It’s so great to be back on the trail! I ended in January at Prairie Lakes, so next up is an eastern swing through the Orlando suburbs. I decided to forego that for now, as my husband is supposed to go to Orlando for a work event in May; I figured I’d tag along and hike the Orlando area while he’s at his conference. So I skipped ahead to the Clearwater Lake Rec. Area in the Ocala National Forest. Trail Angel Tammy helped me with my shuttle.
The day didn’t start off too well. I had booked a $50 one-way ticket from O’Hare to Orlando (yay!) for a 6:30 a.m .flight, but realized too late that that meant I’d need to take a bus at 1:45 a.m. from Madison to O’Hare. I couldn’t sleep a wink. It seems this particular bus is very popular on Monday (businesspeople traveling for work, plus kids on spring break), so it kept stopping in various cities to pick up people. Every time the bus stopped, the lights went on and there was a general hullabaloo. 
Then the flight was 90 minutes late, and I was delayed another 30 minutes by the rental car people and one wrong turn on the Interstate. I started my 13.8-mile hike at 3 p.m., not 1 p.m. as I’d planned, and busted my butt to get done before it got dark.
I did, thankfully, but I couldn’t soak up as much of the atmosphere as I’d like. But I’ve got 13 more days to hike, and I will make the most of every moment.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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