Tuesday November 24, 2015 Most Recent Post:
Bahia Honda State Park New Motto: Older is Better
Big Pine Key, Florida
This morning’s sunrise is ORANGE with lots of it before the sun peaks through those ever present dark clouds amassed at the horizon. It’s almost like a chase.
Step one - the sun throws his orange all over the sky and tries to peek out through that slant in the dark horizon clouds.
Step two - the upper clouds move in to give aid to the diminishing horizon clouds.
But to no avail, the sun moves above the horizon and begins his take over.
El Sol burns white hot and turns those dark clouds a lovely pink.
With winds of 23 mph predicted for today, and knowing that the winds increase by the hour, morning is the best time to do what you can on a windy day. So we set off just after nine to bike to the end of the road, past the Sandspur Campground for tents and popups and walk the Silver Palm Trail.
Interestingly, although the Sandspur campground is right on the ocean just behind the dune with easy views of the water, there is no walk way down to the shore from the campground. The campground is full and so we don’t stop for pictures. It’s a great place though if you have an extremely small footprint with only ??? sites.
We park our bikes and walk down the beach of the day use area to the last set of steps so I can get my feet in that warm Atlantic. The steps take us up to the end of the parking lot where the entrance to the trail is.
The trail is named for the Silver Palm which here grows in one of the largest concentrations in the state. They are becoming increasingly rare as people illegally remove them from their natural habitat to be planted in residential areas. The undersides of their frons are silver although despite my efforts, they don’t look that way in these pictures.
The trail goes through a hammock, mangrove area, dune and along the beach. We picked up a self guided walking brochure at the beginning and there are many signs identifying the trees and talking about the various habitats we walk through.
Lots of Dragon flies were all over the trail
As we walk, there are several spur trails that lead over to the beach. We take each one of them to see that section of the beach.
From here we can still see the day use area. Some folks have carried their gear pretty far down the beach to claim their spot.
Further along the beach is solitary and beautiful.
It’s solitary except for this group fishing.
There seems to be a game going on here.
The pelican goes up in the air, comes down for a fish and the gull follows. He’s looking for scraps I guess. Usually he just lands near the pelican.
But just as often, the pelican flies high
circles around the area and
then dives straight down.
He comes up with a fish and gulps it down as the gull tries to intercept the fish. Personally I’d smack that gull into tomorrow if he kept bothering me like that.
Before getting back to the Silver Palm trail I snap this picture of my favorite maritime plant, sea oats. Aren’t they just beautiful? Especially today as they bow low in the wind.
The forest is very dense except for the path through it. I wouldn’t want to try making my way through this habitat without a path. Amazingly we find ourselves walking up hill. Well OK it’s a tiny ascent.
David is king of the mountain at the highest spot around. Not enough for views though.
The trail ends at a path to the beach. The trail was described as a loop so we figure it must be that you walk back on the beach. But rather than turn right to go back, we turn left to go on up the beach. I have to know where it goes. Do you have that problem too, always wanting to know what’s around the corner, over the hill or down the beach?
We’re amazed when we see the evidence of a couple of people set up this far down the beach with two chairs, matching umbrella and a blow up boat in camouflage..
On and on we go. Notice the channel cut in the next two pictures. This is a very long beach and is really wonderful to walk.
We come upon a fallen palm. It’s so fresh I’m pretty sure it hasn’t even been in the water 24 hours.
When I come to the end of the beach where my next steps would be into the water and the sign is for boaters, I turn around and look for David. He’s coming up behind me. He stops too often for my pace and I’m a relatively slow beach comber.
There isn’t any more beach but here is a trail leading back up into the hammock. I take it to see where it goes and end up in someone’s front yard. Oopps! Back I go to the beach
On our return trip we find a kite surfer is going out into the water so we stay and watch his launch and a few jumps before heading on our way. He sure has come a long way down the beach from the day use area where I assume he have left his car. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a woman kite surfing. Is this a sport where women don’t have the upper body strength to do it or is my experience just too limited?
Oh my does this look like beautiful fun! Wishing I were younger just at this moment.
Back on the silver Palm trail we are glad for the shade. Despite the wind, the sun is very hot.
Once back home we have lunch and spend the rest of the windy afternoon noodling around until sunset. All of the waterfront campsites are taken so we head over to the bridge for our view. The old Bahia Honda bridge makes a wonderful “front drop” (is there such a thing) for the sun to set behind.
Wish I could get it centered in the middle arch as it drops into the sea. To do that, I’d have to be in one of those coveted water front campsites. Maybe some day.
Tomorrow is Wednesday, so it must be Key West.