours between breaks. The concern this AM is finding water to replenish
our supply. We filled up last night about a mile from camp. The low flying
gray clouds keep threatening to dump on us, but we keep going. We're into
Pine Log State Forest before we find a decent water source. Fill containers
and drink some. It looks like were only about 5 miles from our destination.
The sun has been playing peak-a-boo for the last two hours and has finally
started to shine. When we get to Pine Log about 2:45PM EST the first order
of business is to spread out our things and dry them. Glad for the sun. Nice
camp area with a pavilion and campsites, showers and toilets. Friendly folks
stopped by to chat. They've been doing some day hikes in the area. We've
decided to stay in the pavilion because we don't want to deal with any more
rain. That was the worst storm since I started the hike. Partner off to bed
around 7:30 and I'm writing this entry in my journal.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Friday March 31, 2000

Not too fast this AM. Up at 6:30 and on the trail by 7:30. We slept under a
pavilion last night so things are not all wet, just damp here and there. The
trail is short and we're in Ebro by 8AM our time. The motel opens in a half
hour. The motel opens at 8:30CT and we are able to get our room early.
Shower and clean cloths. We've talked the motel into cleaning our cloths for
a fee. Off to get our mail drops. New Sox! The other things are not as
important. Rest and relax. Found a tarp to cover leaky tents, snacks, drinks
and dinner. Comfortable day.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Saturday April 1, 2000

Off to get a deli sandwich and breakfast. Short day into Bouce. Hope for a
Motel. Partly sunny day and "straight" road over the Choctawhatchee River.
We're outside Bruce at first break. 10:30AM EST we're in town. Convenient
Store is expanding. More food selection, drinks, pizza, ice cream and
fishing "stuff". I checked with the motel owner and she has one empty room
which hasn't yet been cleaned. We're willing to wait. Sit and rest, drink
cold drinks and hook up facilities in Freeport. We finally decide to contact
the Fire Company and get permission to camp there tomorrow. Had lunch and
our room's ready. Old building but clean and comfortable for us. 4 channels
on an antenna and old programs repeated. We think the AC has no compressor
and there doesn't seem to be any hot water. But we're in and dry.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Sunday April 2, 2000

Off again at 7:15AM. I threw out my deli sandwich bought yesterday in Ebro
when I discovered it had mayo. Don't trust mayo out of the refrigerator for
24 hours. The road walk is 11 miles STRAIGHT to Freeport. We've been walking
1.5 hours and taking a short break. We're at a convenient store for a cold
drink on the East end of town in 3.5 hours. We've come down to the Volunteer
Fire Company and they have opened a place to pitch tents, bathroom, shower
and even a place to do laundry. We've decided to do our laundry at the
laundrymat and buy our re-supplies. This day is passing slowly as we have
all our "chores" done and it's only 3PM. It has looked threatening all day
and it's supposed to be clear. Dinner in a restaurant in Freeport. Short
menu, no vegetables. Visited with Fire Fighters and we're there when they
got a call. Off to bed.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Monday April 3, 2000

Up again to low flying overcast, cool morning. We got off by 7AM. Have no
clue how long we have to walk to get to Eglin. Road has an edge but is very
busy. Still looks like it might rain. The trucks by and blow us off balance.
We're moving fast. About 10:45 we are met and wait for cars to be shuttled.
We estimate a 6.7 mile walk into Eglin. We've already road walked 11 miles.
One is not allowed to camp except at designated areas on Blanding, so this
will dictate how and where and how long we walk. We are shuttled to the
first campsite after walking in. We're at an old fire tower and it's
sprinkling as we setup tents. My partner and I have pitched under the tarp I
bought to protect our leaky tents. Rain has stopped so we can cook and eat
dinner. I decided to sit in the truck cab with one of the "shuttlers" and
the other two folks have gone to bed. I made a dive for my tent when the
rain slackened. A small trickle of water from the one corner of my tent not
covered. Wiped up the water and settled in. Rained during the night.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Tuesday April 4, 2000

