Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sugarloaf Key

It was not as though there are no spaces to park along an empty stretch of Sugarloaf Boulevard. The idea is to park away from the right angled corner in order to allow distracted drivers to make the turn without creaming your Kia Soil while you are out strolling Sugarloaf's Loop Road. But as usual the idea of having to walk fifty yards to reach the trailhead is too much, far better to park here and sue someone else when your metallic green pride and joy gets creamed...

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. When I was a callow youth I developed a taste for decorating my room at school with roadsigns borrowed from the county council. Some friends and I would steal silently from the school buildings in the dark of night and crawl through hedges and dodge snoozing cows to reach a set of roadworks where we would purloin a few warning signs and rearrange the remainder to keep the flow of traffic moving after we were gone. My efforts at the end of the school year to get the signs home by "secretly" stuffing them in the large trunk of my father's Rolls Royce were thwarted when he discovered them. I was surprised he thought it a huge joke to set up our own roadworks on a quiet lane in the Somerset countryside which was the last I saw of my stash of road signs collected over my last year trapped in a English boarding school. Had we shared more such conspiracies i might never have emigrated far away. So the rather plaintive nature of this relatively new sign at the very end of Sugarloaf Boulevard engendered some wry sympathy in me. All I can recall was a set of red diamond reflectors marking the end of the road. I wonder who wanted them and went to the trouble of unbolting them from their posts? It must have happened quite often to require the placement of this sign...

While I am ready to admit that on occasion I have been taken short in the woods I will never admit to making a foul mess like this with bits of paper scattered to the four winds. I highly recommend daily doses of psycillium to keep the bowels moving freely and toilet paper free, but in any event there are ways of shitting in the woods and there are decidedly ways not to. This is one such way to behave badly in public.

Right off the trail too. Savages! How to Shit in the Woods, Second Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art: Kathleen Meyer: 9780898156270: Amazon.com: Books A useful manual for those that can't see the obvious for themselves.

This used to be state road 939 and it runs for about four miles through the mangroves till it dead ends in an old bulkhead that would have projected a wooden bridge across the sound toward Bay Point. Cheyenne and I walked it all a few years ago. Actually I walked It all and ended up carrying her a bit as she was exhausted past caring. The whole episode got my wife fairly pissed at me too as I recall.

Key West Diary: A Short Walk On Sugarloaf Key

This outing we were decidedly unambitious and we walked less while I played with my camera as Cheyenne sniffed around. I got some fairly startling effects too which I forgot to note so I have no idea how to reproduce the blue mangroves shown above.

Despite the recent half hearted attempts at rain the mangroves were quite dry so I decided we should take advantage and get off the main trail into the salt flats below, usually quite wet. I was quite surprised to see evidence of tires larger than those of bicycles marking the dry mud.

The thing about the backwoods in the Keys is that no matter how hard you try to fool yourself you are never a true pioneer. Someone has always been this way before you.

Another camera fidget and I created a mountainous valley where non exists. This place is of course as flat as a pancake and really looks like this to the naked eye:

Like I said these deserted back woods are never unexplored. For some people they are, or used to be, trash dumps. How this engine block got here I couldn't say. A few yards away some giant truck wheels were rotting away, possibly related to this crumbling vestige of twentieth century Keys' life.

I never cease to be amazed when I am told a tin can will survive in the environment for five hundred years or some such notion. Now, I'm not in favor of dumping trash willy nilly, but clearly this was no medieval vehicle and it has pretty much returned to its original chemical components.

No doubt some eagle eyed observer will figure out the year make and model of the machine it used to be. To me it was a lump of iron leaching rust into the rocks beneath. A not uncommon sight off the trails in the woods around here.

There is a county rule that one may not discharge a firearm anywhere in Monroe County unless at a range. So, you'd think if you were coming out here to do just that you'd remove the evidence. Not a bit of it! At least it's not used toilet paper.

We have been bracing for a cold front all week with promises of cold temperatures rain and outdoor nastiness. Yesterday it sure was overcast but there was no biting north wind and 66 degrees was t shirt weather for me.

We are told temperatures will go below sixty Sunday night and Monday night so that would make this the second real cold front of this astonishingly warm winter. My wife and I are planning a road trip Up North before the end of the month else we fear we may forget what it feels like to be cold. Cheyenne will enjoy it no doubt.

 

 

 

 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm still reading your blog and still daydreaming of Key West.

wannabe conch

Conchscooter said...

Key west is still here and freezing cold this weekend. Feels like Montana even with the reverse cycle heat on.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

"My mistake! My mistake! My most grievous mistake!" (well sort of, maxima doesn't really translate to grievous, but otherwise it wouldn't make sense, would it). Is it sad I know that from pop culture connected to the Keys, a Jimmy Buffet song and some internet investigation?

Christopher Shepherd said...

I am constantly perplexed by people who park right in front of trailhead gates. My feeble mind grasps for the nearest stereotype, and I think "damn Yankees!" until I notice the 'Monroe' license plate, often as not.

I have often thought, one could fill an entire blog with abandoned cars off the Florida Keys backroads. I believe you've photographed the one on Cudjoe Plantation Road that's still in decent shape. Another near the end of the long No Name Key trail is also in pretty good shape. I always envision the wilder Keys of the 1970s, teenagers howling and guzzling beer in carefree gangs, and occasionally ditching their cars on what were then somewhat-paved roads...

Conchscooter said...

Jeffrey- Jimmy Buffet? I am a lapsed catholic so they have me by the knackers after two decades in the ranks...
Belgo Yes to all of it.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Being a "recovering" Catholic myself, I guess it is sad I know the words from Jimmy Buffet song instead of from church (He is a former altar boy I believe). I have only attended one Mass in Latin that I recall (though my grandmother says they were that way when I was very young). My beloved heathen father decided I didn't have to go any more if I didn't want to, so I evaded confirmation.

Conchscooter said...

John Lennon and Imagine has to be the anthem of our old age.

Rob said...

Thanks for the link to your previous journal entry. I had commented on it then that I enjoyed the shorter trail that starts over by Pirates Cove and ends at the former bridge, but I have since changed my mind after walking this much longer section while I was in town this past holiday season. I took my son with me who, at the time, was only 11 months old and newly walking and let him explore. Even though I know that I'm not the first to tread in these not-so-far flung corners of the Keys, I do get a sense of peaceful isolation when trekking through the mangroves. I hope someday my son gets to experience the same, or at least enjoyed leaping from the jumping bridge over on the eastern side.

Me and my wife had been planning on moving down to Cudjoe early last year but were sidelined by a cancer diagnosis and the need for reliable health coverage, so we're still living in San Diego. For now, visiting family and friends once a year, and your daily updates will have to suffice.

Conchscooter said...

That sucks, but no one moves here for better health care. Chronic stuff requires Miami road trips it seems. The keys will still be here.