Jan 18th Parking, and pie on a stick.

The day started off slowly as we had to green light for sleeping in from Chris. We all woke up at the late morning hour of 8 showing how we have settled into the routine of the camping lifestyle. After a yogurt and Publix special breakfast bread breakfast, we set out for long key state park. We followed the single road in the keys southward over various bridges and islands, ohhing and ahhing every time we reached the top of a bridge and were greeted by an aquamarine ocean vista.
Arriving at the park we set out to hike the park's nature trail and learned about the poison tree, that had good and bad news that came with it. The good: it is great habitat for white crowned doves (exciting the birders of the trip) and the bad: if touched, it can cause itching, and a severe rash (bad for everyone). The one mile loop was somewhat quiet other than a rather bored looking college group being lectured at (not us. Lets go experiential learning!), but still yielded some cool sightings: a short-tailed hawk, red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, ghost crab, antlion larvae, a delicious smelling plant called sea lavender, and sadly, no white crowned doves.
We then broke for lunch and a little bit of snorkeling. Chris led the charge into the sea grass beds, snorkeling as some of us set up lunch, and others patrolled the beach in search of coral, shells and hermit crabs. As Chris returned to sandy salami, and no silverware (oops) the Nathe/ans took a turn with the snorkels. Though they have the same name they had very different ways of snorkeling. Firepit (Nathan B) swimming along normally, and Slimjim (Nathen P) choosing to bear crawl face in the water and bottom in the air, in an effort to keep his shorts dry.
After lunch, we piled into the vans and headed south towards key west and the southernmost point in the continental united states. Spirits were high, and the rumor of ice cream was running rampant. Unfortunately, the drive was still about two hours, but sworth it. Upon arriving we discovered how difficult it would really be to park two, twelve-passenger vans in the bustling tourism center of the keys. Logically we headed to the nearest park to solve our predicament and serve as a base to go find ice cream.
The park, as well as having parking, turned out to have a beach, as well as a café that served ice cream and key lime pie on a stick. Many of us got the pie being in the Florida keys, and we headed to the beach with some very friendly doves and we were able to put our feet in the water and look out to sea where we knew Cuba was just out of sight, and only 90 miles away. Firepit (Nathan) disappeared almost immediately in search of marine life and was later found way out on a rock spit crouching over a tidepool, perhaps being the first person to make the scramble in black skinny jeans. Unfortunately we still had to make the two hour drive back to our campsite were starting to think about food again although we didn’t leave without seeing a sandwich tern so that probably helped. Driving back, we were treated to a beautiful sunset and the promise of fish tacos and a swimming pool upon return to camp.

Nathen Peck, (sophmore Biology)

Posted by crsmithant crsmithant, January 20, 2022 15:29

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