Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Tax Man Cometh....

The next morning, Amanda drove me back out to Holt where I continued walking along US 90 until I reached the trailhead for the Hutton Unit just past the town of Harold. It was an uneventful hike, however, so I'll just leave it at that.

When Amanda picked me up, we took a *long* drive back to Tallahassee to see friends. We laughed, we cried... well, I might have cried. Even on the trail, the IRS is after me. Since my thru-hike is expected to run from January 1st through April 16th, I knew at some point I'd have to square things with the IRS. I wasn't particularly anxious to do so either since I knew I'd be owing them a boatload of money.

So that's what I spent all night working on. And much of the morning as well, I might add, since I didn't finish figuring it all out until about 5:00 in the morning. And I owed thousands. Dreadful thing, taxes.

I paid my dues, though, and submitted my tax stuff electronically.

The next day, I felt extremely tired. Shocking, huh? Amanda and I found a few letterboxes in the Tallahassee area and hung out with more friends. It was my fifth zero day on the trail.

Then it was a long drive back to the trail. Amanda dropped me off at the trailhead near Harold and went off to find us a hotel in nearby Milton.

I crashed into the woods, happy to finally be done with the road walk (for now). Considering the long drive from Tallahassee, I only hiked about 10 miles. This section of trail contains some of the highest points on the Florida Trail, and even I found myself surprised at how far I could see from a couple of the domes. (Calling them mountains or even hills still seems too generous.)

The trail passed through a state park--I forget the name and now that I'm in Alabama, I no longer have my Florida maps and guidebooks to check. I walked past a sign that said it cost $1 for pedestrians to enter and to save the bottom portion of the stub as proof of payment.

Frankly, I thought this was unfair since I didn't plan to stay in the park any longer than it took me to hike through. So.... I didn't pay.

A few miles later on the trail, I was startled by two men in uniform riding bikes in the opposite direction. First, I was surprised to see anyone at all since I rarely see people. Second, I was surprised they were on bikes--it wasn't a bike trail I was hiking on and bikes would have been tough to get through on. And third, they were in uniform.

Damn! All this time, nobody ever verifies all the entrance fees I paid, and the one time I skip it, I'm gonna get busted. Or was I already out of the park? I wasn't sure.

The officers asked where I was going, and I told them about my hike from Key West to Springer Mountain, and that I was slackpacking since Amanda was around to pick me up.

"She driving a maroon colored car?"

I had to think a moment. I would have called the car red, but I guess maroon was close enough. "Yes."

"She's already there waiting for you. It's a ways up, though. Probably about 2 1/2 miles."

Yep, that's about where I expected her to pick me up, but she's definitely there earlier than necessary. Probably had a good book to read or something.

They never asked about any entrance fees, and I never offered them any information about that. =)

We continued on our separate ways, and there was Amanda waiting for me just where we planned.

She took us back to Milton for the night.


Anonymous said...

by the skin of your teeth on that one...........:J
maybe they think you have paid your dues and then some...........
and when you add in your irs dues you really have paid for the month, year........
so what song are you singing these days......
sun is shinning here in mi, so you must be having lots of sun also.....makes the day go much nicer to have the sun shinning on you.

have a great day.


dbltall said...

Dude, quarterly estimates - seriously.
They exist for a reason ;)

For 2008, you probably have a handle on how much AQ is likely to make. After you get back and settled down, take a look at your expenses, make sure you're taking all the deductions that you are entitled to, and start making your quarterlies.

If that's too much trouble, pay at least one-fourth of what your liability was for 2007 each time. That way you will avoid penalties.

(doing taxes this season, because I haven't worked a season since 2005, and I forgot what it was like ;)

Anonymous said...

The "cops on bikes" were a Forest Service Guy and a Fish and Wildlife Guy. They both drove up to the trailhead where I was waiting in their trucks with the light bars and decals on the doors, very official. They got out their bikes and started down the trail, we'll never know why. I was just sitting in my rental car waiting for Ryan to arrive when some folks stopped and asked me what was going on. They saw the official vehicles and thought there was an incident or a rescue happening! :-)This section of trail goes along a popular canoeing river as well, so there was a lot of traffic here on the weekend. Only a few steps away from the trailhead was a canoe "put in/take out" point.

-Amanda from Seattle

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Your title says "The Tax Man Cometh" and there is a picture of a snake on your Atlas Quest widget.

Hike on!
~Twinville Trekkers