This update is coming from beautiful St. Mark’s. As of today, we’ve hiked 340 miles in 27 days. We’re taking a zero day day off here at Shell Island Fishcamp, a quaint place where the Wakulla river and St. Mark’s river converge. Tuesday we’ll cross the St. Lawrence River by boat and head Northeast towards Perry.

My last update ended at Seven Runs near Bruce. After a 7 mile road walk on Highway 20, we reached the Sand Pond Campground at Pine Log State Forest on Highway 79.  It’s a beautiful campground with old growth cypress lakes. If you haven’t been there, you should go. Next day was a 15 mile Road walk to Highway 77 and spent the night at Oak Park, another beautiful place. Next up was the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). It’s one of the prettiest sections of the Florida Trail, with high bluffs and the beautiful Econfina Creek. A real gem in Northwest Florida.

After another road walk, we headed to Blountstown with a short hike along the Chipola River. We hit Fountain, Highway 231, late in the afternoon with no place to camp. Fortunately Sunny D is an AmVet member and we met some very nice people the AmVet 231. Cheryl treated us like royalty and even called her mom and and friend Pee Wee to meet us. They fed us dinner and let us camp in their backyard, a real treat. Patron James Harris also gave us a gift for Hosanna House. Thanks much for all those very nice friends.

We arrived in Blountstown and decided to hike on a bit more to the airport hotel just before the Apalachicola River bridge. Friend Micah brought us our next resupply for the week – thanks Micah! The next morning at first light we started across the one and a half mile Bridgewalk. I was amazed to see the entire length of the bridge covered with thousands of bras, tied end to end. The local 4-H Club of Calhoun at Liberty County place them each year in honor of breast cancer awareness month. it was quite a sight.

Turning South, our next stop was Camel Lake. This is a beautiful lake south of Bristol, another close by place to visit. Next day primitive campsite and the start of our two day through the Apalachicola National Forest. Lots of pine trees, with occasional dry bogs. We ran into a very big and very territorial rattlesnake! After 20 minutes we were able to gently lift him off the trail so that we could pass. Quite an experience!

The next few days were spent going through the 25 mile Bradwell Bay Area starting at Porter Lake. We met a very nice couple, Sam and Cheryl who offered to drive 15 miles just to get us a cold drink. Thanks guys!

There’s a 5 mile section in the middle of Bradwell Bay that is usually flooded, often with waist to chest high water. Since there hasn’t been rain for weeks, we sailed through with only muddy boots. Thank you God!

After another two days were at St. Mark’s. We arrived tired but happy. Still no rain and mild temperatures… a real blessing.

I forgot to mention in my first update how much we appreciated the help from Trail angels Mary and Diane during our Highway 90 Road walk between Harold and Crestview. They were a tremendous help with meals and a place to stay for two nights during this difficult 25 mile road walk. Mary, a previous Florida trail hiker, continues to help us with logistics and encouragement along the way on our hike. Thanks Mary and Diane.

Thanks again for all of our donors and friends who support us. A special thanks to our friends Pete and Bee who met us in St Marks with our resupply. They have a cabin next to ours and we’re cooking steak by the Wakulla river tonight. Not bad hiker food. Next update in two weeks from Suwanee.

Trail thoughts:

The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson