Thursday, November 17, 2011

Straddling The Overseas Highway

That tree down by the water near southern/western end of the old Bahia Honda bridge has to be among the most lovingly photographed in the Lower Keys. I've seen as a backdrop in all sorts of pictures including in a motorcycle magazine.


But for me on Tuesday, the limestone hill above the waters of Bahia Honda ("deep bay" in Spanish) was just the start of Cheyenne's afternoon tour of exploration.


We shuffled down the hill in the golden afternoon sunlight, Cheyenne running ahead and snuffling in the bushes as she went.


Across the waters of the deep bay I could see the beach pavilions of the state park. Bahia Honda has the nicest swimming beaches in the Lower Keys, inside and outside the bay itself. The inner waters are protected in prevailing southeast winds and are generally seaweed-free.


Before I got Cheyenne I had a $130 annual pass for the state parks which I used a great deal to go swimming at Bahia Honda. They don't allow dogs on the beach, thanks no doubt to careless dog owners, so I don't bother anymore. Before Cheyenne Bahia Honda was a pleasant ten minute ride from my house with good swimming, an outdoor shower and a concession stand conveniently close by. Now my love and I get to look at the beach from our exile on West Summerland Key.


One great thing about life in theKeys is quantity of open, unused public land you can wander at will. There isn't much dirt down here but what there is frequently undeveloped and open for all. The waters too.


Anglers like to stand on the seawall that was built to support the new bridge, opened in 1982. I wondered what sort of epic struggle broke this fishing rod abandoned in a trash can?


I do not chase fish but I am fascinated by those that stand here for hours staring at their lines dangling in the water. It was, I confess, a little voyeuristic but I peeked into the trash can to see what they do to wile away the hours. Ironically enough the anglers eat fried fish with copious amounts of ketchup, washed down with nasty "lite" beer and they use chum with gruesome fish oil to draw the fish to them. Or so it says on the box.


I climbed the hill up to the edge of the roadway to take a look around from a perspective high up. 'High' is a relative term topographically speaking, in the Florida Keys, but I must have been 25 feet above sea level which put me above any roadway in Key West.


A cyclist flashed silently by and I did a poor job of illuminating his effort on the endless ribbon of roadway. He is in the picture below, to the right, a mere shadow among the pixels.


Cheyenne was blissfully happy chasing traces of bait on the seawall. She has enough sense not to piss me off by falling into the fast moving water and thus forcing me to follow her in to save her 85 pound ass.


I wonder if the holiday makers were surprised to be driving by a human being apparently standing in air next to the bridge parapet.


It manages to surprise me even now how marvelously beautiful the mundane can be in the Florida Keys.


It's just a thirty year old Highway in the setting sun.



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