I arose with the sun and headed into town. It had been a cloudy and rainy weekend. On and off storms. Palm Sunday Mass was at 8:30am. I made the 3 mile trek along earthy service roads to Marianna.
After Mass, I was approached by a lot of people regarding the pilgrimage. They all seemed interested. I must have stuck out like a sore thumb or something. Maybe it was my backpack. A few people gave me some money. I met some friends: Paula, Jeannette, and Chandra. We hung out and chatted over coffee and donuts at the parish hall.
Chandra offered me a ride into town. I grabbed a quick bite to eat as she ran an errand, and then she doubled back and gave me a ride back to the state park. Wow! That saved me a lot of walking.
Chandra walked the Appalachian trail in 1989. A lot of people helped her out along the way. She told me she always wants to help people out to give back. She gave me some almonds, rice crackers, and carrots. Chandra volunteers her free time visiting the imprisoned. We talked a bit about how special that is, and before I knew it I was back at the state park.
I decided to spend one more night in the park. I’ve slept in a stable at the horse camp to stay dry. The weather cleared up and Sunday was a warm and pleasant day. It has been really nice staying at the Florida Caverns!
Amanda, a park Ranger, really helped me out upon my arrival here. She gave me a reduced rate and a great camp spot!
Chris, the park manager, saw me walking from town on Saturday and offered me a lift back to the camp grounds. He gave me a quick tour of the fish hatchery in his pickup. He’s been working as the manager for the Florida Caverns State Park for 8 years and lives with his family on a property inside the park.
On Sunday I took a tour of the caverns. They were crazy cool!
Rob and Barb were very friendly. Upon meeting them they gave me a compression sleeve for my knee! We were neighbors for a few days. On my last night we shared a meal. Rob heated up wursts on the grill, and I brought over some peppers and a box of medjool dates for dessert.
They have been living out of their RV since last May. Rob and Barb travel the country and have lived all around the world: the Bahamas, Panama, and Colombia. They even lived on a sail boat! They informed me they hope to get involved in some sort of missionary work in the future.
Rob gave me some bug spray and a pair of hiking shoes! When I thanked them they told me, “we’re just doing what anyone would do.” I couldn’t thank them enough.
I spent my last night swinging in my hammock in the stable. The clouds had cleared, and the blue moonlight illuminated the camp ground. The temperature dipped low, and I hid deep inside my sleeping bag. I got a good nights rest.
Dylan, this is an amazing journey of faith and endurance. Best of luck. Your Mom and I were classmates at Newton Catholic High School, and renewed our friendship years later when we moved to Medway in 1999. Her spirit is clearly with you on this adventure. Have you set up a Go Fund Me or similar account? And if not, is there a good way to send a few bucks? A couple old classmates and friends of your Mom have asked how they can help out.
Thanks for the message. It makes me happy to be in touch with my mom’s friends! Thanks for the kind words. I know we all miss my mom a lot!
I am not currently seeking donations, but understand people want to help and be a part of the journey. I set up a GoFundMe a little while ago for those who wish to make a modest donation. Sharing a meal with a homeless person is a great way to be a part of the journey too!
Here is the link: GoFundMe.com/mercyrun
A little bit goes a long way. Will do my best to pay it forward with these small donations.
Hope you are having a good day. Let’s be in touch.