Saturday, January 3, 2009

Big Pine Wilderness

It's winter and that means it's time to go and look for mud holes in the back country. I found a good one on Big Pine. I came out this way earlier last year one evening and found this wide open space far in back of the Blue Hole (subject of an earlier essay). At the time I had to get home but I promised myself a return visit to this area.So I took the long straight back streets through the rural subdivision and found myself on Tampa Street, not overly populated as can be seen in the foregoing picture, and which dead ends into a fixed barrier:
It was cool sunny blusterous winter day, perfect for a walk so that was what I did:This open space is one of those oddities which I seem to stumble across all too often in the Lower Keys. It sort of appears to be a possible development that didn't get very far. There's a road:Which sinks into a depression and becomes a mud hole:And there are those funny little ditches cut into the limestone and were to be used to house mosquito larvae eating fish and have sunk into disuse:Unlike the Upper and Middle Keys where the islands tend to be smaller and more built up (Key Largo, closest to the mainland is the exception as it is the largest island in the entire chain), the Lower Keys, those islands south of the seven mile bridge, seem to revel in their undeveloped open spaces. There are roads built and abandoned, developments planned and forgotten like this area where there's a huge pit nicely squared off with no visible purpose whatsoever: One can only imagine it might make a superb swimming pool in the summer assuming there are no carnivores in residence...though certainly on its muddier shore I saw evidence of human predators. And you'd need an all terrain vehicle in this place:I am not fond of tramping through mud so I back tracked and found my way to the drier side of the hole, a scrubby, rocky vague sort of apology for a path:I would make a dreadful botanist as I can't remember the name of almost anything and I'm pretty sure I've seen a name tag on this bush at Fort Zachary State Park (I take a walk there from time to time to refresh my memory), but all I could think was that this tree reminded me of the walnut saplings I used to see in the Italy of my youth:I also saw a couple of birds goofing off in the pale winter sunshine:I zoomed the second picture to forty times magnification (!) but i couldn't figure out what he was doing perched uncomfortably in the mangroves. It was probably very sensible behavior but it looked odd from a distance. My behavior was actually pretty daft too, the walk on the pebbles was awkward and there was bugger all to see except a bunch of dead mangrove roots:So I gave it up for a bad job and buggered off home to a book and a cup of tea. At least I tried.