Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Contemplative Walk By the River

Wednesday February 24, 2016                                                            Most Recent Posts:
Koreshan State Historic Site                                                              Time Off For a Beach Break at Lover’s Key
Estero, Florida                                                                                  Are You Kidding?  The Jack and Now the Phone?



David heads out in the car to get his chemo shot this morning.  He’s also going to stop at the grocery so it will be hours before he returns. While he is gone I do some house cleaning, always fun, and then I walk the lovely trail between the campground and the Koreshan Settlement Grounds. I only have to walk about a half dozen sites down from ours to pick up the path which goes by the Campground Circle.






The path is sandy and covered with fragrant pine needles.
It runs along the river which is tidal and thus could be flowing in either direction depending on when you are walking.  Right now it is flowing out to the Gulf.




Walking along the river is always so calming.  I don’t see anyone so it is totally quiet.



I come to the fork where the two arms of the trail going to the Grounds split off. 
There is a metal map here so you can see where each trail goes. 
I go left on the red trail to stay along the river.
The blue trail will also take you to the settlement but you arrive at a different spot.






The Koreshans wanted to recreate a “New Jerusalem” and thus the grounds have many exotic and foreign plants.  Among them is a healthy stand of bamboo, a gift from the Thomas Edison who had it on his estate in Fort Myers.  In this climate, bamboo can grow to over 60’ tall and it spreads.

Still it’s always strange for me to see them towering over the pines and palms.




They are fodder for those who must carve their initials or names into everything.
I still have not figured out what that’s about.  Are there really that many narcissists?

The bamboo are in various stages of growth on the trail.  Some are leaning down.  They have an eerie creeking sound especially when the wind is blowing like today.





As you can see, they are quite big around.


There is one bench on the trail in the midst of the bamboo.
It is located just before the trail drops down off of the plateau.




It’s a really nice spot facing the river and a favorite of mine for just being with the river and the sounds of the water, the wind and the bamboo.




I set up my camera’s self timer and set the camera on a bamboo stump which is obviously not level.  I think I can straighten the picture later.



But when I straighten it, I lose my feet and most of my legs.  Oh well.





I stay for some time on the bench, journaling, reading and watching the paddlers come and go.
One bicycle rider comes by in that time.  Seems a bit dangerous, the speed he is going on this path where hikers will not be expecting him. 

I think about these people who came to this wilderness from Victorian Chicago with dreams of an egalitarian society. They struggled mightily for an ideal. They wanted to leave the world a better place. 



I think about the stand off at the National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the group there and what they want. Are their efforts in behalf of leaving the world a better place? 

I think about the give away of our public lands to corporate America and what that will mean to us all.  Will the world be a better place if we mine and graze and log every strip of available land that isn’t developed? 

I think about the mighty divide in this country between those who would have Donald Trump as their president and those who would have Bernie Sanders.   I wonder if I should be at least trying to do something about any and all of these things rather than just traveling up and down the east coast in my RV, hiking biking and kayaking whenever I can.  It’s a wonderful life but will it leave the world a better place for my granddaughter?


The winds pick up.  They bring my wandering mind back to the present where it belongs.
I look above me to watch the bamboo leaves blowing.

I take a video of what I hear and see.
But when I try to post it, Blogger says it is too big.
100 mb is all it will allow and that just isn’t as good.
I’m really sorry you can’t see it.
The sounds of the wind and the moaning and creaking of the bamboo were eerie.




Eventually my seat gets uncomfortable and I know it is time to move on along the trail to where it ends at the back side of the Settlement Grounds in what was once the sunken garden.  The sign in front of me is another map like the one in the picture above where the red and blue trails split.




The map, which could use a good washing (note to self, bring wet rag next time),  shows that I am at the far right end of the red trail which runs along the Estero River.  The Settlement paths are sort of visible in the lower portion of the map.  The campground is very visible in the upper left and you can see where the red trail starts and at what point it intersects with the blue trail which ends at a different area in the Settlement.  It is easy to make this a loop hike just by walking through the settlement from the end of one trail to the end of the other.



I cross over into the settlement across another of the lovely bridges built by the Koreshans.






Across the bridge are some azaleas in bloom and another nice bench beside the river.




