With every day and every new snowflake that falls, Florida feels very far away.
But hold on a minute.
For all of you who haven’t had a chance to escape this wretched winter, I have something for you:
There. Do you feel better? There is indeed retribution for the gall we exhibited in leaving this frigid climate and seeking out some kind of paradise.
Yes, that’s right. Poison ivy. And if you missed it, you can read the label.
So you might ask, “How did you get it on your hand?” Karma. And the sheer impossibility that poison ivy would be growing WITH A LABEL alongside a path at the Calusa Heritage Trail within the Randall Research Center in Pineland, Florida.
On their website, it lists what to bring:
* Insect repellent
I would (somewhat sarcastically) add:
* a Hazmat suit
No offence. This spot was beautiful and taught me things about this area of Florida of which I had no idea. For example, did you know that the Calusa were an early indigenous people that lived along the coast in southwest Florida. They did not farm but rather fished, fashioning nets from palm webbing and patrolling the coast in dugout canoes made from cypress trees. They even sailed as far away as Cuba.
This site is minimally managed but incorporates mown lawns, natural pathways, osprey platforms and scattered benches and picnic tables. Dogs are allowed, mind you on leash, and we visited it many times during our holiday. It was one of the only places within a 15 minute drive from our cottage where Skye could chill.
Despite my contact dermatitis, I do have good memories of this holiday.
This was the view from our waterside cottage.
And this was our neighbourhood resto-bar.
…where you could order and eat very, very slowly, home-made key lime pie…
When we weren’t eating –
(and drinking) –
– we were looking for places to walk Skye. Like here:
But before you get the idea that we had little direct contact with the water, you will see that is not true.
My first kayak expedition.
Bliss. Even for someone who doesn’t (really) swim and is afraid of sharks.
Soon after that paddle, we packed up the car again and set out to return home. Goodbye blue skies. Goodbye southern sun. Goodbye sand.
Skye is happy again. Traitor.