Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Old Bahia Honda

I haven't visited this spot in months, and when I did come here for the first time after I got home from the hospital I found the trails were inaccessible to me with my feeble legs. It was annoying to find myself unable to navigate pebble filled trails set at a steep angle on the slopes leading to the old bridge. So I didn't  come back. No one wants to be reminded of their frailties. This latest visit, filled with determination to cope, I was quite surprised to see a vehicle abandoned by the water:
Rusty took off but he didn't go far down the trail toward the old bridge. So I found myself not visiting the old monument!
It was as though he remembered my inability to make it across the slope and he herded me back to the parking lot. I suspect I am sentimentalizing his lack of interest in the trail but I'm okay with making him more human than he ever might want to be. 
The fast crumbling old bridge still looks imposing. Deep concrete pilings support the old railroad trestles converted to a road bridge in 1938. The sun low in the sky gave it a golden glow with no filtering on my part.
The car it seems was not abandoned as I saw movement inside, a sleeper enjoying free waterside accommodations most likely.
We walked the paved bike trail and descended on foot to the water...
...where I found signs that others have made the vehicular trek along what little remains of the old road down.
Before Hurricane Irma tore everything up it was easy to turn off the highway and drive down to the water. Camper vans used to do it. I took this picture in August 2013.
The car picked up and left  driving up the remains of the track, onto the bicycle path (!) and away... 
We continued hang out alone wandering through the shrubbery which is struggling to grow back after the ravages of the storm.
I sat on an old cement block that used to be under a leafy gumbo limbo but that is now struggling to produce leaves at all.
A few signs of life:

This old mangrove got killed off but the remains still stand. I saw no leaves at all there.
My long standing cement seating area that used to be in the shade:
A couple of walkers from heaven knows where showed up on the skyline:
Took some pictures...
And we continued to sit...

And then they left...
A lovely morning.
More death and destruction from Irma. The amount of wrecked foliage here really pissed me off the first time I came by right after the hurricane. I used to love sitting here in the abundant shade from the trees that grew along the water's edge. Nowadays it is still a scene of devastation. The highway itself was torn up nearby, right in front of the state park entrance cutting Key West off for several days. But this area was what annoyed me most when I considered all the trees torn up around the Lower Keys:
The damage to homes was dreadful of course and I was lucky in that department but to see my favorite walks stripped of leaves and foliage felt like Nature rubbing salt into the wound. 

It remains a beautiful spot of course:

Bike Week  in Daytona brings tons of motorcycles to the Keys the week before as visitors explore the state.

The Florida Highway Patrol showed up and parked in the median in front of the Bahia Honda Bridge.
It's known as the Lower Keys Toll Booth and almost immediately the blue lights came on:
Traveling south off the bridge speeding locals slow down to 60 mph in the 55 mph zone. Visitors  see the four lanes reducing to two and race to get ahead. And, as it turns out get a ticket.
My wife came by on her way to work in Marathon and Rusty said Hi.
And so home to chores.