Date: 28 Jan 2018 07:20PM EST
Location: Camping near mile 478.2
Today's Miles: 0.7
Total Miles: 478.2
Zero day (practically) today, first one this trail.
Spent the morning making breakfast frittatas for the other hikers, and generally bumming around our trail angel's home.
Left around 1030 for the picnic, forced myself to socialize with many of the Florida Trail Association members who were present. Did better than the other four hikers, they all bolted to a nearby lake to avoid the crowds until the food was ready to be served.
The event is a tradition of sorts, ostensibly held for a hiker who now calls Florida his home and has ~50,000 hiking miles under his belt. It's beginning to morph into more of a one day Florida Trail-esque trail days, but Billy Goat and his accomplishments will seemingly always be part of the day.
Ate and drank all sorts of goodies and snacks, left around 1500. While incredibly hospitable, our trail angel has to work tomorrow, so she ended up taking us all back to our various drop off locations tonight.
As soon as we were packed into her car and headed back to the trail, it started *pouring* down rain. Miraculously, the other four hikers were let off with daylight remaining and breaks in the rain. I was not so lucky and was dropped off in the dark in a downpour.
Threw on my rain jacket, hopped out of the car, thanked our trail angel and plodded off into the darkness. I packed a spare beer out from the house that nobody wanted, so I cracked it open and guzzled it down as I walked through ankle deep water.
Walked about a mile into the night until the ground rose up onto a canal embankment. Since it was still pouring rain I figured a little bit of higher ground was warranted since the lowlands below were saturated with water. Embankment is approximately 20ft higher, so it fits the bill.
This is the first time I've had to set my shelter system up in a downpour, which is saying something because I've got over 2,000 miles of hiking with it. Since it's effectively a tarp with a bathtub floor bug netting attached, it was relatively easy to pitch without getting the inside wet. I brought more water into the tent because of my wet clothes than ingressed during setup.
Stripped down, toweled off, blew up my air mattress and put on my dry sleeping clothes for the night.
Here's to hoping this storm gets it out of its system before tomorrow morning, although I guess it doesn't matter too much since my clothes and shoes are already soaked anyway. But for now at least I'm dry, warm, and in for the night.