It feels good.
I’ve reunited with Jeff, and Mainship Many Moons, at Hontoon Island State Park in central Florida after three months on land. If you’ve been following the journey of Many Moons since we left Lake Superior last July to start The Great Loop, you might have wondered when – or even if – I would return. I wondered myself! I committed to a week, then a month, then another month until it turned into four. (Most Loopers, or people who do the 6,000-mile Great Loop, commit to the whole thing at the outset although they may do it in stages.) I began the Loop mainly as a favor to Jeff but have been trying to “feel it out” on my own terms. I knew Jeff would undoubtedly find a way to complete it without me, since he generally finds a way to complete whatever he starts. So while on land, I asked myself honestly: Do I want to return to the boat for myself rather than for him?
Well, here I am. So, yes. It’s my trip, too, and I missed it. I missed the boat! The Loopers. And, of course, Jeff.
But I was glad for the break. I needed that, too.
Jeff was just fine without me, of course — more than fine. He’s traveled several hundred miles, with two other first-mates, until arriving at this park that we visited by car two years ago. (We rented a houseboat for three nights to explore the St. Johns River, which was a kick.) After his son left from here in January, Jeff began volunteering at the park and receives a free slip for his work. He may be one of the most productive volunteers they’ve ever had, which doesn’t surprise me a bit since I’ve been working on projects with him for years.
I’ve been here for three days, in the company of Jeff’s visiting brother (with his wife) and my girlfriend who accompanied me down here. I’ll catch you up on some of the highlights of those days in coming posts. For now, the story of our arrival.