Exploring Big Cypress National Preserve, part 2

If you missed part 1, you can find it here. Big Cypress encompasses several different environments, and they each require a specific mode of transportation. Many places are accessible with your own vehicle, despite any warning signs you might see…

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Many of the roads are hard packed sand and are easy to navigate…

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They offer a stunning array of scenery and wildlife opportunities…

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Other areas can only be reached via hiking trails. We started out on the Gator Hook Trail. At the start, it looked something like this…

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With scenery like this…

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Then it became a bit muddier…

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As you can see, Steve is having second thoughts about this hike. And with good reason, the rest of the trail looked like this…

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We hadn’t really planned for a wet hike, so we decided to head back and check out some of the other trails. One of the neat things about Big Cypress is they have several boardwalk hikes. Most are less than a mile and are wheelchair accessible. You can see almost all of the same scenery, but with dry feet.

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What do you think of this in black and white?

The boardwalk at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park has a chickee near the beginning of the trail…

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As the boardwalk meanders through the forest/swamp, you can’t help but notice the changes in the landscape. Cypress knees begin cluttering the forest floor…

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Most of the cypress trees were logged out during the late 1800’s. But every now and then, you can find one that has been around a while. I have no idea how old this tree is, but the plastic water bottle near the base of it gives something for scale. (There was actually very little litter in the preserve)

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The boardwalk ends at a large viewing platform with several benches…

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While Steve was talking with another visitor, I watched the anhinga looking for its lunch…

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Another day, Steve and I hiked out to Deep Lake. Since we were there during the dry season, the path was pretty easy to walk. There were a few places where getting wet was the only option. At least we were prepared this time…

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Deep Lake is a naturally occurring sinkhole lake and is over 90 feet deep.

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How many alligators do you see? Hint, there are more than 5

One of the benefits of hiking versus driving, is you can just stop and check things out. You will see things you would have otherwise missed. Like the neat pattern the fungus made on this tree…

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Or the blooms of the bromeliads…

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Or the lizards,

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A strangle fig with its victim,

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A squirrel hiding in a tree,

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Or a liguus tree snail…

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For me, kayaking is probably the next “slowest” way to take in the sights.

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I imagine during the wet season, all of this is underwater.

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Other ways to get into the “back country” are airboats…

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And my personal favorite – swamp buggies…

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There are lots of places you can take airboat or swamp buggy eco tours, but we opted not to on this trip. Maybe next time!

Until then…

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We say “Thanks for coming along!” and we always love reading your comments!

Taking it all with us – Or Not!

Despite the fact I have never been over attached to crap we’ve collected over the years possessions, downsizing can be an emotional roller coaster! Lucky for us, we began the process several years ago (something else we learned from my parents – start early). We’ve had numerous yard sales over the years and more Craig’s List posting than I care to count but what about the truly personal items: the scrapbooks, historical photographs, hand written notes from loved ones? What do you do with those items?

Several weeks ago, an idea began to take shape. While it is not practical, weight wise, to take all those photo albums with us (and seriously who ever opens their photo albums and looks through them?), there isn’t any reason we can’t take the pictures. We do have one of those electronic picture frames where the images scroll by, but I wanted something more personal and functional. We have done very little in the way of making Waldo our own. It still has the curtains my mom bought and while they do the job, they aren’t exactly my style. What did I having lying around I could repurpose? I’ve always made my own curtains, I just can’t justify the expense of fancy store-bought ones. The only exception to that was the blackout curtains Steve bought several years ago (To be honest, Laura was visiting her parents when the curtains magically appeared – Steve) Well, I could cut them down to size and that would be functional and while the soft blue color does match our bedroom, it won’t make them personal. My plan was to use the blackout curtains as a liner. I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible, so I used an old microfiber bed sheet I had lying around for the “front” of the curtain. I ordered dark fabric iron-on transfers and turned our favorite pictures into transfers. I took some time to size them, print them, cut them out and iron them on, but the result was exactly what I had hoped for…

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Curtain A

I included pictures of our parents, our children through the years, our grandchildren and us. The blackout liner will be perfect when we finally get to “The Land of the Midnight Sun” aka Alaska. I hadn’t told Steve about my idea and had them folded up on the dining room table when he got home from the shop one night last week. I think I might have seen a tear in his eye when he looked at them. Now our favorite pictures will always be right where we can see them!

On another front, we are one step closer to being ready to put the house on the market. The new carpet was installed this week. Now all the flooring upstairs is new. Of course it wasn’t as easy as just getting new flooring, I had to finish all the painting before the installers arrived – no small task! But – IT’S DONE!! woohoo!

Out with the old…

 

And in with the new…

 

The final thing I accomplished last week was to design and order new business cards. Here are the results…

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What do you think?

My goal this week is to finish the painting downstairs and to start getting ready for our final sale, our moving sale!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous