A beautiful starry night silhouetted the long-leaf pines around camp. The warbling and twitter of birds served as an alarm clock forcing me out of my tent. A great walk this morning to Marsh Point made even better by the wide variety of trees and plants growing near the trail. Again, its a fringe area only a mile or two from the Gulf of Mexico. We had some swamp tromping/marsh marching, going from wooden walkway to wooden walkway, the spaces in between trying to find anywhere dry so as not to get the feet wet or sink ankle deep in the black mud.
Marsh Point was definitely one of today's highlights. Lots of palm, a nice camp set back a little from the fields of marsh grasses, and the open waters of Oyster Bay connecting to the greater gulf. As I walked along the edge of the marsh, hundreds if not thousands of small crabs were on a forced retreat, fleeing from my presence.
The afternoon was spent among the pines of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Apalachicola National Forest. Water ran scarce because all natural sources were either salty, stagnant or dry. We made a side trip to a shellfish weigh station on US 319. There's a hose in back where hikers can fill their bottles with water. There's also a Coke machine out front if the H20 won't do. We covered ground pretty quickly weaving in and out of the trees and crossing jeep/forest roads.
I love the Sopchoppy. It's today's other highlight. The sandy trail, the little side streams, the flowering shrubs and trees, the gently flowing waters, the light and shadows reflected in their depth. After a search for a suitable campsite, we've actually set up camp right next to the bridge. The water is dark, but cool and tasty. Taking advantage of that coolness, we both had a field bath, pouring water over our head and shoulders, using camp towels to wash away the trail dust. Returning to camp, Jon built a small fire and we sat there staring into the embers, reflecting on the trail experience so far.
March of the Crabs
Reflections of Turner