Further on is the original riverside entrance to the Settlement.  Route 41 was a dirt path when the Koreshans settled here in the 1880’s.  They and all their goods came by river.

This is looking toward the river from the settlement. 
Usually the urns have flowering plants in them.
Probably too early for the blooms.




The wooden settlement dock here is right on the river which was much wider and wilder in those days.






Here is the view you would have as you step off the boat as a new recruit to the Koreshan Unity .




And at the top of the path, beyond the urns is the first building you would see and the first one erected.  It was, of course the home of Cyrus Teed.  He lived in the downstairs and the men’s dormitory was upstairs.



The only other thing in bloom on the grounds today is the African Tulip Tree outside the Domkohler Cottage.

Although the state can no longer afford to keep up the gardens that were once here, they do attempt some minor horticulture and I hope to take their Guided Botanical Tour on Tuesday morning to see what native and exotic plants are being maintained.

The Tulip Tree was obviously recently covered in blooms as is evidenced by those on the ground beneath it.










There are some majestic trees on the grounds as you can see on the left of Founders Hall.








The Main Avenue, off of which the dock is on the right and Founders Hall on the left in this picture from the Tulip Tree, was once completely lined with the tall Washingtonian Palms.  They grow up to 98 feet tall and are originally from western Sonora and Baja California Sur (northwestern Mexico) but thanks to Koreshans and others, they have naturalized in many other places in the world including Florida.
I don’t believe the state is replanting the ones they have decided to take down so there are very few left as you can see.  They must have been very impressive at one time lining this central path.



I decide as my last stop before heading back, I’ll take in the 2003 movie done by PBS on the history of the Koreshan Settlement.   It tells a really good story although I’ve heard from some of the tour guides that some parts of it need to be updated based on more recent research.  I wish someone would donate the money to do that.  When we were here last, I purchased and read the only book available on the Koreshan Settlement.  It is called the Koreshan Story, was 72 pages and is still available at the Ranger Station.  It was published by the foundation which still holds a portion of the Koreshan archieves.  Although as I understand it all of those were to have been given to the state in the arrangement between the last surviving Koreshans at the time the property was deeded over in the 1960’s.  The small paperback left me with more questions than answers.

But I learned this year that a young woman associate Journalism Professor at Gulf Coast Univeristy, Lyn Milner, has just written what looks like an excellent book on the most recent scholarship on the Settlement and its people.  It’s titled The Allure of Immortality and was just published in October of 2015.  It too is now avaialble at the Ranger’s Station.  I hope to read it while we are here.

The movie is shown continuously on one side of the main floor of Founders Hall.




Time for me to take the slow road back across the other lovely bridge.  I prefer the red trail since it goes along the river.  David often likes the blue trail since there are fruit trees in the woods along it and possibly wild orange or grapefruit.

It’s been a wonderful contemplative walk. 
I haven’t spoken to a soul or been disturbed in any way. 
This is one of the things I love most about our stays at Koreshan State Historic Site.
It’s a very quiet place almost spiritual place.




Back at Winnona, I clean off the mat I’ve spread out and settle in for some more Kindle Reading.
My current read is called Chewing Sand: An Eco-Spiritual Taste of the Mojave Desert by Gail Collins-Randative.
It takes place in Nevada and is part of my vicarious travels west.
I’ve never thought of going anywhere near Las Vegas but this book is changing my mind with descriptions of the wonderful natural places to visit near by.



About 3:00 the rains begin again and it rains for most of the night.
So far it looks like it will be the only rain we get during this week which is almost a miracle.



  1. Some beautiful scenery on your hike.

    Try uploading videos to Youtube and create a link as opposed to going with a direct upload into Blogger.

  2. Contemplation: something too few of us take time to enjoy. Thanks for the reminder that quite time alone is a truly blessed thing.

  3. Surrounded by tranquility and you think of Mr Trump! Get help quick.

  4. Oh Eeyore and Tigger are peeking out the window with the ducks! What a nice walk with quiet and time to just be. The tulip tree blooms are beautiful!

  5. Today I to did some contemplating as I drove to near by mountain. As I drove down the freeway and saw how far the open pit mines have grown and destroy so much nature. I know they bring lots of jobs, and what they are mining brings many things to us. But how very sad to see these huge piles of earth spreading like a cancer.

    You had a nice walk for yourself today.

