My Favourite Trail Marker, Ever!
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for a report on another Photo Safari! And it may be the last one for awhile, so I hope you enjoy it.
Yesterday Joy, Bob and I headed out for Sleeping Turtle Preserve, one of our top three local hiking spots. We arrived bright and early with every intention of spending several miles and several hours hiking and snapping and enjoying the peace of being surrounded by nature.
There was nobody else there when we arrived, which is fine with us. We lubed up with bug repellent because it's been rainy and the particular preserve surrounds a river and this time of year that means there is a good potential for bugs. Then we grabbed hats and water bottle (more on that later) cameras and struck out for the trails.
The instant we hit the trails we were descended upon by hordes of hungry mosquitos and I am not kidding even a tiny bit. They were everywhere. Clouds of them, humming and buzzzing and bitebitebiting ferociously. Joy and I waved our arms around like lunatics and attempted to take a few photos while never actually stopping. If you stopped you would be devoured. It was as if we had never put on mosquitos spray at all! Or maybe these are some different kind of super-mosquitos, maybe they do shots of mosquito repellent for breakfast. Maybe they bathe in it at night. I don't know. I just know that in very short order we decided that No. This was Not Going to Happen. We turned around and practically ran back to the car.
Those buggers took big bites too. Look at the size of this bite on Joy's shoulder! She had bites everywhere!
So we sat in the car for a few minutes thinking of where else we could go but honestly, all of the local preserves have water whether it's a pond or a river or a creek or just a floodplain currently filled with water due to all of the rain we've had recently. Well Dang! The bug spray always worked before...what the actual heck?
We decided that even though it was hot out, what we needed was trails that were more sunny, less shady. I suggested the trails at Caspersen beach which I had hiked with Tim once, but Joy and Bob had never visited. Three votes Aye and off we went.
Caspersen beach is on the island but the south part. In fact the very southest part. You cannot get any further south. And Tim and I found, totally by accident one day, that there was a hiking trail that seemed to go forever and that had few human travellers. On a map it seems to continue all the way to Manasota Key which is in an entirely different town south of us. Cool!
Since I'd only been there once and it was at least six months ago, I warned Joy that I had no idea if there would be anything photo worthy there, but she was game to check it out anyway.
We began with the relief of no mosquito swarms. Hurrah! A good Start! But a lot more sun. And that's when I realized that I had forgotten to bring my thermos. Dang. Tim bought me this great water thermos and an insulated shoulder bag to carry it in and it has been a lifesaver, literally. Dehydration is no joke. Bob had his bag, clearly a smarter person than I, but he rarely does the entire hike so I knew that at some point, Joy and I would be on our own, water-wise. We decided to risk it anyway.
And we are so glad that we did! There were swarms but of butterflies and grasshoppers and dragonflies! I tried to take a photo of a dragonfly swarm. It did not turn out unfortuantely, but no worries, we saw loads of other wildlife. Ready?
We actually saw a lot more than I was able to capture pictures of. At one point, we saw multiples of the same tiger striped butterflies dancing and flitting all around us and I was able to get a photo of none of them. I was just standing there like a ninny, admiring them. Another time there was an orange butterfly that danced along right beside us as we hiked. Felt as if we were taking our pet butterfly for a walk. Didn't get that one either.
That's ok. I'm happy with the pictures I did manage to get. Oh of course I also got pictures of flowers. I always do.
The trails were all sand, sometimes hard packed but more times not which makes it a good workout for the butt. While heavily forrested, there were occasional peeps of the water. Sometimes the intercoastal (which is on the east side) and other times the gulf of Mexico (which is on the west side). " Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink". And never has "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" made more sense to me.
We walked the full length of Caspersens. We know that because eventually we came to a sign, back to us that (when we walked 'round to the other side) said, "Welcome to Casperson's Beach'. We did it. We walked all the way to Manasota Key! Wooohoo!
And of course, as always, there are the random photos that I never know how to classify so I clump them all together under miscellaneous.
It was a great hike! Unusual but great. And very hot. And very dry. And when I got home I think I drank my weight in water immediately. But it was also totally worth any mosquito bites or thirst or sore glutes from hiking in sand. Because we had a great time, got some terrific photos and as always, just had fun hanging out together.
Hope you enjoyed it with us!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.