Dogs howling up a storm at 5 a.m. sounded like Hounds of the Baskervilles. Wasn't sure if it was a pack of strays roaming the woods or somebody out with their hunting dogs. Didn't really matter though because it was enough to wake me up.
Just past Forgotten Creek there was a vast swathe of clear cut which seemed to foretell a grim day of hiking, but it turned out not to be the case. Once we reentered the woods, we walked along clear water streams with white sandy bottoms all the while in deep shade. From time to time we crossed little bridges and the water looked so pure, we didn't bother with the filter, but drank freely at will. We passed through some areas that offered scenery different from anything we had seen on the trail before. One that was particularly striking was an open hilltop covered with purple flowers. The weather was exceptionally nice as a steady breeze blew all day and gathering clouds in the afternoon took away the intensity of the sun.
On the US 331 there was no "ease" in the powerline easement. However, the loose sandy path did provide good practice for a dune walk. When we reached the kiosk at Eglin Air Force Base, we stopped to register. While waiting for Jon to fill in his information, I dug a couple of cards out of the registry box and found out that we had gained a couple of days on the elusive Ed Talone, an Eastern Continental Trail Hiker we'd seen signed in in trail registers many miles back. He'd had a five day lead back then, which was now whittled down to three. We'll never meet though because he'll soon make the turn up Blackwater way to the Alabama border, whereas we'll soon be hitting the beaches near Pensecola.
The first three miles in Eglin were quite nice walking through mixed woodland. The large beech trees fast becoming one of my favorites. Eglin Portal Campsite with its benches and setting is one of the nicer trail camps. On a rise above Blount Creek, which has cool and tasty water, there is many a tree for shade. Our early arrival at camp left us with too much time on our hands. Oh my, what a problem! :-) Did a bit more planning for the Appalachian Trail and then Jon and I discussed an elaborate strategy for our dining assault on I-10.
Forgotten Creek Campsite
Purple Hilltop Majesty