Day 40 - Jacksonville, FL, to Decatur, GA
Run - Florida Link Trail, White Springs, FL
From the eyes of Charlie
I woke up today feeling much more refreshed than usual, which considering that I woke up at 6:10 am, is weird for me! Way back when… when I was a Sagehen, the only thing getting me up for morning practice at 6 am every Tuesday and Thursday was knowing that 17 of my friends were also getting up at the same time to go do the exact same thing and they were gonna give me endless crap if I didn’t show up, on time, at 6:30 am (plus 59 seconds Corey!!). Well, now those days are over, and there are only three other runners who depend on me getting up. You can see the dilemma I encounter now on this trip when it comes to waking up on time!
From the website, and even from the map at the trailhead, it seemed like a pretty standard trail running endeavor. I mean, it was called the Florida National Scenic Trail (which stretches over 1000 miles of Floridian terrain) so I assumed that it would be pretty well marked and well-kept. I was quite mistaken! Only ten minutes in, I ran face-first into a very large spider web that went right down the middle of the trail, with Nico running close behind me. Immediately we stopped. We had sent the girls down the trail ahead of us, hoping to catch up to them after about a mile or so, but instead I had just run straight into a spider web while running on what we thought was the assigned trail. This made no sense! We promptly flipped around and retraced our steps until we came to this big hay field where I let off a nice echo-y “SKEEEEEWWWW!!!!” into woods in the direction of the trailhead. Sure enough, I heard a Bailee “Skeeeew!!!” me back! Reunited once again, we decided to do the rest of the trail as a group this time, knowing that the undergrowth would only get thicker, and the trail more windy and less marked. Plus, it would be much much easier for all of us to make it back in a decent amount of time if we all stuck together. What made this trail trickier than most, was that both it and the private property roads that crisscrossed it were the same level of overgrown, so it was hard to tell which was the public path and which was private. This led to a lot of wrong turns that eventually led us past multiple hunting blinds, and in front of multiple people's toolsheds/garages! After about 20 minutes of ducking under spiderwebs every 50 feet which featured palm-sized yellow garden spiders (not that poisonous as I learned later) smack dab in the middle of them, not to mention taking quite a few more wrong turns, I was quite done swinging the wooden stick in front of me as I led the group through this thickening thicket. Even though we knew how to retrace our steps to the car the entire time, we still didn't know whether or not we were on the Florida National Scenic Trail we had set out to follow. Given all of these facts, we turned around and ran right back to the purple RAV4 and stormed off in search of breakfast! Until next time, Florida National Scenic Trail.
With our muggy adventure over, and after a half hour of driving, we arrived at the homiest little country restaurant and store. In unrelated news, today I rekindled my love for diner coffee. Everybody was practically starving by the time the food arrived so we all cleaned our plates in less than 8 minutes. Everybody except for Nico. As we dutifully sat there, waiting for our bearded compatriot to cut his country-fried steak into smaller and smaller (less than) bite-size morsels, Florida started pouring down on us in sheets and sheets of warm rain. We ran to the car, and sped off to Decatur, GA where we're now spending the night.
Belly full of pasta with homemade sauce, bread, salad, and soooo much hummus I am definitely ready to hit the sack. Next stop tomorrow morning is the famous Stone Mountain, GA which is just a 15-20 minute drive away from our place. See you tomorrow!!!
Stats/facts of the day:
Miles driven: 363
Miles run: 12.9
Elevation gained (feet): 330
Huge, scary spiders encountered: 7
Predicted increase in those with Alzheimer's in Georgia, 2016-2025: 46.2%
Contribute to research to slow that rate here: http://curealz.org/heroes/running-road-trip