Sunday, January 23, 2011

we’ve been in florida

Coming to you live from…where are we? oh right – Cocoa Beach, Florida – it’s…the musingsfromdave roadtrip!

We have been On Vacation for like, a week now, but honestly, it doesn’t feel like it. That’s because my neural programming assumes that “vacation” means Go Somewhere and Don’t Leave It, whereas we’ve been on the move nearly every day since the moment we left home last…um…Monday.

Day One: we drove to New Jersey and visited with Kevin’s mom. Hi, Joan!

Day Two: I attempted a run. FAIL. Cold, cold rain and slush – conditions for which I was too wussy not prepared. In the afternoon, we drove to Kevin’s brother’s house outside Philly. The big news in that household was the recent addition to their family: two days previously, their brand-new guinea pig had unexpectedly given birth. Apparently she’d gotten knocked up at the pet store. Utterly scandalous.   guinea pigs



Lizzie. Oh, to be eight!

I gave Lizzie the pre-Panasonic camera and she was pretty psyched. I coached her on telling stories through pictures, and she was off and running. I believe the only thing standing between her and a blog of her own at this point is the name of the blog; suggestions welcome.

Day Three: we flew from Philly to Orlando, rented a car, and drove to my aunt Susie’s house. She took us out to dinner, and thus began the complete pigging out and indulgence fest that has characterized every day since then. (Blurp.) I scouted out locations for a run, but discovered it was going to be tough: she lives in a very small gated community surrounded by eight-lane roads with no sidewalks. Her condo is within sight of a small lake that has bald eagles nesting along it, but I couldn’t get access to it: gates, locks, etc. and believe me, I was prepared to jump over fences to get there, but it wasn’t going to happen. Grrrrr. I consoled myself by playing with her completely adorable cat instead.

Day Four: I thought about running along the eight-lane-highways-with-no-sidewalks. FAIL. We lounged around most of the morning, which was quite peaceful, and then drove around the pavement-and-mall phantasmagoria that is the Orlando metropolitan area, in search of a pair of glasses for Kevin. Victory! In the evening, my cousin and his family came over for dinner, and we got to meet the next generation of the family. Once again, I repeat: Oh, To Be Eight Years Old. It’s a swell age.

Day Five: We drove to Naples. By now I was feeling pretty much ungrounded and disconnected, so no sooner had we dropped our luggage in the hotel room than I headed out for a run – your basic three-miler. Whew. We dipped our toes in the Gulf, and found a place to grab some dinner. We parked the rental car between two Mercedes in downtown Naples. Are there any Mercedes in southern Vermont? I don’t think so.

Day Six: We visited with my grandmother – my sole remaining grandparent... And then we went to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Ahhhhhhhh…heaven. I could have taken eighteen million more pictures, but it looked like it was going to rain any second, and then there’s the matter of my incredibly small bladder. Sorry, TMI, I know. Without further ado…

2.5 miles of boardwalk take you through six totally separate ecosystems. I completely spaced out on photographing the first one – sorta like a general wetland – and finally woke up to take this one of the zone that lies between the wetland and the swamps. These are slash pine.


Then there is the cypress swamp itself – two kinds: swamp cypress, and bald cypress…


I’m pretty sure this is a swamp cypress. They are as old as 200 years; the bald cypress are as old as 600 years.


Again, not sure which kind – I think swamp, though, because this is early on in the boardwalk tour…


Here’s a wee little epiphyte, just getting started.


Check it out! “Blood Lichen”!


Spanish moss, at the baby stage before it’s dripping several feet off the branch.


This is a reflection in the water.


These odd humps are the “knees” of bald cypress. The cypress are shallowly-rooted, and it’s thought that these “knees” help stabilize them in hurricanes. This sanctuary includes the largest and oldest virgin bald cypress forest in North America.


Some more bald cypress knees. Onwards to the birds!

First off, we saw no wood storks. (Corkscrew is famous for its nesting woodstorks.) The water levels were a bit too high and they haven’t come by yet to build their nests. Ah well. Plenty of other beauties were out and about, minding their own business, though…including this Great Egret.


Yellow bill, black legs. These were nearly hunted to extinction for the sake of their feathers, which were popular in hats around 1912 – 1917 or so – in fact, the Audubon Society, which owns and runs this sanctuary, was founded in part specifically to protect this species.

Brief digression into strangler fig territory…


OK, back to the birds. Next up, white ibis.


Incidentally, I apologize for the crappy resolution – I had the camera set to “Stupidly Small File Size” by mistake.

And now for the herons. I’m no expert, but I believe these are both Little Blue Herons. I don’t mean, “young great blue herons”, I mean “little blue herons”. Its own species. Do you see the heron? Upper left hand corner?


Behold, the power of zoom:


This shot’s slightly clearer…


This guy, incidentally – as were all the birds – was very patient and calm, completely untroubled by us camera-totin’ tourists. And the humans, I have to say, were extremely well-behaved and super-quiet all along the 2.5 mile boardwalk trail. That was very gratifying.


Here’s the other little blue we saw. It was busy hunting.


It’s snarfing something down in this shot – I missed a shot of it with its dinner in its beak, alas!

Next up, the female anhinga. (The all-dark ones are the males.)


Here’s a male, drying its wings – yeah, it’s completely out of focus, but I thought I’d include it to contrast it with the female…



Boardwalk heaven.

To conclude Day Six, we had dinner with my cousin Stephanie and her new beau. Yay!


Day Seven (today): I got up at O Dark Early and went for a run in 40 degree weather (remember, this is southern Florida we’re talking about). It was the week’s long run – 7.6 miles. Victory! Then, we visited with grandma again, and then drove right across the middle of the state on local roads to get to the Atlantic.

I’ll conclude this Awfully Long Post with one last Nature Photo.


A female and male Homo sapiens. The female is sporting vacation-plumage head gear, while the male is adorned with the non-duct-taped variety of eyewear.

No comments:

Post a Comment