When you reach Fort Clinch or Big Lagoon SP, you might be tired and worn-out, but you won't be ready to go home. Mentally and emotionally you will need a few days to ease back into civilization. The shock of suddenly dealing with all of life's bullshit after you've been drifting through the wilderness for a few months is too great, for me anyway. I have experienced this multiple times now, and every time I finish an adventure it seems I'm thrust back into the normal world too quickly.
When I finished the Appalachian Trail, I was on the highway driving back to Florida the next day. Everything about the drive was overwhelming, even the speed of the car. I wish I could have
stayed in the small town near Baxter State Park in Maine for a couple of days and met other hikers as they finished, hung around, talked with them about their hikes, and given myself time to
digest the experience.
Similarly, when I finished the circumnavigational trail, I wish I had gotten a hotel room in Fernandina Beach and hung around town for a few days, gone to the beach, taken the tour of Fort
Clinch. Instead I was on the road and back home that same night.
So don't make the same mistake I did. Let the trip last a few more days. Get a hotel room or camp out with your family at Fort Clinch. Walk around the little downtown. Go to a bar, have a drink,
watch a couple sunsets, and give yourself time to digest everything that you did and what has just come to an end.
When you are back in civilization, one of the first things you should do (after showering) is let the world know about your accomplishment! Email me and the Florida Paddling Trails Association so that we can add you to our thru-paddler halls-of-fame. Send us a picture, tell us about the
trip, and if you blogged the adventure, include your website.