Trip Report - Day 1- FT - Lake Butler to White Springs - Entertainment Version.
Ok, I'm finally writing something up on my latest backpacking adventure with Rick Gushe (Vagabond). This is the entertainment version, the regular version has too many numbers and is a little boring. So, here goes... a true story... some of the names may have been changed to protect the innocent.
The trip started not like any other I can recall, in the back of a Lake Butler City Police car! We were not fugitives on the run, oh no. In order to pick up the trail in the Georgia Pacific Forest Land we needed to leave Rick's vehicle in Lake Butler (in the Library parking lot to be specific). Instead of walking an extra 1.5 miles to pick up the trail, Rick decided to use his experienced and seasoned "yoghing" abilities to get us a ride. The art of "yoghing" is one of the less talked about skills of a backpacker. It is commonly described as the act of getting what you want from someone (a local, car camper, etc.) without directly asking for it. Rick is one of the best yoghiers I've seen! Maybe someone should do a workshop on yoghing sometime?
So we threw our backpacks into the trunk of the Police car and tried to fit ourselves into the backseat. Have you ever tried to fit into the backseat of a police car? Well, I hope many of you have not, but I'll tell you they don't exactly give you any knee room back there! Anyway, we really appreciated the ride from the Lake Butler City Police -- Thanks guys if you're out there! It made the first day about 10 miles instead of 11.5 which was well worth it.
We saw a couple deer that morning, obviously hiding out on private land to avoid the hunters. Towards the end of the day we took a side trip to Lake Palastine. We had to mark the forest road the previous day with shotgun shells to mark the turn to the lake. The lake was heaven sent! They had tables for us to cook on and garbage cans and a boat ramp so we could easily walk into the lake and get cleaned up. There's almost nothing better than to get clean after a good day of backpacking! A little cleaning, a hot meal, the sunset and it was back into the wood a little-way where we had set up our tents. To some people the lake would have looked like a good camping spot, but the amount of night hunters (trucks and dogs) coming down to the lake at night would have kept us up all night. Also, with a possible storm approaching, the winds might have been very strong near the lake.
Well, I thought we were far enough of the "main" road, but I guess not. At about 8:30pm a big truck (sounded like a Ford from all the squeaks) drove right by my tent. Luckily, it kept on going and didn't stop. "They" were probably night hunting illegally. All in all, a great day backpacking on the Florida Trail!
Day 2 tomorrow...