In May of 2008 we joined Catherine and Eugene for part of their annual, week-long trip to the Florida Keys. Our campsite was Long Key State Park. This trip included kayaking in the ocean, snorkeling around the coral, watching sea turtles up close and personal, amazing sunrises and sunsets and, of course, a trip to Key West. In Key West we had the most wonderful Cuban lunch in an out-of-the-way place that Eugene knows and overpriced margaritas downtown. The no-see-ums were annoying when the wind wasn’t blowing but overall what a wonderful trip.
I believe this was our last camping trip in Florida – it was New Years weekend ushering in 2009. At the time we did not anticipate that it would be our last year in Florida. This was also a cold weather trip but not quite as cold as the O’Leno trip. We were at Payne’s Prairie State Park. No kayaking on this trip but we took the bicycles and explored this unique area. Darryl and I enjoyed our sandwich lunch watching a bald eagle perched high above us. This was just one of the several eagles we observed that weekend.
As promised, here are some pictures from a kayaking trip with (you guessed it) Catherine and Eugene to the Ocala National Forest on Juniper Creek. This was a wonderful afternoon trip in the cool, crystal clear waters of this spring feed creek. Catherine advised that we purposely start as late as possible to avoid being overtaken by faster kayakers allowing us to leisurely enjoy the surroundings. This worked out pretty well. We did encounter a family horribly out of their element in a canoe that was stuck against a deadfall – they were having a hell of a time and just didn’t know what they were doing. I was able to ‘rescue’ them from the deadfall (and not get eaten by a gator in the process). Darryl and Catherine also had the pleasure of watching a local get bitten by a water moccasin while attempting to grab it out of the water – alcohol may have contributed to this incident. I believe this trip was in late-April or early-May of 2007.
Yes, it is true. Catherine, Eugene, Darryl and I almost proved it. I suspect that Darryl and I were in worse danger since our camping gear was marginal for cold conditions. Rather than blab on about the weekend trip, here are some shots that probably tell the story much better. If my memory serves (it frequently lets me down) this was November of 2007 and I think we were at O’Leno State Park. As I recall Eugene put a cup of water on the picnic table overnight to discovered it skimmed over with ice in the morning – reached 28 degrees that night. We did have fun that trip, though nearly freezing to death put a damper on some of it. Another first for us was seeing a scorpion when packing up to leave – nice.