Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hiking South Florida's Peak and Chasing Tropical Storms

Apparently, we've hit Florida at JUST the right time to do laundry by simply rubbing it with soap and hanging it out on the line overnight. Thunderous rain last night on the trailer. But the rain let up enough this morning to allow E and me to take the 5 minute walk to the top of South Florida's highest peak - Hobe Mountain. At 87 feet in elevation, it is lower than our house not all that far from California's coast. The view from the top offers miles upon MILES of flat land COVERED in varying shades of green vegetation - and a glimpse across the Atlantic.

Then it was on through Miami ( traffic, graffiti and LOTS of law enforcement apparent) to the Florida Keys.

I'd decided I didn't really need to go all the way to Key West. Looks like a very touristy spot, lots of shopping for the same ol' same ol' offered in so many touristy shops we've seen along the way. Oh, and bars of varying degrees of cleanliness. Sure, fun for grownups, but not really great for this particular trip.

So I reserved a spot at Bahia Honda State Park, a spot about which I'd heard from multiple sources in
no uncertain terms. It's in the Lower Keys, so the drive was still considerable, but it was worth it. The park is the only development here, and the sites were lovely. We had one of the inland (across the driveway from the beachfront) spots which was sheltered from ocean breezes by dense vegetation. The hurricane-tested plants came in handy that night when the winds picked up as a tropical storm approached.

But before the storm arrived, we managed to get in a walk down the shore. Thanks to recent storms, the water is murky, though green, even nearly-glacial blue in some places. Thanks to a very long shelf, not a lot of shells make it to shore in one piece. Still, we had fun exploring, finding shells to hang on the shell tree someone started (or was that a storm creation?) and battling the wind back to camp.

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