Another lovely day in Taylor County. Bah! At least the morning was hazy which kept the mercury from rising too quickly. It was a better day today if only for the fact that we knew we had fewer miles to cover. Several places had trees that provided some escape from the blazing sun as the day lengthened. There were also enough twists and turns in the trail to keep things interesting and us on our toes.
Logging trucks kicked up dust as they rumbled past us on the forest road that runs along Rose Creek. It was here that I picked up a turtle that was crossing the dirt track and carried it to a small bridge. I didn't want to see it get flattened beneath a tire. As I sat down on the bridge to eat lunch, dangling my feet in the coolness below, the turtle's head and appendages slowly emerged from its shell. Sensing freedom, it took two quick steps and dived into the water. Kerplop!
About 400 meters further down the road, I swung by the logging camp on Jon's request to see if they had any water to spare. The foreman said they had plenty in their coolers and that we were welcome to it. I signalled Jon, who was still resting back at the bridge and when he got to the camp he filled up his bottles after taking a few swigs of the ice-cold liquid. Again, for most of the day I stayed ahead of Jon, which may have not been the best idea since he missed an orange blaze and headed down the wrong road at a Y junction, adding a few useless miles to an already long day.
While he was backtracking, I had already set up camp. It was only early evening, so I had plenty of time for a taking a bath and doing field laundry in the Aucilla River, which like all others in these parts was the color of black tea. I can only hope the paper mills aren't dumping any effluent into these waterways. Wish there was better water to drink, but have to make do with what's available. Around the time I was starting to worry about him, Jon finally arrived. He told me of his unfortunate detour. Certainly something he didn't need considering the state of his feet, which are somewhat of a mess. Blister problems. I'm glad to have his company, but I do believe the poor guy is slowly killing himself. What's that saying, "Pain is only the body telling itself it's getting stronger." There's optimism for you. On the bright side, the lower mileage days to come may provide some relief and chance of recovery. As the shadows grew, we enjoyed a little fire, which kept the mosquitoes away and spent some time talking.
The Aucilla River