Thursday, March 21, 2013

Summerland Mangroves

Big Pine Key is the center of commerce in the Lower Keys, the approximate half way point between Key West and the city of Marathon which are set fifty miles apart. Driving into Big Pine I found myself behind this pick up truck and I was forced to wonder how he did it. If I were to balance a cardboard box on the tailgate of my truck (which I don't actually own as I dislike trucks) it would promptly fall into the street if I were absent minded enough to drive off with it there. I turned off the Highway before his balancing act came to a sticky end.

The other commercial anchor in the Lower Keys is Summerland Key. Key West Diary: Summerland Key Nowadays Summerland Key has no video store but it does boast a rather decent liquor store with a surprising selection of beers wines and rums.

There are also a few decent walks off the main strip through Summerland. When I first got her Cheyenne was always ready to go for any walks after a lifetime spent on a chain or locked away. Nowadays she is more refined in her tastes and she decidedly prefers city walks.

Which sometimes feels a bit tedious to me because I enjoy the back country. Usually there's no one out here, and the wind blows like it does in the desert. Come out when the north wind blows and the sounds of traffic are blown south leaving only the sound that is the rushing of air past your ears.
Some time ago a blogger in snowy Wisconsin posted a picture of a blizzard for me. Living Among Tourists: Photo of Snow Storm... Not everyone got the joke as humor is a personal thing as I am fond of saying. Thus the picture above returns the favor to Martha Tenney who now publishes a new blog, Wisconsinland . She is in the painful process of finding a new home in a snowdrift Up North so I have included a slice of Florida Keys skies in our version of a blizzard, above.

For some reason Cheyenne proved willing to explore at least a little these trails this cooler time of year so I took advantage after several years away. This trail used to be a dumping ground for garbage of all sorts, old boats, construction material and rusting appliances.

Now the county has cleared the mess away and put down cement barriers to keep out future dump trucks.

These rock paths were originally built to serve planned developments across the Keys. Fortunately only a few of the developments were built, fortunately they were built else I'd not have a home out here! However large areas of mangroves that are in their natural state were left that way only because developments failed. This was an era when canals were cut trough the rock wit dynamite, a process that would never be permitted today.

Had the trails been built up they might have looked like this:

This is Cheyenne country where peop,e and dogs live and walk, a small Summerland community behind a canal parallel to the highway.

South of the Overseas Highway Summerland Keys boasts an airstrip and suburban homes with hangers, but north of the highway the canal opens up access for commercial fishermen.

Returning home to my small island a few miles north between Summerland and Big Pine I live south of the highway away from commercial activities, between a canal and the salt ponds. These are the local anglers I see across my street.

Posted with Blogsy


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir:

So you don't like pick-up trucks, eh? Well quite frankly I don't like Triumph motorcycles whose riders have accents like their underwear is too small and on backwards. What do you think of that?

Tony "Tuna Face" Pussaro
Chicken Bone Key, FL

Anonymous said...

Dear Editor/Key West Diary:

Have you considered cross-breeding the iguanas in your garden with Burmese pythons? Then you could have 50 or 60 inbred rednecks hunt them to extinction in a week? Of course, it might be difficult to hold an iguana and a Burmese python on top of each other until they start feeling romantic. But what the hell, I didn't say it would be easy.

Yours Truly,
Charles "Darwin" Bonewaith
The Cottswolds, UK

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Beattie:

Would there be any financial advantage for me to try and get into the Guinness Book of World Records by riding the Conch Train for a week straight? If I didn't break the record for going about in circles for days at a time with no purpose, would I still qualify for being the straightest thing in Key West for that period of time?

Ted Barlow
Speaker Of The House Of Pancakes
Washington, DC

Jack Riepe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear Sir:

I am thinking of building a railroad out to Key West — from Mobile, Alabama. There are enough oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to carry the tracks without having to build endless trestles, like Flagler did.

I am thinking of building my station on Ramrod Key. I thought it would be cool to use trains and stations like that kid's Program "Shining Time Station." Do you want to sell tickets?

Believe it or not, I got this idea smoking a ton of pot.

Yours truly,
Telly Seaver
Telly Seaver's Room

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

How are you going to keep a dog on the iguana farm on Ramrod Key once she's seen the lights of Key West?

Your Pal,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Conchscooter said...

Dear Jack, Thanks for trying to run me down this morning on my way home from work. I figured hitting 90mph on Highway One would either get away from you or attract a Sherfiff's Deputy. In the event it did neither but I cunningly pulled off and got away from you. I have missed you, but apparently not by much.
My advice is pay attentuion to your own much abused iguana and mine will look after themselves.
Cheyenne says kiss her ass.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michael:

You said, "Come down to Key West."

You said, "The door is always open."

You said, "Come as you are."

You said, "You a;ways have a place to sleep here."

How did I know you meant the door was a trap door and the place to sleep was a storefront?

Did you know your dog speaks iguana?

And wy the hell doesn't that dog keep the iguanas out of the garden?

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads