Today was tough. Mentally and physically. Judy and I had stayed at a Clewiston motel last night; she drove me a bit south of town to get started. Then she left for home and I was alone on the trail, carrying about 10 pounds of water in my pack. My first 4.8 miles were along another levee. But today the footing was scruffy, the sun was in my eyes the entire way and I walked into a headwind. So those miles were unpleasant.
After exiting the levee I had a few miles on crushed gravel that were O.K., but then I hit a 10-ish mile road walk into Clewiston. Normally the trail goes up to a levee around Lake Okeechobee, but the Army Corps of Engineers is re-doing the levee so the path is closed. Thus this road re-route. It was hot and sunny today, with the trail in full sun, and I could literally feel my flesh burning, despite reapplying sunscreen many times.
The one pleasant spot came when I entered Clewiston and spotted a sign for homemade ice cream in a convenience store. I had planned to get a soft-serve cone at McDonald's when I passed by, but this was much better. The ice cream was great. I also ran into hiker Lt. Dan here. Later, as the detour led me through Clewiston, I passed Ninja Tortoise on the sidewalk, so we stopped to chat.
At night I picked up some food at Wal-Mart for dinner. The clerk was really interested in my backpack, trekking poles, the trail, etc. It was kind of cute.
I think I've decided on a new trail name to replace Valderi, which no one understands. It's Snowshoe. This name is a reference to my home in the Great White North, plus it's also appropos because one of the reasons I'm stopping on the FL Trail when I am is to compete in my son's Snowshoe Beer Mile in Eau Claire next weekend. I'll ponder it a bit more, but I do think this is the new trail name for me.