Friday, March 13, 2009

Florida Keys December 2007

We departed Central Florida on November 30th armed with sunscreen, Jimmy Buffett CDs, citronella candles, a Thermacel, and bug repellent. The tent that we would be using was equipped with a full-coverage rain fly and no-see-um resistant screens. Our first stop was Curry Hammock State Park located near Marathon Key. The camp site was spacious, and the small park surrounded by calm blue green water was beautiful. We enjoyed picturesque sunrises, warm sunsets, and nightly views of bright stars, often shooting across the sky. Cool breezes blew over the park constantly and the insects were of minimal concern.

Lone Mangrove

Mangrove Tunnel

Hermit Crab

After two nights, we headed further south to Bahia Honda State Park. Here, we discovered that summer was still in full swing and biting gnats and no-see-ums thrived! Even with the use of insect repellents, tank tops were soon traded for light weight, long-sleeved shirts. From five in the evening until eight each morning, I sought refuge inside the blessed tent. Each night aggressive raccoons and several large mice made their way through the camp, often frolicking near the tent entrance. In addition to voracious insects, one had to beware of large scorpions and a variety of unusual spiders! I contemplated how the pioneers or Flagler's railway workers had survived the summers.

Old Flagler Railway

View From the Top of Old Flagler Railway

We spent days cycling the island exploring nooks and crannies. From atop a portion of the old railway, we watched kayakers and sailboats pass through the channel and viewed sharks and stingrays in the water below.

Hawks, kingfishers and other birds were abundant in the area. Midweek, we took the bikes and cycled a portion of the old Flagler railway to Pigeon Key. This key once housed operations and workers during the Flagler railroad construction period and many buildings are still intact. Today, the five acre key is a museum and marine science center.

Pigeon Key


After six nights and seven days of camping, we reluctantly left the immense beauty behind and returned to home sweet home.
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