Once you hit Clewiston you’re walking along the dikes around Lake Okeechobee. Or rather, you’re theoretically walking the dikes. In practice there’s a lot of construction being done on the dikes and in the meantime the trail is routed onto the roads.
I stayed in Clewiston a couple nights babying my feet, then headed out on the 5 mile roadwalk out of town to the dikes. The mostly-paved path along the dikes has a canal on one side and the lake (or lake-adjacent wetlands) on the other. Lots of nice herons and egrets out and about. Camped a few miles shy of the next town. Was passed by several thru-hikers along the way.
Stopped briefly in Moore Haven to replace the spoon I left behind in Clewiston, then settled in for the next long roadwalk. It’s 11 miles, largely on a high-speed two-lane highway with limited shoulder and lots of trucks. My blisters were doing better but the pounding pavement was wearing on my feet and the traffic was wearing on my nerves. A few miles before the Lakeport a trail angel stopped to see how I was doing – she gave we a lift into town, bought me lunch, then gave me a tour of the next stretch before dropping me off at the dike. The roadwalk had worn me down so running into Betty was a tremendous help. A mile later along the dike and I was at my campsite.
The next two days were all along the dikes and were fairly short – just about 10 miles each day. Betty had previously dropped a few gallons of water off at the first site so thankfully there was no need to drink the canal water. The sunrises and sunsets along the lake were fantastic, and there were actually a few spots where you can see the lake itself rather than just the wetlands. A few gators and lots of birds.
Next up was the walk into the town of Okeechobee. Normally the trail avoids this town but construction on the dikes has led to a 4.5 mi bike path plus 12 mile roadwalk into and out of Okeechobee. I walked the first part into downtown, then stopped at a hotel for a couple nights to let my pounding feet relax and to resupply for the next stretch. I’m carrying way to much food so I need to rethink my supplies going forward.
WordPress continues to make pics difficult so I’ll add some in another post.