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[ft-l] The Big 360: Deseret / Bull Creek (Part 3 of 3)



DAY 3  (May 28)  10.3 miles, estimated. Hunt Camp to Three Lakes WMA. If you 
know the ACTUAL miles, please clue us in!

Scrub.
More tiresome than the day before. Meaner on the feet. It's a joy to see a 
spoil ditch, a fire break, a far-off cypress dome. Anything to shake up the 
landscape.

The hike started around 10 AM, cloudy skies, smoke over Kissimmee. Hot and 
dry day. We pass the billowing ghosts of Hunt Camp, tents tattering in the 
wind like Nepali prayer flags, cast-off cooler chests and storage containers, 
abandoned travel trailers. Still amazed that we weren't allowed to camp here 
amid the detrius of hunting season. I wonder if anyone ever cleans this stuff 
out?

We pass by a boarded-up observatory, paint peeling. Thinking that Orlando's 
grown too populated for anyone to see the stars from here.

The new thru-trail jumps a barbed wire fence into Forever Florida, a ranch 
along US 441. Freshly blazed, but an underused treadway. Cruel gatorbacks. My 
feet groan with every step, blisters building on blisters. More pitcher 
plants seek the seeps in the trail. Finally, we reach semi-civilization, a 
jeep trail.

For countless hours, we walk through scrub. Past dried-up water holes, and 
struggling cypress domes. Past two giant traps baited with corn. Meant to 
catch deer? The crows seem pleased, strutting in to nibble on grain.

At every bend in the road, I look eagerly for some indication that the scrub 
will end. It does not. We sit in the sand road to eat lunch. No shade. Where 
the trail dives back off the road and into the scrub, we find blueberries! 
Nice, juicy, plump blueberries, running almost two months late for the 
season. From this point on, we scan for them, pausing often to feast. It 
breaks up the monotony.

We cross a hydric hammock, and I think-- this must be the end! But no, the 
scrub goes on. Until we unceremoniously end up in someone's backyard, between 
a bunch of trailers, in a private neighborhood on a private road where the 
dogs all put up a stink. Forced to crawl on our bellies under a padlocked 
gate to reach US 441. Amazing! Face up into nice fresh blackberries, 
something to soothe the spirit.

I'm tired and footsore. The afternoon clouds are building. We amble down the 
road a half mile to get to the car, hidden in the shade in a roadside picnic 
grove. Then one more car jump, one last segment of trail, one last push. Less 
than two miles to finish this section, connecting our hike with Three Lakes. 
As we walk up 441 north from Three Lakes, the first truck that passes us 
turns around, offers a ride. We demur. They point out the thunderstorm 
chasing us. "Y'all better hurry!"

And we do. Rain pelts down as we draw close to the end, the air energized 
with the fresh aroma. Exhausted, we race ahead of the storm front on our way 
home.