Really? An update almost FOUR YEARS AFTER your trip? You have got to be kidding!!!? Well, unfortunately, I’m not. I don’t really have a good excuse as to why I didn’t update it, other than I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, but again, no real excuse. So, to my zero (0) subscribers, I’m sorry for leaving you hanging 🙂
Now, as far as the update is concerned, the trip was fantastic! I rolled into camp 34 miles later at Ross Prairie Campground around 5:00 pm just as I finished the last bit of water in my CamelBak. I met my camp host, who’s name escapes me at the moment, but he pointed me in the direction of my site and fresh, drinkable water. After thirty-four miles on the bike getting to the campsite, riding the next tenth of a mile from check-in to the site itself felt like an eternity.
Once at my site, I quickly hung my hammock before it got dark, then I made dinner. Dinner that night was a plain bagel with peanut butter. Not the hot, juicy, cheesy burger I was hoping for, but it fit in my refrigerator-less backpack so I couldn’t complain too much. After dinner, I went to the restroom to clean up before turning in for the night. The facilities were very nice and very clean, but did not have showers so instead I opted for the Shower Pouch. I follow several Overlanders on YouTube and they all swear by the Shower Pouch, so I decided to give one a try. Believe it or not, it was actually quite nice! It was cool and refreshing, did a great job cleaning off the dirt and sweat and is machine washable, which allows you to re-use the 2′ x 1′ towelette, although, keep in mind that after it is washed, it obviously no longer contains the cleaning agent it is originally manufactured with.
After getting cleaned up, it was time to call it a night. I unzipped the bug net and climbed into the hammock. At first it was fairly comfortable, but as time went on, not so much, and this is what leads us to the “Lessons Learned” part of our program. This was the first time I tried to sleep in a hammock and not knowing any better, I tried to get it as tight as possible so I could lay flat, however, after spending the night sliding to the bottom of the hammock, I did some research and discovered that the hammock actually needs to hang lose in order for you to comfortably lay diagonally, which in turn, allows you to lay flat. Lesson learned.
After a not-so-good-nights-sleep, I was awake and ready for breakfast before my return trip. Even though I didn’t sleep very well, I still felt pretty decent and was looking forward to my ride. Unfortunately, the weather was supposed to deteriorate as the day went on, so I made the executive decision to try out the 16 mile paved trail back to the Santos trail head. Under an overcast sky, I packed up camp, refilled my CamelBak and was ready to depart.
The ride back on the paved trail was very nice and thankfully, uneventful. The trail was beautiful. Since it was new at the time, it was freshly paved and twisted and turned through the woods in Ocala. As sad as I was to come to the end of my trip, it was nice to be off the bike and sitting on something other than a tiny little seat.
Although this trip was almost four years ago, it feels like it was yesterday. Due to injuries, other commitments and just life in general, I haven’t been riding nearly as much as I would like to, but once I am able to start running and riding again, I will be planning another trip back out to Ocala. More information on what’s been happening during the past four years in my next entry.