Take a Hike – Part Three

Saturday had a chilly start. Bundled in a fleece jacket and warm lycra pants, she hunted down her camera in the predawn light. Slowly, the dark skies gave way to the distant glow of the sun.

She donned her sandals and stepped out of the tent. The field behind her was filled with white blossoms which had bloomed overnight. Hundreds upon hundreds of these flowers showed off their beauty in the early morning hours.

She wandered aside the field then over to the water for some sunrise photos over Florida Bay. The sun slowly peaked out through distance clouds as it rose above the keys out towards the east.

She headed back to the tent and was greeted with a hot tea, freshly brewed. Her partner had his coffee in hand. They took a seat on their tent’s porch and enjoyed the view of the water.

The temperature remained in the mid 70s during the day, perfect for a hike on the Snake Bight Trail. The trail was straight and long. It went from heavy shade to shady, to almost no shade in the final third of the trail.

Birds chirped, but stayed well hidden in the trees. No other wildlife was seen during their hike. Bromeliads and orchids dotted the tree limbs. Some had spiked flowers of oranges and reds, some even were purple.

As the trail approached its end, the trees turned grey and no leaves were to be found. They found themselves in a driftwood forest, barren except for the occasional ibis hiding in the tree. A small boardwalk led them over the stream which the trail had followed, allowing them to see out over Snake Bight. A bight is a small inward curve of the coastline.

Herons, egrets, and ibis made their rounds in the distance, fishing for their food. They stopped for a few minutes to get some snacks and water, then enjoyed the scenery before making the trek back inland.

The sun and exercise had zapped most of her energy. When they arrived back to the tent, she found her way to the bed, enjoying the cool breeze rushing through the tent. Quickly, she drifted off to a well-earned nap.


Take a Hike – Part Two

The drive to the Everglades seemed to be never ending. The spine of Florida is long and covered with citrus groves, ranches, and small to medium sized towns filled with the standard fast food joints.

Finally, the road led her and her travel mate to the entrance of the Everglades National Park. The air seemed to change the moment she passed through the gates. Trees, open spaces, grass covered lands surrounded her. A wave of calm settled in.

The eco-tents at Flamingo Campgrounds are 34 miles from the gate. After a leisurely drive, they checked in and were assigned Tent 14. She made her way down the raised boardwalk with her traveling partner. The tent faced directly south overlooking Florida Bay. A field of grasses and other low growth bordered the little tent city.

To the east and the west, campers and backpackers were also set up. It wasn’t overly crowded even though it was prime spring break season.

They settled into the tent for the evening. As night fell, the temperature dropped to a mere 58 degrees, cold to a Florida girl. She found her fleece jacket and bundled up, adding a blanket to the bed as they headed to bed.

The winds picked up and the tent’s rain fly shuddered and slapped against the metal structure. Certainly, there were clouds in the sky and a storm on the way. Lightning flashed through the open screens facing the water.

At four in the morning, she awoke, startled. Mother Nature was calling, but she contemplated holding off. It was no use. She found her sandals and slipped out into the night.

She looked around as she stepped out of the tent to discover not a cloud in the sky. Surprisingly, the moon had set and thousands of stars shown overhead. She looked up in awe as she walked the winding boardwalk to the restroom.

On her way back, the cold air still struck her, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the sky. She hadn’t seen the stars like this in ages. She let out a gentle sigh, grateful for this chance to get away, then made her way back to bed, serene and peaceful.

travel, writing

El Avion

Costa Rica – 2015

We happened upon a restaurant as we left our day at Manuel Antonio. It was called El Avion. It was a unique restaurant built around a plane with a bit of a scandalous history.

The host escorted us to a table overlooking the coast and the Pacific Ocean. We ordered drinks and relaxed after our trek through the park. I looked over photos of the sloth and the monkeys eating and dropping termites from the trees, along with the beautiful scenery I captured. My attention shifted.

I looked over the mountainside and watched macaws fly by and settle in the treetops. I turned my attention towards the restaurant. It appeared to be made out of local hardwoods. We sat in an open air section; the cross breeze was refreshing as was my iced drink on this hot and humid afternoon.

I sat there, looking at the fuselage of the plane the restaurant was built around. I watched a man playing with his two kids, going in and out of the plane and walking around the restaurant. It brought a smile to my face, although I am not sure why. Kids just make me smile sometimes.

I sighed a bit, then turned my attention back to my adventuring cohort. Our meal was served and hit the spot. I continued looking out over the lush vegetation below us, amazed by its beauty.

A rainstorm rolled by, refreshing the air. The water poured off the side of the building, splashing down. I could get entranced watching rain fall. I wished to linger longer in this place; it felt familiar to me.

However, it was getting late and we needed to go. We finished up paying and headed to our little car to find our way back to Playa Bejuco to join the rest of our party.

A nice memory from a great trip.

travel, writing

A Day in London

Based on a trip from 2019

Weary eyed from an overnight flight from the states, we found our way from Gatwick to London. At least we were staying at the Grosvenor near the terminus of the line. We stumbled with stacks of luggage for 5 up the small back stair from the station, and found our way to the concierge. Thankfully we could check our luggage for the day until our rooms were ready.

We enjoyed a buffet breakfast in the hotel full of classic London fair, coffee, and tea…glorious hot tea. Over breakfast, our group decided to do a Red Bus tour; we only had a day and everyone was tired from the flight. A bus tour seemed like a good way to see the sights with low energy.

The day started out rainy, but gave way to crisp temperatures and blue skies for most of our tour. When seats were available, I found my way to the top of the bus to get some of the best pictures I could as the sights flew by.

Bundled in my scarf and jacket, exhaustion took over at times. I found myself drifting off and leaning on my travel companion to keep warm. I couldn’t wait until we could settle into our room.

We hopped off the tour when it reached Buckingham Palace. By then, we found our second wind. We walked out front, admiring the statue of Nike and the gates in front of the Palace.

Our hotel was only a short walk away and check-in time had arrived. Naps were in order once we checked in. The linens swallowed me as I drifted off to sleep. I could have slept the rest of the afternoon and overnight until we needed to head to the port for our cruise. But we had agreed to do dinner together, so sleep was secondary on the agenda yet again.

We were greeted with more rain when we met up with the rest of our party for dinner in the beautiful lobby of the Grosvenor. We ended up having dinner in the same restaurant as breakfast to avoid the weather. Dinner was just as good…or maybe we were just hungry! So goes our London experience. In the morning, we were headed to Brighton, England, to catch our ship.

If I am ever on the British Isles again, it will be a land tour with more time in London. The vibrant city holds more than anyone can see in just a single day.