Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winter in Florida - Headed North

Dorothy in the mangrove tunnel going from Coot Pond to Coot Lake


OK, finally I see that at least one mangrove resembles a man




On the way north from the lower keys we “discovered” Curry Hammock CG. It is one of the best CG in the nation. We may try to get a spot there next year.

We decided to hole up in Flamingo for the weekend. In addition to it being a nice CG for $8 a night, we wanted to be warm for a few more days. Our camping chums have been here for a few days and are headed north in tomorrow. However, there are two other Lazy Daze here.

As we headed out for a hike Friday, a third Lazy Daze appeared at the entrance. We saw SC1 on the front and knew it was George and Betty from Texas that we met on the Baja trip last year. So for the next two nights we had the Everglades GTG with them and Howard and Carol from Maryland.

Sunday we left Flamingo for a LONG five-hour drive north to Lake Kissimmee. About 2, we passed Fisheating Creek, which had been recommended to us, but we pressed on. After stopping to grocery shop we finally arrived at the CG, really drained.

We took the inland route, US27, from south Florida. The first hours are through some of the most boring landscape invented by man. It’s totally altered from the way it was created. From Florida City north it’s all row crops. Then you enter an area where all the trees are dead from too much salt. As you near the south end of Lake Okeechobee, dead trees are replaced by sugar cane. The lake has a tall berm so it can hold more water than Nature intended. The berm was added to ensure there will be adequate water for sugar cane cultivation. This means that water intended for the Everglades is diverted to crops. When you consider that sugar in the US is three times the world price thanks to tariffs to keep foreign sugar out, you might wonder why. Well it’s to support a handful of families who make substantial donations to both political parties.

Around Frostproof, FL you exit sugar cane and enter a much more interesting landscape; orange groves mixed with massive pastures full of cattle.

The beaches around Ft. Myers and Naples are stunning. The color of the water in the Keys is incredible. The large wading birds are a delight to see. The winter climate is kind to not getting any younger people. But, otherwise south Florida is a bore.

Tuesday - Back on the road. We turned a 3.5 hour drive in a six hour trip by stopping to shop every few miles. The treasure I wanted, Ardbeg whisky, was not found.

We landed in O’Leno SP and plan on putting the yaks in the river tomorrow.

The 5PM temperature is 62.

We paddled the Ichetucknee River. These Indian names gets a bit tedious don’t they? Anywho, the source of the Ichetucknee is a first-magnitude “Blue Spring”. Within a mile of the origin, two more springs contribute water. This whole area of Florida has dozens of “Blue Springs”. The water is crystal clear. The bottom is white quartz. It’s a delightful area and I am glad to be back where some things are green, even in Winter.

The Ichetucknee River

Thursday, we headed west to Camel Lake, a Forest Service CG near the Apalachicola River. It is one of the best FS facilities we have seen. It’s on a small lake way back in the pines. The grounds are immaculate. There is water at the campsite, plus hot showers for $5. We opted for electric for an additional $5. We even have analog TV and Verizon service. Life is good. And we are in easy driving of Panama City where we will jump to next.

The 5PM temperature is 69.

No comments:

Post a Comment