2018 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Another year and The LovedOne is still not keen on having her picture taken. She has countered by hiking ahead of me (and faster) so as to stay out of camera range. Fortunately, subterfuge and deception allow me to get close enough, from time to time, for a photo.

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Biscayne National Park (Florida) 11-Feb-2018

Biscayne National Park Florida

Biscayne National Park, which starts some 10 miles due east of Homestead, Florida, is another one of those national parks in Florida that is mostly offshore and underwater. You can’t see very much of it from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, so we scheduled a paddling/snorking day trip with the Biscayne National Park Institute to get a little closer look at this park.

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Everglades National Park (Florida) 10-Feb-2018

Everglades National Park Florida

After visiting Key West, Florida and Dry Tortugas National Park, we motored back up to Homestead, Florida. This put us in position for a brief visit to the east side of Everglades National Park.  This 734 square mile park encompasses habitats ranging from subtropical wetlands to coastal and marine ecosystems to pine forests and hardwood hammocks.  Everglades is more of a canoeing and kayaking park than a hiking one, but we found a short dirt trail in the pine forests present on the higher ground of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge.  This gave us a taste of the dense complexity of these forest habitats.  But, because we were visiting in the winter, this brief hike did not acquaint us with the dense complexity of flying and biting insects that await summer visitors.

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Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida) 08-Feb-2018

Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas National Park Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park, situated almost 70 miles (113 kilometers) due west of Key West, Florida, encompasses seven small islands and 100-square miles of open water. Fort Jefferson, the nation’s largest 19th Century all-masonry fort, sits on Garden Key and is the focal point for tourists, such as ourselves, who weren’t bent on visiting the park’s underwater features. Garden Key is accessible only by daily concession ferry, private boats, charter boats, or seaplane; we opted to visit via the ferry (Yankee Freedom III). It’s a four hour round-trip ride to the park but that still left us plenty of time to explore the fort (there’s also time to snorkel in the waters around the fort if you’re so inclined).

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Overseas Highway (Key West, Florida) 06-Feb-2018

Key West Florida

Years ago, work took me to Key West, Florida; a type of work that did not allow The LovedOne to join me. So when she expressed an interest in seeing Key West for herself, we planned a mid-winter trip to drive the Overseas Highway (I’d only flown to Key West before), spend a few days in the Keys, and also visit some of the national parks in South Florida. Our thinking was that this would be a nice break from the snowy winter we were expecting, and from all the snowshoeing we’d be doing.  Well, we haven’t had much snow or any snowshoeing, but it was a very nice break just the same.  We prepared ourselves for our visit by re-reading some of Carl Hiaasen’s nominally fictional novels about life in South Florida.  Call them “fiction” but his stories do capture the eccentric and frenetic gestalt of Miami and points south along the Keys.  The Conch Republic has its own special take on different, so Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey is essential reading for Key West visitors!

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