  6. I also like to read books about the areas I am visiting. Glad you had a peaceful day.

  7. That bamboo is huge. Oh how delightful to have peace with nature in this beautiful setting.

  8. What a lovely walk. I hate to see that people have carved their names in the bamboo. Just don't get that.
    That book sounds interesting. We hope to be in the Mojave Preserve in a couple weeks.

  9. I love the bamboo pics. There's a different type of hiking out west, but it's gorgeous.

  10. The bamboo is amazing although so invasive I hope it doesn't overtake the natives. After years of political activism it is difficult at times for me to sit back during our current situation. I hope your vicarious travels west manifest into real travels soon. I'll have to check out that book - we may be in the area in mid-April. Love the flowers and that incredible tree next to the hall. I'm sure the spiritual energy there opens the right people up for all kinds of contemplation and reflection - enjoy.

  11. A wonderful walk, glad that places like this have been preserved for us to enjoy. I got a kick out of your picture of yourself, had I done that, I would have cut off my head for sure. I liked the tilt, it added more to it.

    Bamboo is such an amazing plant, it seems to me to evoke restfulness in its beauty.

  12. Is there a refuge take over in Utah too? Haven't heard anything lately about how things are going at Malheur NWR in Oregon. Having volunteered there, I was very upset about that take over.

  13. The azaeleas are gorgeous! I heard a story about bamboo when I lived in Ohio. A car dealership in the Cincinnati area had some landscaping done which included some nice small bamboo plants. It wasn't many years later that the bamboo grew out of control, and even started coming up through the showroom floor inside the building!

    I have never been near Las Vegas and like you, never had any desire to go near it. I've heard the desert is beautiful in the springtime, but desert is not my idea of beautiful in any circumstance. Different strokes for different folks, as the old song goes.

  14. Time for contemplation and reflection is essential. And to my way of thinking, no place better for it than in nature. The questions you ask aren't easy ones to answer -- I often wonder the same myself -- is there more that I should be doing? But then I remember that trying to live each day fully, cultivating gratitude, being kind and generous, being attentive to the people that we encounter in our daily lives -- all of this matters, too.

  15. Oh, what a lovely quiet walk! I really wish that bamboo video could have been posted, but I can still imagine being there, hearing/feeling the rustling and the flickering light, in the still shot, as small as it is. Yes-- how can people see living trees as inanimate lumber that will be improved by their stupid scratchings???

  16. What a great place for a quiet walk. Beautiful flowers and trees, and peace.

  17. AHHHHHH.... I feel so much better after going on that lovely walk with you:o)) I may just have to take Bill there, like it or not, to experience it for myself!! No easy answers to your questions...just try to live each day and be kind to others along the way.

  18. Life does seem to instill in each of us a desire to understand why we are here and have a sense of purpose. It seems most people find answers in what they choose to believe. I do not share Mr. Trumps beliefs about what will be best for the country or the planet, so I will not be voting for him. Hoping I am not in the minority again ...

  19. Your little family of duckies has grown... lovely walk, that bamboo looked kind of erie/scary...

  20. We have lots of uses for the bamboo tree in the Philippines where it is prolific. For one it is used as a water container or used to fetch water but mostly most nipa huts have bamboos as components to it.
    I might just grab that book, we are now in Nevada, and yes was surprised there are lots to of natural and beautiful sceneries here.

  21. Very nice walk...I would have liked the bamboo sounds too, I'm sure. A lot of history there...and lovely flowers...sounds like a peaceful day.

  22. I find it hard to believe Trump could make it all the way to the big election, though if he does like David I will not vote for him. What does it say about us as a people in this country if a blowhard like him could represent us on the world level? I shudder thinking about it. As for the folks carving the initials, I would imagine they think they are leaving a piece of themselves on the world, trying to capture something and make it "permanent". Mostly in an attempt to not acknowledge our fleeting individual impact on the world, I might add. Folks like those who had a hand in those Florida eco-disasters have their own way of leaving an impact on the planet unfortunately. Keep spreading your love of nature through your travels and your blog, it's your own little contribution and it counts.

  23. Another nice, relaxing day. I often struggle with what my purpose is here, but agree with what others have said about being kind to others along the way. Maybe we won't make a difference in the world, but then maybe we'll make a world of difference to one other person.


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