Caught an early flight from O’Hare and got to Prairie Lakes Station by 3:15-ish in the afternoon. I’m baaaack! I didn’t actually get going for another 30 minutes because I was trying to reach someone who could tell me if the gate to this parking spot would be closed at night or not. I knew I wouldn’t be shuttled back here until 8 p.m. or so, and I definitely didn’t want to get barred from my rental car and suitcase. (Must have been a premonition!)
I called the numbers on the Florida Trail maps, but I kept getting transferred to different groups because no one knew. Finally, some guy drove up pulling a boat. I asked him and he said the gate is always left open. Case closed.
Leaving Prairie Lakes Station
So I started hiking where I left off in January. If some of you recall, I didn’t pick up where I left off when I returned in March. Instead of hiking from Prairie Lakes Station to the east around Orlando, I skipped to a spot northeast of Orlando. That’s because my husband was supposed to be at a conference in Orlando now. The thought was I’d hike all day and stay with him at night. But his boss decided to attend the conference instead of him, after I had my plane ticket, so here I am.
The day was sunny and warm (86), but luckily the humidity was low and it was windy. So I had a great time hiking through more palmetto-and-pine woods. My Florida hiking pal,10-Miler (Judy), met me where the trail dumped me onto Highway 441. It was pretty late by then, so I tossed my pack and trekking poles into her truck and jogged the last 2.7 miles up to Forever Florida.
Oh – I’d heard from some people that it’s tick and chigger season here. I’m deathly afraid of ticks, so for the first time I used Permethrin on my clothes and backpack. But this little piece of trail didn’t seem to have any bugs, so one day down, six to go!