The morning mists left my tent soaked yet again. As they began to dissipate with the strength of the rising sun, I saw a lone figure shaking out a rain fly on top of the dike about 300 meters distant. Keeping an eye in that direction, I eventually noticed someone walking my way while I was breaking camp. A few minutes later I met Rich Mayfield, the person I passed along the L3 canal yesterday and whose register entry I had read at Thirteen Mile Camp several days before.
Like me, he was also from California---Laguna Hills. Ex-Navy and fairly well travelled, this was his first long trail. Talking helped pass the time as we travelled through farmland on our way to the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee. We swapped stories of our experiences on the trail, in the military and overseas. I didn't envy his long road walk up the highway from Key West, which had thrashed his feet, forcing him off the trail for a couple of days. However, having spent many years abroad, I did appreciate talking with someone who had also spent time outside the United States. I believe it gives a person a broader view of the world as a whole.
Lake Harbour, a small community to the south of the lake, offered no market that we could find for any type of resupply and the post office has very limited hours. Rich has a problem there because he sent himself a drop-box, but will have to wait until Tuesday to get it. He forgot that tomorrow is President's Day.
After taking a snack break in John Stretch Park, where some kindly RVers gave us cold drinking water to top off our water containers, we climbed up the side of Herbert Hoover Dike. The view did not present the vast waters of Lake Okeechobee as we had expected, but rather, the ring canal and extensive grasses and swampland, which I have to admit was something of a letdown, the reality not matching the image I had created in my mind.
Two hours later we arrived at Clewiston Campsite, which had palms and a strangler fig to camp under and a shaded picnic table at which to sit. We both squeezed our tents in close to the fig's trunk, so hopefully the overhanging limbs will keep the moisture off. Nothing else to do but take it easy for the remainder of the day. A pair of falcons feeding fish to their chicks in a nearby aerie held my attention while Rich was fascinated by a spider making short work of a mosquito in his tent. Our real life Animal Planet. :-)
View from Herbert Hoover Dike