Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crane Boulevard

A sunny day in the Lower Keys, which as we know is nothing to boast about, as we have so many of them. I was at home and wanted to get out of the house (this was before Cheyenne came into our lives) so I did using the wife's Vespa ET4 as the getaway vehicle. Crane Boulevard turns north from the Overseas Highway at the traffic light by Sugarloaf Middle School and after cruising through a subdivision of side streets stops right here:There is a helpful sign with myriad instructions for use of the refuge:Basically you can't camp, light fires, shoot things or walk your dog off a leash once you get past the barrier. There was a movement a while back to tear up the remainder of Crane Boulevard but a whole bunch of people got their knickers in a twist and protested and the asphalt remains available to walkers and cyclists.Crane Boulevard stretches a couple of miles into the wilderness, dead ending in the middle of nowhere. The last time i came, last winter that was, I rode my bicycle out here because that is the sensible thing to do on a long straight stretch of road. This time I wanted to walk and take pictures, so I did:This bird stopped off briefly at the very limit of my camera's zoom magnification. I think it was a heron:
I was walking smartly along when I heard a swooshing sound behind me. He waved gaily, she kept her helmeted head firmly down and swept past without so much as cracking a grin, or twitching an eyebrow in passing acknowledgement.Nature abhors a vacuum, we a re told, and this empty roadway must be starting to look like a vacuum because plants are growing in from the edges:Of course humans abhor a pristine wilderness so when I strode off down a short path I immediately came across this piece of mechanical civilization discarded in the bushes:There were some pine trees further up, rather spindly of course, as befits an island with very little actual dirt.And I found some mysterious fence posts lining just one side of the road. Without any actual fencing.
This puddle was covering a two lane track, as though made by a vehicle which led off tantalizingly into the bushes.And then I spotted this long faded sign on a long dead pine tree. I started to feel like an archaeologist trying to interpret signs from a long dormant past.And there they were coming back around the corner, pedaling firmly along:
After they made their silent way past me I slipped off down another side track and came across what looked like a series of petrified cow pats. I think they were just rocks of some sort.
And wasn't I surprised to come across a rain gauge, one that hadn't been emptied in a while apparently:Clouds were building over the wilderness and an east wind sprang up suddenly. Perhaps I was disturbing sleeping spirits or more likely the weather pattern was changing. I turned back.I doubt I got more than halfway down the two-mile length of the pedestrian portion of Crane Boulevard.It was a good way to get out of the house, a pleasant walk, and a fine ride home.