It is said that when Spanish explorers found South Florida Indians living in the mess that they considered the Everglades to be, they asked their hosts, with some perplexity, where they slept. After all, the Spaniards, overdressed in rusting armor could not conceive of people living out their lives in the river of grass, as damp and leaky as it was then, and continues to be to a lesser degree, today. The Indians pointed to clumps of trees and said they slept in the hammocks, and the Spaniards who managed to cock up the meaning of just about everything they came across in their meanderings, thought the Indians were talking about the creepers they stretched between the trees to sleep in, hence the modern use of the word hammock to describe the contraption we use while on vacation to rest in. In fact the Indians were describing the small clumps of dry land which rose a few feet above the river of grass and allowed relatively spacious hardwood trees to grow and provide shelter for the Indians to live in. Thus it is in South Florida that hammocks are places where trees grow (and where for all I know tourists could also be slinging hammocks). And at Curry Hammock State Park one can wander a trail right through something resembling the original meaning of the word hammock.And we even found ourselves a meadow, though appearances can be deceptive.This meadow was covered in stout crab grass, not the lush soft grasses found in more temperate climes.
By some miracle of timing my wife and I both had a day off together and we had no chores to do. So it was only appropriate that we cast off our cares and take to the road, not, I am sorry to say on the Bonneville, but in the eminently more civilized convertible, which my wife converts all the time except when it's parked.
The state park isn't large where it sits on Little Crawl Key, (a name to conjure with) and offers visitors lots of access to the calm waters of the Straits of Florida, on the south side of the island chain. Apparently small children are encouraged to be off their leashes, discriminatory perhaps but rules is rules.
Curry Hammock lies at Mile Marker 56, technically within the city limits of the relatively new city of Marathon, which is no place much to write home about as it is a wide spot in Highway One about 12 miles long, and the second largest city in the Florida Keys. However it does contain more than one thing worth seeing and Curry hammock is one of those. The helpful information board near the sparkling clean, environmentally low flush restrooms, offers a list of the top ten things to do at the park, and I was glad to see "nothing" was rated number one. A piece of advice more than one visitor acted upon, vigorously:
Including the lucky few who filled the park's 28 camping spots next to the day use area:
The weather continues windy as we prepare for another cold front later this week and this state of affairs favored number 9 on the park's lists of activities: kite boarding.This is a strenuous pastime and doesn't allow for much time to read apparently.There were several brightly colored kites buzzing dementedly back and forth along the waterfront.They were controlled by some very determined men in wetsuits who spun across the horizon doing pirouettes while the older, more sedate visitors stumped around onshore providing a serene foreground for the waterborne madness.And from time to time they would pop up like jackrabbits out of the water and change their direction of travel as though pursued by a farmer with a shotgun.
I thought the kite boarding was an excellent sport, silent, non invasive, non polluting though probably ruinous for their backs when they get to middle age. There were also a few people interested in the more traditional sports associated with Florida Parks. Pastime number five for instance, on the park list:
And though best friends are welcome, on leashes, they aren't allowed on the modest sized beaches, thanks to owners' habits of not picking up, if you follow my drift and leaving unwelcome surprises for bare feet in the sands that mask all defecation:
And thus, tour completed, sunshine enjoyed, water drunk, back to the main road of life, our life in the Keys.