Friday, February 1, 2008


The next morning, Amanda drove me out to the Seminole reservation once again, this time with the intention of hiking south from where I started the day before to the I-75 rest area. Only the first three miles or so would be in the reservation, along a bad dirt road that looks like it is rarely ever visited, and I was optimistic I'd see no one along the way who would challenge my being there.

I was a bit sad, however, to be hiking southbound. I never hike southbound. I did the entire Appalachian Trail northbound. I'd done the entire Florida Trail (until today) northbound. It seemed kind of wrong to do this section southbound, but it would be easier for Amanda to wait at the rest area on I-75 to pick me up than on the reservation where I'm not supposed to be hiking. Not to mention that little technicality my book mentions that says you only need a permit if you enter the reservation on foot. By hiking southbound, starting in the reservation, I can honestly say I did not enter the reservation on foot. I left it on foot--twice, in fact--but I never entered on foot.

Amanda dropped me off at the junction of the well-graded gravel road and the badly maintained dirt road, and I touched the small tree with a pink ribbon on it, then started hiking south.

I touched the pink ribbon, because I used that to mark my starting point the day before, touching it before hiking north. By touching it on my way south as well, I could be sure of not missing so much as one single footstep across Florida. =)

The road, as predicted, contained no people or cars, and I reached the reservation boundary after about an hour. The reservation was done! I was free of them! Free at last!

The trail continued to follow dirt roads all of the way to the rest area, and I made much better time than I expected. I knew north of I-75, Big Cypress wasn't as wet or muddy than to the south, but I had no idea it would be completely dry and on dirt roads the entire time!

I told Amanda I expected the hike to take about five hours, which included a half hour break for me to rest. Instead, I hiked all the way through, non-stop, in three hours.

Predictably, Amanda was off sight seeing somewhere, and not waiting at the rest area for me. I called her from a payphone--the same one I called DebBee when I needed her to pick me up--and when she answered, I asked, "Can you bail me out of jail?"

She didn't believe me for a moment, though, but said she was about an hour drive away and she was on her way.

I bought a Coke from the vending machine, the same vending machine I used while waiting for DebBee, except I selected the Coke from A-4 this time. (I got it from D-1 while waiting for DebBee. I like to shake things up when I can.)

Then I sat at the picnic table with the least bird poop on it, and started typing away my adventures.

Amanda pulled up about an hour later, with a large burrito and chips for lunch, and I dug into them while telling her about the hike.

It was still early in the afternoon, however, and Amanda asked if I wanted to hike more today. "Yes," I answered.

We drove back through the reservation, to the northern boundary where I had stopped the day before, and continued hiking. North, this time, after slapping my hand against the street sign that I used to mark the end of my hike the day before.

Amanda drove up the road about three miles, about an hour worth of hiking, and occupied herself with reading, cross stitching, and sleeping until I caught up to her.

The road walk was tediously boring, with large vehicles speeding by which is never fun. The hike southbound was rather nice, with no traffic and scenic views. The road had nothing compelling to enjoy.

I found Amanda, parked off the side of the road about an hour later, and told her I'm good for another hour of hiking. "Meet near the intersection with highway 835?"

And so the road walk continued, with vans packed full of migrant workers driving by all afternoon. I wondered how many of them were illegal, suddenly proud that I was no longer in the reservation and on the right side of the law. =)

Once again, Amanda was waiting, and offered a cold drink from an ice chest and ask if I wanted to continue on.

I said no to the drink, but did continue on, this time a couple of miles down Highway 835 where the road and the trail finally splits into two different directions.

This segment provided a small dirt path parallel to the main road, alongside a canal, and I walked on the dirt path happy to finally be away from the speeding vehicles.

About 45 minutes later, I found Amanda, parked behind a bush. I walked around it, pounding the top of the post behind the car to mark the end of my hike for the day, then jumped into the car, startling Amanda who had not seen me behind the bush or at the back of the car. =)

It was now sunset, and since the road split from the trail, it was no longer convenient for me to hike further this day.

We drove back to our hotel in Clewiston. The day was done.

Reporting in from Christmas, FL. =)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mini-heart attack when I read your title for this one! Hmmph, I guess you were trying to shake us up a little with the thought we'd be left in Wassa's care for longer than planned.

Glad you're doing well.
Knit Wit

Amanda from Seattle said...

"Arrested" is an old flight attendant practical joke, of course I wouldn't fall for that! When you are on a layover and you don't stay with the rest of the crew (I often do not go to the hotel with the crew when I am in cities where I have family and friends to visit or in Seattle where I go home)--You will leave your number with the Capt or the Lead F/A, in case there is a change in the flight schedule the next day. You could almost guarantee that you would get a call at 3 am asking if you could Bail someone out. ALWAYS as a joke! Doesn't happen so much anymore because no one falls for it and after 9/11 everyone became so much more serious and there is not as much joking going on as there was in the past.

-Amanda from Seattle

Anonymous said...

i am so glad that you have the reservation portion of the trail done. and that it didn't cause too much delay in your hike. it is always a nice feeling to be able to cover more than you thought was possible in a day.

yeah, the title and not hearing from you in many days......that did have me concerned. so glad we are not in need of bailing you out of a jail.

keep up the good work, and keep us informed for as long as you can. stay safe and dry.


Stacy Christian said...

Ryan, you are so naughty! Too much time on your hands, and brain, during those long hours hiking alone. Just remember the story of the boy who cried "Wolf!".
Glad you are safe. I would find using the same payphone and vending machines depressing-like I wasn't making any progress, but going in circles.
One month down!

Anonymous said...

Just about a week between posts and a title that starts, "Arrested." Of course I said to myself. He did it while he was walking through the reservation. I had great thoughts of lights flashing, guns drawn, and Ryan pinned against the police car. I'm almost disappointed now. :)

Anonymous said...

Holy time warp, Batman! Clewiston & Christmas are pretty far apart. What happened in between?


Anonymous said...


Going south isn't so bad. Treebeard form Tolkien's Lord of the Rings says it best - I always like going south. Somehow it feels like I'm going downhil...


Anonymous said...

I nearly had a heart attack myself! Good grief!

Thank you Ryan for keeping us updated.

♥ Lady Lilac

Anonymous said...

Dang! I saw the word "arrested" and was cursing you for not calling me when you needed a lawyer! Then I read the post and called you a silly ninny for the false alarm.

More dead cow stories, please.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, my thoughts too(plus a near heart attack) Isn't a good wroter supposed to grab his audience right off the bat?
Good job.

Amanda, thanks for clearing this all up for us.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love the thought of going south. It really does sound as if you are hiking downhill. :)

Tell Amanda not to forget to lock her car doors. You never know what kind of riff raff might try to sneak in! :D

Hike on!
~Twinville Trekkers