“ANCLOTE, an island on the southwest coast of Florida; also, a river flowing into the gulf at that locality, which is also called, in the Seminole dialect, the Est-has-hotee.”From Origins of Place Names and Anclote Images
Mere steps away from the trail, the morning sun was blackened by a veil of leaves and intertwined branches. Inside, the air was noticeably cooler, a welcomed relief from central Florida summer heat. The twisting waters and buzz of mosquitoes were the only sounds. No longer was I in a wilderness park with other runners, cyclists, and hikers. I was simply in the wilderness!
To follow the river further, I decided that it was best to cross and move westward. Thankful for long legs and, at the moment, lower water levels, I managed to hop across without getting too wet. I felt more free than ever before. It was difficult to believe that I was in the same park, now that I was without trails to follow and signs marking the way. Only the riverbeds and fallen trees directed my path. I could not help but think of the early settlers of this area. At one point in time not too long ago, this is what my home was like. No fences. No traffic. No footsteps but your own.
I felt like I had traveled far, crossing the river multiple times, and occasionally standing in awe of this seemingly undiscovered part of the park. When I made my way back towards the poweline path, I was shocked. I had traveled no more than 100 meters down the maintenance road, and even that was a generous estimate.
There is still so much more to explore, I thought.
I'll be back tomorrow.
Oh, and I finally broke in my new shoes. After a week of exclusive road running, they are now covered in the sand, grit, and brown waters of central Florida. It's about time.