A little over a week ago I closed on 30 acres in north Florida. The land is down 20 miles of one lane mud track and you don’t get there without a fairly robust 4wd. As it is I managed to get stuck twice to the point that I had to use the winch to get out and stopped once to winch out a stuck fellow traveler in a 4wd F150. In two days I saw a total of two people. One was the driver of the F150 the other was a nice fellow that drove by on an ATV while I was checking maps and GPS.
After a couple of hours of wandering around and getting stuck I finally found my land. Yes, I bought it sight unseen. Still I’m happy with it.
My Google Earth printouts were helpful in a way but really didn’t reflect life on the ground. Where it showed wide sand roads I was driving on tracks overgrown with vegetation and in some cases the road was so overgrown that you just powered through and hoped that you didn’t drive into a swamp.
This is the road on my property looking North. My property line runs down the right side. This was taken before the afternoon thunderstorm.
The road south isn’t much different and yes, it’s as narrow as it looks. Note the puddle in the lower right hand corner. It grew to about 5 times that size after the rain.
After finding what looked like a good place to park I backed the Suburban in and unloaded a bit. My idea was to work at clearing a bit and camping for the night. Boy howdie was I misguided.
I started out well enough about 11 in the morning. By 12:30 I was starting to feel the heat and decided to put up a tarp. By the time I had it up it was nasty hot and I was sweating quarts. Then I became slightly dizzy and nauseous. I settled down under the tarp and sat for three house guzzling ice water and wondering if I had brought enough.
After about 3 hours of relentless sun the heat finally started to break. At one point I had stood up, brushed the tarp with my head and it felt like I had a hot iron stuck on my head. Note to self, net time use two tarps one under the other.
At 4 pm the thunderstorm hit and the boy and I were in the truck, windows cracked and dozing off. At 4:45 the slow steady rain came and we slept till 5:30. At 5:35 I stepped out of the truck into 6 inches of water. Maybe the swamp I had parked next to should have clued me in ya think?
So, the boy and I went exploring. Imagine my surprise when I found a high dry area about 100 feet away. Quick like a bunny I was back to the truck and loading up. Fortunately I didn’t need to use the winch to get out.
By the time I relocated and set up camp, it was dark. Not much of a day of exploring all in all. Sitting by the fire I had plenty of time to go over all the mistakes I had made getting ready for this day. Though the list was long it was nothing compared to the incredibly miserable night I had ahead of me.
I had brought a couple of the foam pads used for ground cover when camping. Should be good for sleeping in the back of a Suburban, right? Right? Wrong! Those things compress down to paper thin and you feel nothing but unyielding steel under you. I didn’t bring a pillow so I used a couple of rolls of paper towels. Wonder why they call them rolls? Because every time you move your head they roll somewhere. After searching for them about 40 times I gave up. Oh, I didn’t bring a blanket. It’s Florida for Petes sake. You don’t need a blanket do you? Yes you do. A plastic tarp will work as sort of a blanket. But don’t expect it to keep you to warm.
I would like to say that the next morning I was up early and full of energy just raring to go. I rolled out sore, tired, and totally groggy. Getting the fires restarted helped, coffee helped, still I was tired. After a bit I was ready and get in about an hour of exploring before the sun started to heat up. After the day before I decided to pack it up and head out.
I asked the boy his opinion. He was ready for a Holiday Inn.