Florida Trail (2019-2020) 4: Day of Wading

Beautiful weather today! Soon after the mile 27 marker (which actually marks 21 miles from Oasis Visitor Center), the route became 99% wading with a few sections of mud. The mud was more difficult than the wading, having incredible suction.

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Muddy.

The water level was below my knees most of the time, but still made for tiring walking that required a lot of concentration. The swamp bottom is a layer of muck covering limestone karst with solution holes, so every step requires careful foot placement.

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Sliding my feet forwards was most effective, then I could detect whether one was going to enter a depression. The muck infiltrated my shoes and built up on the insoles, but they were easy to clean by removing them at intervals and swishing them around in the water.

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Oak Hill Camp, which is located on one of the strand’s densely vegetated pine islands, had daytime mosquitoes and they were atrocious. I only stopped long enough for a short rest and snack.

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Black Lagoon, a cypress dome that perhaps got its name from the inkiness of its water in the shade, was gorgeous.

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The Black Lagoon

The Black Lagoon contained alligator flag, which by growing only in deep water indicates where water will remain and alligators will retreat to in times of drought.

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Alligator flag
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I finally saw another hiker! He was heading past Oasis Visitor Centre to Loop Road, the old southern terminus of the FT. After two years on the PCT, I keep expecting hikers to jump out of nowhere, but that’s not the FT experience.

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At small Thank God Island I decided to camp.

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Friend on Thank God Island

Wading through the swamp was such an intense experience that I kept remembering my body movements while trying to fall asleep.

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