Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Walking on Sunshine

I wasn't able to finish the groover segment. Pesky size limits to these e-mails I send.

To make a long story short, sometimes, very bad things happen to otherwise good groovers. The stories are horrifying, scary, nightmare-inducing (but sometimes very funny!) of supposedly real-life incidents.

Alas, for those of you familiar with the Golden Groover story, that story is not in this book--but I think it should be included in the next edition. *nodding*

By the time I finished the book (look for this original copy that went through Big Cypress and now autographed by me on eBay soon!), I felt more relaxed and ready to continue.

I hoped the water and mud would be over soon. I didn't know if it continued all the way to I-75, but I hoped and prayed the water and mud would go away.

And it finally did, about a mile or so out of Ivy Camp. The trail dried up, and my pace picked up, and I started whistling Walking On Sunshine while practically running down the trip. Please, oh, please, stay like this, I begged the trail. Don't go back into the water.

The miles clicked down, and at last I saw traffic barreling down I-75.

I fell on my knees with glee. At last, at last, thank God, at last--I've made it!

I shouted at the cars speeding along the highway, "I'm coming for YOU!"

I signed the trail register at the end, just in case the rangers from Oasis Vistor Center were worried enough about me to check that I made it out okay.

I walked up to the rest area and gave DebBee a call to pick me up. I took off my shoes one last time, knowing they would never go on my feet again, but I saved them a bit longer since I figured DebBee would get a kick out of seeing how thoroughly worn out they really were.

I bought a Coke from a vending machine, then waited for my ride out there in the dusk of the setting sun.

I survived Big Cypress.

Technically speaking, there is more Big Cypress ahead, but I've read that it's considerably drier and easier to hike than the area I already passed through. The worst is behind me.

And, alas, it'll be a bit longer before I finish the rest, since it runs into a certain Seminole reservation that I don't have permission to hike through. I'll skip this next section for now, but as MacArthur once said--I will return.

DebBee and her husband, Steve, picked me up from the rest area about an hour later, and took me home and cleaned me up.

The next morning, DebBee took me out to buy new shoes which will hopefully get me another 500 to 700 miles along the trail before they too need replacing. I took a zero day, my first on the trail.

Life is good. =)

This is Ryan, reporting in from Moore Haven.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I wasn't necessarily throroughly engrossed in your travels until I began reading your adventures in story. You must either jot down during the day what you encounter or have an extraordinary memory.

If you haven't considered publishing something, you have a talent for writing interestingly.

Good luck! I'm quite jealous of your trip. My goal is to through-hike the appalachian trail, but there's always time!

By the way, I'm glad to hear you weren't attacked by the snake you encountered. In the future, don't be fooled by their seemingly motionless erectness, as be assured that does not affect how and when they strike! They're sneaky buggers. Good luck Ryan.

Anonymous said...

I am truly in awe of what you are doing. I certainly don't have the guts to spend quite so much time by myself, much less doing it on foot.

A couple of us are working up some surprises for you here at AQ. Don't read the boards too closely!! So keep up the interesting stories and we'll have a broader base for your surprise.

Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!!


Anonymous said...

So glad that someone is keeping track of you so closely (DebBee). Aren't LBers wonderful?

I've been checking in on your travels when I can and shudder every time you mention the slithery critters you encounter.

Be Safe! Kiddy Writer

Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan, just found your blog. Very cool. Blogging by phone? Slipping into libraries? How do you keep it so fresh? Love the real-time feel vs. Trailjournals. Mind if I link to your site?

Sandra Friend
...your friendly guidebook writer

Debbie St.Amand said...

Well, technically, we didn't clean Ryan up. He did that, himself. We just provided the plumbing!


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you made it out of the muck & mire or was that mire & any case. Keep up the good work. In a moment I will be thru-hiking from my office to my kitchen to get a snack....obviously not as adventerous as your day...but it will do for now.

midlandtrailblazer said...

great to hear you survived! hubby was enjoying your Big Cypress experience -- mostly because it wasn't him!

Anonymous said...

Ryan: You're a wonder! As in, I wonder what compels a seemingly intelligent and very nice person to do this to himself! No, you provide a very good service to those of us who could never see themselves doing something this challenging.
For those of you who are enjoying Ryan's newest adventure, you can still view "Ryan's Great Adventure" as he hiked the Appalacian Trail a few years ago. We used to print it out and read it at the dinner table during dessert! Check out the "directory" box under "Letterboxing News on your "My Page" and read it all!
~~Doublesaj & Old Blue~~

Anonymous said...

I backpacked 15 miles over two days to and from half dome a few years ago, and I was exhausted!I can only imagine the pain you went through in big cypress!!

BTW the light beard looks good on you! You should keep it!