Wakened to partially clear skies. We're hoping the bad weather has passed.
After shuttling and getting back to walking, the dark clouds and cool wind
move in. A slight sprinkle convinces us to don rain coats. Still dark
threatening weather as we walk along. The sky lightens and blue sky appears.
By the time we have lunch, all the clouds are gone. We're covering ground
quickly and at 1:30PM were at 285. We have another 1.5 miles paralleling 285
before we quit and are shuttled to Jr. Walton Pond for the night. Setup and
I notice fish in the pond. I try my hand at catching them. Tried sausage
meat and a click beetle, but their not interested. We've gathered wood and
after eating, I've lit a fire. It's getting cold. The sky is clear blue and
we hope that's all the rain for a while. Finally to bed at 9:30 and it's
cold.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Wednesday April 5, 2000

Up at daybreak. My watch has stopped. Maybe it's too cold. Hot coffee and
grits taste good. We're off to RT285 by shuttle to really go on an
"adventure". No one has walked thru here. We're promised swamps and creeks,
flagged and blazed trail, some confusing and no idea about miles. The first
about 1.5 miles is pretty clear and blazed except crossing roads where pink
ribbons are used. Crossing the sand roads leads soon into a titi swamp. I
remember being here in November doing maintenance. The swamp at that time
ended at a huge log over a small stream. Now the trail crosses and so I
walked the log. My partner prepares to walk the stream. Not too bad a swamp.
Muddy and some damp, wet, and soggy places. The trail is noticeable for the
most part and blazes are intact. This changed when we came out on a piece of
pavement and could find no way back in. I was about to hail a pick-up truck
when Orange Tape appeared. All tape had been pink to this point. Took a
chance and followed - no trail, just bushwhacking. I did arrive on a trail.
Not knowing which was to go we turned left and ended back at the road. We
turned around. Lots of pink tape and we soon found out, blazing on the OTHER
sides of the trees. Fairly easy walking again. We continued until 11:30 and
found the washed out bridge. We maneuvered around. Followed pink tapes again
about a half mile and again a swamp. More pink tape and found blazes on the
backs of trees. So much for E-W. We stopped at noon for lunch and decided we
must have come at least 5 miles. We dried our gear and started out again at
1:15PM. This was easy walking, good blazing and in a half hour we were
walking a straight sand road, well blazed. At 1:45 we were out and when we
finally calculated the distance, decided it must be 7.5 - 8 miles on this
trail. We had all afternoon to rest. Nice clear day. Couple trucks came to
visit then left. Went into tent early and read. Expect it to be cold so I've
put on more cloths. Figured out my watch is off my 5 hours so I can "tell
time" nearly.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Thursday April 6, 2000

It was cold, but not as bad as last night. It's getting light and I have to
get up. Decided to make breakfast and coffee. Sun finally peeking over the
trees. Time to wrap up and get going. We're off with promise of swamps, a
bridge, a log and some wading. The trail is blazed and groomed well and
we're moving quickly. At about 2.5 miles we've stopped for a break. Within a
15 minute walk after the break, we've reached the trail I helped clear in
November. Another half hour we have crossed the road. Things are ok for a
half mile or so then the first "swamp". No water and reasonably easy
walking. The next miles include some areas which are overgrown, some
blow-downs, another swamp or two, a short stream and a wide stream which has
logs over it. We've maneuvered the logs and kept dry feet. Some trail on
woods roads and thru pine and oak trees. We've cleared this section in 3
hours and question the miles which we were told were 8 plus. We walked North
on 87 to the Shoal River and a small Recreation Area and there is my
partner's husband. We've decided on lunch. Then we drop our packs and
continue to walk North to RT90. We'll start West from here tomorrow. Motel
and shower and clean cloths feel good.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Friday April 7, 2000

Road Walk.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Saturday April 8, 2000

Road Walk.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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Sunday April 9, 2000

Road Walk. Road walks are usually quick: about 3 miles per hour. Usually
include wild flowers along the side. All of this road walk also had a bike
path in which to walk. Usually at road crossings every 4-8 miles is a
convenient store where you can get a drink and snack. Sometimes the big
trucks really blow you off the road. Sometimes there are interesting
features like exotic animals, domestic animals and often dogs which are not
restrained. Road walks are still necessary to complete the existing trail.
Each year there seems to be less.

Posted by Jeff Walters on Saturday, April 22, 2000.



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