Not much of an inspiring day. Although the cloudless blue of the heavens was a constant overhead, most of the morning was spent on another road walk. The good thing was it passed rather quickly thanks to the pace I set and there were still a couple of wildlife sightings: two deer and a group of seven turkeys. It was Sunday morning so there weren't many people out driving.
When I arrived at Gold Branch State Park, I tried contacting my family, but nobody answered. Perhaps it was too early on the west coast and they were still sawing logs. The people I saw setting up for a party at the communal hall were the first I'd seen in a while. I passed a few more couples out on the Cliff Side Loop Trail, where a smoldering log, burned brush and blackened trunks gave evidence of a very recent fire.
Entered Camp Blanding, a National Guard training center and just like Avon Park, there were no permits or liability forms at the kiosk. It would be a rare occurrence if someone was out here checking for them anyhow. Talk about a misallocation of manpower and resources. Could you imagine that though. "Excuse me, I've been sitting out here in the hot sun for the greater part of a day and you're the only person I've seen, but could you please show me all the proper forms." Ha.
Anyway, despite the lakes in this region, the land looks just as dry as that before Tinsley. The scattered pine and scrub oak look like they'd go up in a flash if a spark was added. Cloudwalker was right when he said some parts of Florida were experiencing drought.
I'm camped above one of the clearwater lakes and the first thing I did when I got here was drop pack and hightail it down to the water's edge. There I took off shoes and socks and plunged in. I needed a swim and my clothes definitely needed a wash. I was a little leery of gators, but I figured if they were a problem, something would have been posted on the sandy beach or near the boat ramp. Feeling much better, I returned to camp and did some chores: washing socks, filtering water, setting up the tent, and checking for ticks. Disgusted to find one of the little bloodsuckers attached to my leg. Had to pull it off using tweezers from the first-aid kit. The little tasks done, I still had plenty of time for reading and planning for tomorrow's hike. At dinner time it was pork and beans with vienna sausages again. I've had so many beans recently that I'm afraid I'll soon be like Mongo in "Blazing Saddles".
The Evening Vittles