Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Hike That Went To Sea

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
At last I came to Jewfish Creek. I crossed over the drawbridge. There was a gas station, restaurant, marina, and a large unfinished poured concrete hotel under construction at this island in the mangrove swamp….

I saw a man standing out front of the marina. He had on an all-white tropics outfit with a short sleeved sport shirt, dress pants, and one of those Panama wide brim hats. Looked like he had just stepped out of a movie. I asked him for suggestions for a place to camp since there were only private business areas and rocky fill amongst the mangroves. He suggested the top of the huge hotel being built. He was named Francis and had a French accent. He said that he was from Quebec and was running the marina….

I took a look at the huge concrete structure, thanked him and climbed up the 6 flights of stairs to the top. What a view! I was really thrilled by what I could see, a long string of lights stretching out towards the southwest along the Keys. That was my destination….my goal.

I had just finished eating supper when Francis called up, “Hey Bob, you wanna some wine and a hot shower? Come on down.”

What a gift, I didn't drink, but the hot shower was like heaven, a newfound luxury. It had been weeks since I had had a hot shower! Sure I sponged off every night and got in the water at times for a swim, but this was the best! What nice people I met.

The top of the unfinished hotel was nice, no mosquitoes and a cool breeze. I had to sleep on the concrete but it was worth it. I saw that the roof hadn’t been finished. It would be real easy to get up in the middle of the night, and being half asleep walk right off the top. I tied my hank of 3/16 thick 500 pound test, nylon rope to a bent reinforcing rod protruding out of the concrete and then around my waist. I was now tethered to the hotel. The moon was out and illuminating the top of the hotel. I could hear the traffic way down below, but up here it was like another world...and with a cool breeze. I crawled into my sleeping bag and drifted off to sleep….

It was early morning, and it seemed that I saw the sunrise from the top of the world. I ate some breakfast, packed up and went downstairs. As I walked by, the restaurant manager said,

“Hey, wait just a sec, I’ll get you a drink of ice water.”

He came back with a large drink cup filled to top with ice and cold water. I thanked him and in two miles, I was on Key Largo and heading down the Keys.

About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or

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