There was a full moon last night, but it was unusually silent. I can only attribute the lack of noise to the fact that I was no longer in the middle of the swamp and there might not be as much animal life around here. One thing there was plenty of ---ants! During the night an ant colony ate a few dozen minute holes in the bottom of my tent and set up shop in the right corner. I had to shake out my gear piece by piece to get rid of them all. Luckily, I escaped with only a small number of bites because the few I got really packed a punch. Ouch! I suppose, like me, the ants found the inside of my tent a warm and dry place to escape the morning dew, which had absolutely drenched the outside. Had to pack it away sopping wet.
It was a nice walk on a grassy track through scattered pines to the west feeder canal, but that's when civilization encroached. Passing cars kicking up dust on the dirt road marked the beginning of the two-hour trek down West Boundary Road, which leads to the Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum housing a history of the Seminole people. It appeared to me as if the Seminoles, a once proud nation, are now serving the breakfast tables of America with citrus, for as I passed along the canals and ditches there was grove after grove of oranges and grapefruit. Another three hours on the shoulder of CR 833 revealed the other mainstays of the South Florida economy---cane fields and cattle ranches. At this time of year some of the fields were being burned, so in the distance I could see plumes of gray and white smoke rising up like a mushroom cloud to meet the sky.
To combat the loneliness of the road I travel, a good deal of time was taken up thinking of friends, family and loved ones. Singing songs also boosted my spirits and helped the time go by.
Another two hours spent along the Deerfence Canal and it was time to think about finding a camp for the night. At the Junction of the Deerfence and the L3 a big construction project was taking place. A couple of canal workers greeted me with a cold bottle of water and some wildlife stories. One of them went to his truck and returned with an 8x10 photo he'd printed off the Internet. It pictured a gigantic gator running across a road with a full-sized wild boar stuffed in its jaws. If I had the misfortune of coming across such a behemoth, I wouldn't stand a chance. For some reason, as they were issuing their dire warnings, I began to feel like Dorothy in the forest of Oz. "Gators and panthers and bears. Oh my! Gators and panthers and bears. Oh my! Follow the orange-blazed road. Follow the orange-blazed road. Follow follow follow follow follow the orange-blazed road." Ha. I figured that since I'd made it past Big Cypress, I'd stand a pretty good chance of surviving along the canals. With that in mind, I found a nice little spot in a turn out just off the road and settled down for the night.
West Boundary Road