I knew it was going to be a rough day when I only got less than an hour continuous sleep with paranoia waking me up thinking I was pig food. I paddled the 3 miles through the alligator infested water back to the Gulf. Even though the tide was going out it was still hard to paddle down the river. When I rounded the bend and hit the gulf it was miserable. The wind was blowing hard directly from the east into my face. The waves were 3-4 feet. The only angle I could go to prevent from getting rolled caused about every other wave to splash water directly on my face and soak my body, while slowly filling my boat. My hands were screaming from a mixture of cold and pain of gripping my paddle with every stroke. I could see Rock Island off in the distance where I was going to camp but it never seemed to get closer. When I would stop to pump water out of my boat I would float back about 100 yards off course. After several hours I finally made land fall completely broken both physically and mentally. The no-see-ems were eating me alive. I got my dry clothes on and was able to get my tent up and climbed into my sleeping bad wanting to die. After a while the sun set and I felt a little more human like. Someone had left some fire wood at the campsite and I was able to get a big fire going hoping to bring heat back to my body. As I sat there staring at the fire, reminiscing about how terrible my day was, I realized that it was Veterans Day. That served as a huge piece of humble pie. I’m out here putting myself in these situations for my own personal reasons. I know that hopefully it’s helping others see that there is a good life out there. But while I’m fighting all the elements, I didn’t have bullets flying at my head. I could make a fire to get warm and not have to worry about giving away my position. I can go to sleep tonight and rest my bones not having to worry about someone sneaking up to killing me. No matter how miserable of a day I had, it’s nothing compared to what our soldiers are going through. And if it wasn’t for our soldiers fighting for our freedom I wouldn’t be able to put myself in these “character building” situations like I did today. And I will never forget that.