I woke up early to deer calling to each other pretty close to my camp. I felt great because I slept well. After stretching I broke camp.
As I hiked, I thought about how much I couldn’t wait to change all my gear for a lighter style of backpacking.
I reached a 7/11 mid-morning and went in to get a large sweet tea and the breakfast of champions…buffalo rollers.
I sat down under a shady tree on the side of Old Kings Road and reflected on all the good times I had the past week with the Linkinhoker family. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if you tried. I felt blessed that those are memories and friends I’ll have forever.
After I finished my lunch, I got back to walking, using an approach I learned early on: 1 hour walking, then a break.
However, as I walked a truck pulled over in front of me.
“Where you headed?” the driver asked.
“North toward Saint Augustine. I’m actually backpacking all 50 states though,” I said.
“No kidding? That’s always been my dream. Well sailing around the world,” he said.
“Nice, oh my name’s Seth by the way,” I said shaking his hand.
“George…here I want you to get some lunch on me,” he said and handed me a $5.
“Well hey, thank you,” I said.
“No problem, I like to support people who are doing something different. Well I need to get back on the road. Stay safe and look out for bears,” George said.
I laughed and said I would and continued on my way.
My next break I sat in the shade near an off-road trail on the side of the road.
As I was eating a brownie I picked up from the 7/11, a truck with a trailer pulled over on the opposite side of the road.
“Hey where you headed?” the driver called over.
“North towards Saint Augustine. I’m actually backpacking all 50 states.”
“Solo?” he asked.
I got up and made my way over.
“Yeah and it’s been a lot of fun. Meeting lots of cool people along the way.”
“And Jesus loves you?” he asked referring to my shirt which reads Jesus loves you…but I’m his favorite.
“Yes he does. My name is Seth.”
“Marcus…you know he guides you and if you follow him everything just falls away. Fear, depression, anxiety, everything,” Marcus said.
“I know that first hand man,” I said and shared some of the stories from my trip.
“You know I felt there was a reason I needed to pull over. Here let me see if I’ve got some granola in the back,” Marcus said and reached in the back and he gave me two granola bars, two apples, and two bottles of water.
“Thanks man!” I said smiling.
“No problem,” Marcus said.
We talked awhile more about faith and Marcus told me his story which will be in the book.
After that I thanked him again and said goodbye because he had to get back to work.
I laughed thinking about my pocket change that I put into the tithes at church because I didn’t have any cash.
“God brought me lunch,” I said laughing.
After some more miles and a few more breaks, I came across a Subway.
I went inside and ordered my usual 6″ oven roasted chicken on Italian Herb and Cheese bread and was about to pay when this guy in line behind me goes:
“Can you put his on mine,” he said asking to pay for my sub.
“Yeah,” he said with a smile.
I handed him my business card and told him he was going to be in the story of the day and introduced myself.
“Barry. Yeah, I had a friend in South Africa who hiked from the tip to Johannesburg,” he said shaking my hand.
“Nice, that’s awesome!” I said.
I thanked him again before he had to go and I sat down to the second free lunch I had gotten that day.
After I ate and was feeling really good about the day, I picked up my pack and headed out.
A few miles in I decided to take a break under this wonderfully shady live oak and that in turn became one of my famous naps alongside the road.
I woke up refreshed and hiked till my usual 4pm, which is when I start looking for a campsite.
I found some nice woods and am laying in my hammock excited because even though I’m nearing the end of my journey in Florida, the real adventure is about to begin!
Forever your friend,