From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

From Black Water Swamps to White Sandy Beaches

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Indian Prairie Campsite to S-65E Lock---February 23rd

At night I heard the noise of lowing cattle and the too close for comfort grumble of a gator. How far does an alligator stray from its watery home when the sun is down? I have no idea. The palm fronds did a good job of keeping the dew off the tent, so I was actually able to pack it up dry, a rare occurrence on this trip. This morning along the trail it was the millipede march as dozens of the multi-legged creatures were crossing from one side of the path to the other. Banks of mist drifting with the wind kept things relatively cool. Sometimes I was walking in thick fog while at others the sun shone through revealing a beautiful azure sky.
Later in the day I passed Buckhead Ridge, which was separated from the trail by a canal that made the waters of Lake Okeechobee accessible. It looked like a little country Venice with water ways for streets, a few small boats motoring towards the lake's open waters perhaps heading out to a favorite fishing spot. From the bridge over the Kissimmee River I caught a glimpse of the vast expanse of blue representing the nation's largest freshwater lake. It's about the only view of its kind on the Florida Trail's Western Route of Lake Okeechobee. On the other side of the bridge, I stopped by Okee-Tantie Recreation Area, picking up some snack items to supplement what will be pretty limited supplies for the next week or so. Bought a USA Today to catch up on the news I've missed during the last ten days.
Finally, it was time to turn away from Okeechobee and make the long trek along the levee following the course of the Kissimmee. By this time the day had turned hot and humid, so I took a long respite at a water control structure, sitting on a palate on the shady side of a utility shed reading from the pages of my book. As soon as the heat of the day had passed I made the short walk to the S-65E Lock and spillway. Camping under an oak at the junction, I looked up at the branches draped with Spanish Moss and wondered whether they would keep me dry or drench me. One observation I did make today is that almost everybody in these parts has a big pickup truck pulling a boat trailer since that is about the only kind of vehicle I saw on the roads.

Buckhead Ridge

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