Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hiking in St. Marks

Last Sunday Andrew and I went hiking out near the St. Marks light house. You can view our walk here and pictures starting here and here.
We started around 1:30 or 2:00. We brought plenty of sun screen and deep woods off. The mosquitoes are really bad because of all the rain brought in by the tropical storms. Andrew wore long pants, which would have been a good idea for me to have done as well. I brought a water-bottle filled with water and ice. Andrew brought his man-purse thingy with his water bottle.
The mosquitoes surrounded us, but the off did a pretty good job of keeping them away. It is still annoying when the buzz around your head and in your ear, even if they aren't landing on you to bite. Next time I'm going to wear my safari hat.
At the start of the trail we saw a deer and a place where hogs had been digging in the ground looking for food.
Along the way we saw a few more dear, a large vulture flying low (if he was waiting on us to kick the bucket, he left disappointed) and panther prints. About 3/4 of the way down there was a primitive camping spot as well.
Just after the camping spot the trail continues as an unmaintained trail. This part was actually much more pleasant. Because nobody had knocked down any trees to make way for the trail, there was lots of shade no grass. The problem with a maintained trail is that if it is not maintained enough it gets grown in.
In the unmaintained part we found a banana spider. These are very common, but right as we looked at it a bug landed in its web. It ran over and began eating it immediately. Andrew got plenty of pictures of the event.
The trail ended at the St. Marks River. It was absolutely beautiful. We where pretty tired by this time. We would have been happy to end there, but walking back our only option.
As soon as we left the unmaintained part, and got back to the maintained trail Kim called. I was gone a lot longer than she expected. Right after my call Andrew got a text message. We both thought it was ironic that we where out in the middle of the woods in nowhere land and getting calls and texts on our cell phones.
The walk back was pretty rough. On major problems with trails that go East-West is that the shade of the trees doesn't really hit the trail that well at any time of the day.
The very last stretch we ran back as much as we could. The mosquitoes where getting worse, and the bug spray wasn't keeping them completely away. We where too tired to run too much, but we mustered all the running we could. Our water has also run out and we where both really thirsty.

The trip was a real success. I enjoyed every minute of it, even when I was tired, thirsty, and being eaten alive. As much as I enjoy being out in the woods, a seven-mile track through the woods can really make you appreciate all we have. I was very happy to take a nice-long shower and lay down in a soft bed with my AC blasting.
The worst part was finding two ticks on my feet. I really can't stand those things.