Monday, February 28, 2011
Hike 5: Holt, FL through Crestview to Eglin Air Force Base
On Sunday, February 28, 2011 Five of us find our way back to Holt, FL on Highway 90 to undertake an 18.5 mile hike along two major roads in the Panhandle. It's unfortunate that the Florida Trail has to follow such roads but until the land is acquired to keep it all off of the beaten path this is what one has to do to hike the FT. We begin at 8:30 am in 70 degree weather. It is overcast and that is a good thing as we would be exposed to the sun all day given where we are hiking. At the start is a very interesting chainsaw carving on an old Oak tree that had been struck by lightening. It turns out to be the most interesting thing we pass all day.
We hike through Holt heading due east on Hwy. 90. Most of the hike is just off the edge of the road and we keep an eye out for errant Sunday drivers. at 9.0 miles we pass through Milligan and cross the Yellow River.
As we enter the greater Crestview area we pass a very nice home with a pond complete with ducks and geese. It is about here where I decide my left foot is getting a blister and I change out from my running shoes to my Crocs. The relief is immediate.
We pass through the heart of Crestview and do get a short respite from the Highway by turning down quaint Main Street before connecting up with Highway 85. Unable to fight the urge, I stop at a Tom Thumb Store and buy a soda and a hot dog for that little energy boost i need to keep plowing ahead. We pass over the Shoal River at 17.8 miles and a short 0.7 miles later we reach the entry point to the wooded Eglin Air Force Base portion of the FT. We've covered 18.5 miles at about an 8 minute and 30 second per mile clip. This proves that road hiking is much faster, and easier, than trail hiking as we've averaged over 20 minutes per mile on all of our previos hikes even though they were shorter. True to form Brian and Lickety split (Lynn) arrive ahead of the rest of us by about 10 minutes. Brian and i compare foot blisters and decide that his is larger, about the size of a beverage coaster, but mine is more painfully located, on the very ball of my foot. all in all, it wasn't as bad a hike as I feared and we are ready to enter the woods of Eglin on our next trek.