Standing in the parking lot Key Deer Boulevard is now clearly visible as the undergrowth has burned away. The signboard has burned away too, nothing of that is left!
If one wants to look on the bright side not everything burned away.
The Forest Service was planning to do a controlled burn on twenty one acres to clear brush in the usual way, replicating Nature.
By the time this controlled burn was restored to human control, one hundred acres were scorched alongside Key Deer Boulevard, the main road cutting north across the island.
The slash pine will come back slowly, no doubt, because nature has been burning these woods with lightning ever since these limestone rocks dried out above the post glacial tideline.
This trail was a lovely wooded slightly mysterious thirty minute loop through the countryside.
Now it's something rather less than that. And it is sad believe me even though I know it will grow back.
I've written several essays about the Jack Watson trail named for the first game warden paid to protect the Key Deer when they were almost extinct after World War Two.
This is more or less how the trail used to look before 90 percent of it burned. This tiny corner of the trail was spared the uncontrolled burn.
This was my original essay on the beauty of Watson Hammock, pristine:
We found one resident hanging out looking for food. She ran when she saw me. Cheyenne didn't even notice the deer at first and stood next to me as the wild one bounded away.
Looking skyward the original profile remains if one doesn't look too closely at the ground level burning.
But the flames went everywhere it seems. I hope the Feds have the money to repair and replace all this damage. Or to put it another way I hope the banksters will release enough of their bonuses to allow repairs to be made.
Cheyenne found crispy God knows what in the cremains of the wood. The white line at her back is the loop of the trail winding round where before the bushes were so thick it was impossible to tell exactly where one was.
It will all come back, I know it will.
But how sad it is to see it gone, just before the weather cools off and walks in the woods become my favorite winter sport in the Keys.
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