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[ft-l] Status - The Big Loop Hike

Length of hike - 369.2 miles

Starting point - Clearwater Lake - Ocala National Forest

Direction - Southbound

Segment hiked Thursday - Lake Mary Blvd. to Big Tree Park

Segment hiked Sunday - Big Tree Park to Black Hammock Trailhead

Length of Segment - Thursday 5.7 miles.  Sunday -  7.2 miles

Cumulative miles hiked - 38.5 miles  (over ten percent!  Yahoo!)

Miles to go - 330.7 miles

Comments:  Sandy covered most of it.  My only correction is that wasn't 
Winter Park High, rather whatever the school in Winter Springs on 434 is 
called.  Huge complex.  I remember seeing it under construction on my last 
hike on the thru trail in Central Florida 5 years ago.  I was surprised that 
the trail west of where the rail trail has been completed is so unkempt.  
When I hiked it last it was still a rail bed, and the utility easement was 
rough, but passable.  I join Sandy's comments that we really don't like 
blue-blazing around Trail sections.  It feels like cheating, yet the 
conditions left no other choice.

I had never seen a fox before.  It was right on the trail when we spotted it. 
 That was the highlight of this trip so far!  It was about a half mile west 
of where the rail trail paving ends.  I'm very ambivalent about these rail 
trails.  Had they been completed through this area, it would have made the 
walk so much easier, but I suspect that the disruption to the natural 
vegetation and the increased human usage would have made the fox sighting 
less likely.

My rant is a bit more personal.  What the heck was I doing hiking 10 miles 
(including the wayward steps) Sunday evening when I had entered a 15 K race 
this morning?  Not exactly the smartest thing I've ever done, though I 
completed the race and am alive to tell about it!  :) 

Happy trails,

Rich Evans
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