Yesterday evening after being moved a safer distance from town, we cowboy camped under the eaves of the pavilion on a warm night with no morning dew. Rising early to avoid further scrutiny from the town folk, we went to Carter's Chicken so that I could sample their breakfast buffet. Bacon, sausage patty, scrambled eggs, cheese omelette, french toast, biscuits and gravy: four plates full and all the orange juice I could guzzle for $6.50 was a real steal. Oh no! Perhaps the sherrif should be called. Ha.
Went to the post office right as it opened, but Jon's package had not yet arrived. The postmaster said it would be there some time after noon. To kill the time (Ring. Ring. Hello Deputy, I'd like to report a murder.), we made a second visit to the library to send some longer e-mails, catch up on news and update our trail journal. Swung back by the P.O. at 12:30 to pick up Jon's waiting parcel and then resupplied at IGA before heading out of town. The old rail bed that forms the trail runs right in front of the supermarket parking lot.
Today's miles were horrendous, walking through clear cut areas, the sun beating down on our heads. The only trees left standing were the few with orange blazes on them. One section was spent stepping through waist-high grasses that had grown up since the timber harvest, but by far the worst was the bulldozed section of moguls that were covered with sticker bushes which raked the shins and ankles, drawing blood from the scratches. In the briar patch there was no trail, only the lonely blazed totems to serve as a guide. To make matters worse, mosquitoes were fiercer than normal in some places today.
Arriving at Possum Trot an hour before sundown, we followed the short blue blaze toward camp, but it terminated in another briar patch. The camp on the blue blaze no longer existed. Shocked and disappointed, we backtracked toot sweet to a little swale/depression and set up a nice camp amid the pines. A young gator was sharing our water hole, frogs were croaking and crickets were chirping. In spite of the late start, we had made the mileage albeit, for Jon, with very weary feet.
(A Disclaimer: Lake Butler is a very nice community, one of the best on the trail. I thank those that showed Jon and I kindness at the library, the town hall, the post office and the businesses in town. I also appreciate the Sheriff's Office doing their jobs to the best of their ability. I hope the community will continue to allow thru-hikers to overnight in the city park. For those few citizens that placed calls to the local authorities, please try the direct approach next time. Though unkempt and unshaven, I promise we won't bite. We're not vagrants, but simply people who love nature and the great outdoors. Talk to us. Ask us questions. You may be surprised at the tales we have to tell and discover that we're not as fearsome as we look. :-)