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[ft-l] Status - THe Big 360 Hike

Length of hike - 360 miles

Starting point - Clearwater Lake - Ocala National Forest

Direction - Southbound

Latest Segment hiked - Seminole Ranch to Deseret Ranch

Length of Segment - 15.3 miles

Cumulative miles hiked - 77.8 miles  

Miles to go - 282.2 miles

Comments:   As the weather becomes more conducive to hiking, I'll take a 
moment to share our secret in dealing with the problems of summer hiking: 
heat and bugs.  First secret:  Dairy Queen!  After each hike, we head 
immediately for the nearest DQ.  Sharing a banana split and a cherry Mr. 
Misty does wonders for cooling us down after the day's exertions.  We've made 
it such a ritual that no amount of heat and sweat will deter us from those 
sweet cool treats that we've earned at the end of each hiking day!

Second secret:  We are fortunate to live in an apartment complex that has a 
communal heated spa next to the swimming pool.  Immediately upon coming home, 
we don our bathing suits and head for the spa.  The payback is twofold:  not 
only is it a tremendous relief for aching muscles, but we have found it near 
miraculous in warding off chigger bites.  If we submerge ourselves for at 
least 15 minutes under the hot water, the little buggers must drown before 
they can do their dirty work.

I will let Sandy post the details of our adventures and mishaps this weekend. 
 Because it is now hunting season, we hiked in our new blaze orange mesh 
vests.  We hiked through Tosahatchee and roadwalked down Hwy. 520 to the 
entrance to Deseret Ranch.  Because the Ranch will be closed to hikers on 
weekends until January, we will be skipping ahead next week and picking up 
this section later.

As far as wildlife sightings are concerned, the highlight was the curious sow 
and 5 piglets who greeted us at our car door as we parked under the utility 
lines that cross 520.  Could this be Arnold Ziffle's family?

Happy trails,

Rich Evans
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