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[ft-l] The Big 360 Hike - Update
Days into hike - 28
Latest segment hiked:
Floral City to the Greenway - 20.8 miles
Cumulative miles hiked - 282.4
Miles to go - 77.6
Comments: Another hot weekend on the Trail! We picked up the Withlacoochee
Rail Trail where we left off last week in Floral City and headed north
through Inverness and Hernando. The walk along the rail trail presents
several opportunities to stop for refreshments, a very welcome feature on a
hot day. In Hernando, we stopped at the Hernando Diner and bought ice cream
cones and continued walking while lapping up the cool treats. I do believe
that summer hiking in Florida would catch on if there were trailside ice
cream stands every mile along the Trail! Would someone form a committee and
look into it? ;-)
At Hernando, we reached the westernmost point in the Big 360 loop, less than
20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico at Crystal Bay. From this point we headed
north and east on State Road 200. We arrived early Sunday morning to avoid
the heat of the day, but we had a problem with heavy dew which soaked our
boots and socks and gave Sandy blister problems, causing us to stop about 3
miles short of the day's goal. We were hopeful to get the roadwalk behind us
and on to the more shaded Greenway trails. But, we'll just bang out the last
three miles of roadwalk next weekend before entering the woods again.
I'm really looking forward to the next section and crossing the land bridge,
because seeing the opening of the land bridge last year is what led to the
idea of the Big 360 hike.
As this hike winds down, I figure it's time to recap the most embarrassing
moments of the hike. Being just a clueless guy who likes to wander around in
the woods, these "moments" tend to happen to me perhaps a mite more
abundantly than the rest of you, so, to save space, I'll only recount the top
3) During one of our car hops, as we were hiking from her car to mine, I
left my keys in her car!
2) On the three day weekend we hiked Deseret, I left my boots home and had
to hike 13 miles in my Topsiders. Ouch! As always, duct tape made that
possible, but it meant we had make a trip home to get my boots for the next
day's hike, ending the chance to camp at a nice place on the Trail.
1) I was to meet and camp with Sandy and Nimblewill Nomad where the Trail
intersects Old Clay Sink Road at Richloam. Because of tax season I could
only join them Saturday evening after they hiked together on Saturday. Being
in a heightened state of cluelessness, I showed up at a different trail about
5 miles away. I hiked what I thought was the Trail and expected to meet them
on the Trail. It began to get dark, and they never showed, so I got in the
car and went home! It turns out they were waiting for me for 4 hours at the
place I should have been, and Sandy had to call her Dad to come pick her up.
(Truly an inspiring "moment," don't you think?)
Well, at least now you know why Sandy is along on the Big 360. They don't
call her the Navigator for nothing! Chances are I'd be lost in the midst of
the Green Swamp and you wouldn't be reading these pithy reports otherwise.
So for that, she's entirely to blame!