SATURDAY NOV 17 – Kickoff! 100 plus hikers milling around waiting for the event to begin, plus two reporters – our old friend Willie Howard from the Palm Beach Post plus another new face from the Sun-Sentinel, Maria. They joust for interviews with Cliff Moody as the throngs sign in.
Paul Cummings sticks to his 8 AM kickoff with bullhorns blazing and an unveiling of the Gateway Community sign commemorating Pahokee’s new status as a Florida Trail Gateway Community. Mayor Sasser announces that Pahokee celebrated its 85th birthday this week – and no media came – and now has the lowest crime rate in Palm Beach County. Hooray for this tiny city that’s turned itself around since the devastation of the hurricanes of 2004.
It’s a splendid morning, with blue skies and sunshine and a chill wind to our backs. The unusual gathering of ‘gators – we pause to ponder why so many lurk in the shallows, and marvel at a head count of over 90 during the course of the 12.5-mile hike to Port Mayaca. The narrow rim canal is dry on the road side of the dike, and its secret is finally unveiled – it’s only a foot deep, if that. With no water, moonvine flows in great green rivulets across its sandy bottom.
I didn’t bring enough water, but Beth bailed me out. Still, the sun and the work of walking wore me thin, and I collapsed into a puddle upon return to the campground. Boy, am I out of practice. That’s what comes from working behind a desk…