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[ft-l] Status - The Big 360 Hike



Length of hike - 360 miles

Starting point - Clearwater Lake - Ocala National Forest

Direction - Western Corridor - northbound

Days into hike - 13

Latest Segment hiked -  SR 523 from intersection with Williams Road to
intersection with Deer Run Road

Length of Segment - 20.3 miles

Cumulative miles hiked - 106.5 miles

Miles to go - 253.5 miles

Comments:  Most people don't get doing a road walk.  The thought is it is
just a boring section a thruhiker must do to hike the whole trail.  Well, I
think attitude can make a road walk fun.  Today was a great example.  First,
the weather was just about perfect, allowing us to walk most of the daylight
hours without getting too overheated.  Second, a road walk allows you to put
in big miles with less energy than trail walking.  Today was a 20 miler --
sure it caused a couple of blisters, but the road surface allowed us to keep
going at a pace of over 3 miles an hour.  Fortunately SR 523, also known as
Canoe Creek Road, is a low traffic road, so much of the time we could walk on
the road surface.

Wildlife sightings were a welcome surprise today.  We saw dozens of sandhill
cranes, a most exquisite bird!  Also 4 deer, many turkeys, an osprey, and a
word stork.  Also, having received my training at the Jeff Walters advanced
school of cattle calling, we had tons of fun with many herds of cattle, which
would alternately line up in ranks to be royally received by us and march
behind, much taken by their new hiking buddies.  Alas, all did not have a
storybook ending, for a lovesick, forlorn bovine beauty mooed most pitifully
after I rounded a curve and left her sight.  Another heart broken, along this
trail of tears!  ;-)

See -- roadwalks can be fun!

Happy trails,

Rich Evans
Orlando