Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Beach Walk

Cheyenne and I enjoy walking a particular beach on the south shore of Big Pine. It's a Key Deer refuge off Long Beach Road, and in summer it is quite empty. The walk itself is a delightful mix of whatever you want. There is a sandy ridge, just a few feet high as this is Florida and nothing is too tall, but high enough to be dry year round and like any hammock, as dry spots are called, it allows a variety of real trees to grow and flourish. The path that winds it's way along the sandy ridge is quite wooded.It is my habit to bring a paper or a magazine ( a Kindle if I were Modern) and take breaks along the way while Cheyenne roots around in the undergrowth. There must be a lot of feral smells here as she enjoys spending a lot of time here.I expect to spend a couple of hours here every time we come for a visit. There are Key Deer wandering back and forth but she doesn't bother them and they tend to melt away as soon as they see us. There are of course birds in the salt ponds.
The views across the Straits of Florida are equally enchanting, even on a day with thick puffy clouds covering the sky.The gumbo limbos around here are quite large.
Cheyenne sometimes manages to express silent impatience as I stand around fiddling with my photographic apparatus.
But she finds ways to amuse herself.Winter is buzzard season in the Keys.
At the beginning of the winter tourist season some mysterious person comes by and clears the trail overgrown during summer and puts fresh labels on the plants of note: The trail is probably a mile long end to distant end though it feels further. It encompasses all sorts of terrain including a small, dog friendly meadow.
At the eastern end the trail dead ends into the campground which is part of the Big Pine Lodge and Marina on Long Beach Road.Parts of the return trip we did along the beach, just for variety.Always someone out fishing...
...or wading:At low tide the shoreline is a mixture of rocky shore covered by dead, springy seaweed.The view east toward West Summerland Key:
In the distance the Overseas Highway Bridge.

Anyone who comes to the Keys to enjoy long sandy beaches will be disappointed. Seaweed and rock is not adequate for visitors with high expectations of sand, but Cheyenne and I are used to it.