Florida Trail (2019-2020) 5: Arrival At I-75

The mosquitoes were thicker overnight than those in the Diamond Peak Wilderness during my 2017 PCT LASH, and that’s saying something. Those that crowded into my vestibule were easy to kill by pressing my tent mesh against the doors, so Florida played witness to a bloodbath in the morning when the mosquitoes and a burst of rain had dwindled and I wanted to start walking.

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More wading in the morning and showers throughout the day, but the sky was mostly blue. I repeatedly put up and took down my umbrella. The weather was hot and walking through the deep, cool water of the cypress domes was pleasant.

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I saw frog (?) eggs hanging cloudlike around stems in the water.

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The main buggy road in Big Cypress marked a transition from wading to periods of wading interspersed with walking on dry ground. My wading footwear had worked perfectly thus far – Altras, Superfeet, no socks – but the no socks part started to irritate my skin when I was walking partially on dry ground and no water was flowing between my flesh and the gritty interior of my shoes. I tried to wash them out well in the puddles a few times as I walked the rest of the way to the interstate.

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Swamp buggy road
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Gate at I-75

The northern rest area has spigots where I cleaned my muddy feet and shoes before contacting an Uber to return to Miami. Coincidentally there was a driver only a few minutes away, so I quickly gathered up my gear and hoped that I didn’t smell too much of swamp.

In conclusion:

What a fantastic hike! I love seeing new ecosystems and this one was very different from most of the others I’ve visited. I’m not sure whether the entire Florida Trail is on my radar yet, since it includes lots of road walking and clean water is scarce in areas, but if I have the opportunity to do more swamp hiking I definitely will.

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