Date: 25 Feb 2018 06:39PM CST
Location: Camping near mile 1088
Today's Miles: 10.8
Total Miles: 1088
Short day today.
Woke up at the fire station, slowly packed up. No rush since the end is near.
Walked out of the town of Naverre Beach and onto National Parks Land, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Santa Rosa Area. Trail lead off the road onto the beach, and it was pretty fantastic.
What a way to end a hike. Kicked off my boots, threw them atop my pack, and walked barefoot for a couple of miles in the surf.
The Florida Trail is apparently the only national scenic trail that walks on a beach, and it was a pretty unique experience to do so. Took advantage of it and went for a swim to cool off since the sun was beating down even though it was still early morning.
Arrived at Opal Beach and took advantage of the outdoor showers, cleaning my hiking clothes and cooling off once more. Sat under a roofed picnic area and dried off, eating some rehydrated instant rice and soy sauce.
Just as I was packing up to leave, a huge bank of clouds rolled in. Out of nowhere, the wind gusted, sandblasted me in the face, and threw me and all my stuff off the picnic table. It was pretty intense.
With miles to do, I hiked off into the storm. While it only lasted around twenty minutes, the wind was incredibly strong and the rain soaked me through. Just as quickly as it arrived, it was gone, and I was walking once again in beautiful bright sunlight.
Trail cut from the beach into dunes on the other side of the sound by the bay, and I walked until just after 1300, arriving at the only campsite between Eglin and the northern terminus.
Even though it was pretty early, I stopped for the day and set up my tent. I don't usually stop and just relax, so it was a change of pace. It was very warm in my tent because of all the sun and lack of wind in the small grove of trees I set up in, but the biting sand flies were particularly bad so I chose the tent.
Crashed for a short nap in the heat, waking up to another hiker showing up. Same guy I walked all day with a week ago, he decided to take a short day as well and head to the terminus tomorrow.
We chatted as he set up for the night, talking about all the things that begin to creep back into your head after a long hike. Life, happiness, finding meaning, etc.
Lying in my tent listening to the wind and crashing waves. One more day.