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[ft-l] The Big 360: From town to town to...

Another weekend spent tromping up the Western Corridor. Mileage? 
20-something. Rich does the stats; I just walk. And walk. And walk. And shoot 
photos, now and again.

It took two days this time, to get the miles in, thanks to my sore feet. 
Roadwalks and I don't get along. The balls of my feet were torn apart by the 
constant changes from asphalt to grass, back and forth, dodging the cars. Had 
to quit after 11 miles the first day. Too many blisters. Then came back for 
more the next day, in the rain.

We started off at St. Cloud. It's kind of annoying that the most efficient 
way of roadwalking car-to-car is to drive to the far point, then the near 
point, then walk back. Seems we're always headed in the opposite direction of 
travel! But it saves gas and time. More glimpses of sandhill cranes, these 
amid the bustle of civilization. A pair strutted in a yard along Canoe Creek 
Road. Several pair joined up with a herd of cattle, nosing around in a field 
within a stone's throw of our Footprint editor's house. Three more crossed 
Neptune Road at the rail trail crosswalk, causing cars to pause!

Ribbons of sidewalk led around St. Cloud through residental areas with 
overpriced homes framed by noisy roads, including the Turnpike. Homes cut 
deeply into prairie and cypress swamp, the precious domain of the sandhill 
crane. Eventually, the trail moves from the road onto the Osceola Rail Trail, 
a nice (although paved, and thereby footsore) meander through residental 
areas fringing Lake Toho. One problem, though: no trailheads! Perhaps they 
don't want visitors on their trail.

Lake Toho brims with waterbirds. Dozens of cormorants drying wings on a 
rotting dock. Night heron crouched low on a bridge rail. Gangly wood storks 
watching fishermen on the pier. Ducks and coots, herons and ibis. Anhinga 
waiting to snatch fish from unwatched lines. The trail winds around the 
lake's edge for over a mile, heading into and out of Kissimmee along the rail 
line and the Old Tampa Highway, the original road between Tampa and Orlando. 
Through Intercession City...and I wonder, what did they intercede in?

It's tough to walk when there's no shoulder and little berm-- especially when 
it starts to pour. Puddles form; cars splash. But trees stand out more 
vividly, especially maples ablaze in fall finery-- crimson, gold, orange. 
Daisy fleabane breaks up the roadside weeds with patches of purple. A bald 
eagle roosts on a utility pole, watching us pass in the pouring rain.

Almost to Polk County! Slightly 20 more miles of roadwalk, and then the trail 
becomes a trail once more.

Cheers, Sandy

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