Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FLORIDA TRAIL JOURNAL AROUND LAKE OKEECHOBEE; Foggy Morning, 'Goodwill' Ambassador, Unexpected Visitor Greet Hiker along Florida Trail

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FLORIDA TRAIL JOURNAL AROUND LAKE OKEECHOBEE; Foggy Morning, 'Goodwill' Ambassador, Unexpected Visitor Greet Hiker along Florida Trail

Article excerpt

Byline: Lynn McNutt

Jacksonville native Lynn McNutt will be hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail from Big Cypress National Preserve west of Miami to Pensacola and sharing her adventures through weekly journal entries and photos in the Times-Union's Outside section. An avid adventurest who loves exploring the outdoors by land or sea, McNutt is a graduate of Terry Parker High School, Florida State University and George Washington University and has been on the faculties of Auburn, Miami, Flagler College and Jacksonville University.

I made it around Lake Okeechobee and up most of the Kissimmee River! This is proving to be harder than I ever imagined. Wind, rain, fog and record low temps have slowed my already slow pace. My ankle is getting better, but favoring it has caused some knee issues. Oh well, at least those pains keep my mind off the blisters, chaffing and bug bites.

I learned that Lake Okeechobee and the area surrounding it was the site of some of the oldest trade routes among Native Americans and that the area around Fisheating Creek, which flows into the west side of the lake, is the site of possibly the earliest evidence of agriculture in North America. I thought that was pretty darn cool. There is definitely something ancient feeling about the place.

One day outside of Moore Haven, I awoke at the bottom of the levee to the most eerie, dense fog I have ever experienced. Trees would appear, then disappear in the fog swirls. I half expected a Calusa Indian tribe to appear out of the mist and give me a necklace of alligator teeth. I was walking in a real-life Florida Brigadoon. A Floradoon.

I packed up my wet tent, put on every article of clothing I had, trudged back up to the top of the Herbert Hoover Dike and kept walking. The winds proved to be vicious and at one point picked up my large rear end and sent me down the levee about 10 feet. …

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