Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Florida Keys Are Closed


Sugarloaf Loop

I took this walk before the coronavirus things started spreading into our lives. The weight of opinion is starting to flop in favor of social isolation and other measures, late though they may be to delay spread of the disease. Lots of that everywhere. Here, today a few pictures of a walk in the woods. I miss that serenity.
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Rusty baffles me as he has a mind of his own and he likes to use it. Most of my dogs have felt free to express disagreement with me at various stages of their lives with me. Cheyenne used to stand and stare at me when she didn't like the direction of the walk and she would lay down, preferably ina  puddle when she was tired. 
Rusty takes it a step further, he changes preferences according to some inner compass that I cannot for the life of me divine. He will take a treat and put it aside and eat it or not as the mood takes him, maybe later maybe never. He likes his routines and then breaks them without a hint of a reason why. 
It was a lovely morning and there were no cars parked at the entrance to the Sugarloaf Loop walk so I thought what the hell, instead of driving further down Sugarloaf I might as well stop here and see if it takes. It took and here's the proof if any were needed, Rusty on the Jumping Bridge:
It was sunrise when we got to the bridge.
Google Map "jumping bridge sugarloaf" and won't you be surprised to see this place pop up. The water in the canal below is deep and safe for people to leap. So they do with and without encouragement:
The day promised a good start and I hoped Rusty was ready to indulge me. 


The canal running north of the bridge looked as placid as you like.


It was cut into the rock to provide boating access to a planned community that didn't happen. Nowadays it serves houses at the far end of the canal that were in fact built, so a few boats do travel back and forth here. 
There is a sort of trail along the bank that serves people and dogs and apparently Rusty was in the mood to run.

The trail was dry but I got fooled. There is one shallow point where no matter the tide dirt turns to mud so i did the only thing I could and removed my shoes and socks.
Crocks have been sucked off my feet here. I sat on the edge of the canal and washed my feet, dried them with my socks and got on with the walk.



It was early still and the sun was low. This side trail with ruts scooped out of the rock put me in mind of Roman cart tracks at Pompeii, a stretch I know but I have always been accused of having an over active imagination by people who don't know me.
back on the asphalt loop Rusty indicated a willingness to walk deeper into the mangroves through the development that never was.




I think it was a harmless black racer sunning itself on a cool day. They are excellent hunters and squeezers of pests that you don't need in your life so they are best left alone. Normally they scoot off out of the way but this one was out like a light in the warm roadway. I could practically hear it snoring.
We were not entirely alone in the wilderness, some guy got separated from the Tour de France and came pedaling by in tight fitting cycling clothes.
It was wilderness alright. I wonder how many people walking Duval think of the Florida Keys looking like this?

It was a tad bit warm.

Another cyclist, the last we saw out on the loop.



It just goes on and on.
A boat! In the lagoon!
Back near the bridge again we saw people. Rusty saw bicycles and so sat by the side of the road, prudently as taught.  I like him to go to the shoulder and sit when he sees a vehicle which produces the occasional impasse when he sees distant lights in the road and he automatically sits. God boy. And makes us wait till they pass out of sight which can take an age. He takes his traffic rules very seriously.
Well we eventually connected with Tom visiting from the Panhandle of Florida with a young dog he was out exercising. Rusty had the decency to play with the rambunctious puppy while Tom and I talked.
He is a commercial fisherman on vacation which I thought was a rather interesting idea to come to the Keys where fishing is a vacation. I set him straight on some places where he could let his over energized hound run and we parted ways.
A lovely sunny morning had developed over the course of our three hour walk.
Paddlers were now awake and paddling on the canal under the Jumping Bridge.
Rusty and I paused and caught our breath.

More boats, more people and thus time for us to make ourselves scarce.


I didn't even wave goodbye to the lone swimmer who was peering into the depths:
One small brown dog headed home to a long nap and a quiet afternoon's sunbathing.