Tag Archives: Walk

Nature’s Gift

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Today I turned a year older. I didn’t really want presents. I have no room for anything and really don’t need anything. Instead I wanted to go on a hike at a new place with friends. I had seen pictures of a place that was a bit of a drive but still near by that intrigued me. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. I just can’t even begin to tell you how perfect it was.

There are quotes on plaques at certain spots along this boardwalked path. Between the sighs and sounds of the preserve, and the quotes. Nature was talking to me. Letting me know that I am on the right path and to keep it up. It was nourishing in a way I didn’t even realize I needed.

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“You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait something happens” Henry David Thoreau.

The soft sunlight, the smell of cypress and the chatter of birds in the trees. It was all just so perfect.

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“Falling in love with the Earth is one of lives great adventures. ” Steve Van Matre

Its true. It was like falling in love with the Earth all over again. Every step. Every new discovery. Every new enjoyment from the kids.It doesn’t matter that we have lizards and squirrels. These were here now! We saw them! It was right there! Watching their delight was truly a gift. Using our imaginations and just taking our time walking. We even saw a tree looking at us!

 

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It was truly an enjoyable walk. It was exactly what I wanted. It was gorgeous weather. The humidity and barometric pressure were steady, important tidbits when dealing with arthritis.  We lost track of time watching the turtle weave around the pond. We delighted in watching them eat the algae.  It was a secure enough trail that we felt confident enough to let the kids wander ahead of us.  Letting them explore and make their own discoveries.

 

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Its camouflaged  very well but I promise you there is an alligator in this picture. We watched him rather lazily swimming around for a bit.

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I can’t even imagine what it was like here even just fifty years ago. These trees are relatively small for cypress. There were some bigger ones. I just love the cypress knees sticking up.

 

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I think one of my favorite things was how many Yellow crown night heron’s we saw. It was like once we saw one we kept seeing them. We even got to watch one eating a fish.

 

It was the perfect escape and the perfect way to turn a year older.

 

We followed this with a visit to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The kids were super excited for smoothies.  It was all very delicious and the food came fast enough that the kids didn’t get too delirious and were so well behaved. Enough so that they even got cookies.

 

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All I want to do is see the river……

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I did not want to go for a walk. I knew I needed to go for a walk, after all it is friday, Frozen yogurt day. I had also had Panera for lunch. I needed to burn some calories. I needed to move for my joints. I needed to walk to help promote better sleep tonight.  I decided I was going to go the the preserve but walk the trail on the other side. I had never walked this trail. Now this might not seem like a big deal. However I normally go with someone when I am doing a new trail. Someone who knows how to read trail maps better than me. I don’t think I read them too good.

This particular trail you park on one side of the road, cross the road and start the trail. However, it is right where the incline of a bridge starts. It’s just a short incline, then the trail. The key is….I would have to cross this again to get back to the car. So I cross the road. Get through the incline, and start on the trail. I am only a few minutes down the trail when a red shoulder hawk flies right in front of me. It then lands close by and starts to call very loudly. So I go check it out. There is a fence between me and him and I stop at the fence. He starts to fly off. I think.. it figures. But no….he could care less about me… There is a female hawk in a nearby tree.

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Hey baby wanna make a nest with me?

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So…do you come to this branch often?

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The whole walk has been made. It was worth it just to see those two. I continue on the trail a bit. I come to a sign. Service entrance only. um… WHAT? So I go back to where I started. I found where the actual trail begins. It was actually a lot less obvious than what turned out to be the service trail. Like I said I don’t feel a whole lot of confidence on reading the trail map, so I am really aware of the markers. I orient myself to where the marker is and where it is indicated on the map. I figured out what my path would be and how i would loop it back around to the beginning. Okay maybe I got this. Off we go.

Its been a bit and here we are at the first marker we come to. The marker 23. Okay. So I am on the right path. I decide I have plenty of time so I want to walk down to the  river and loop back. We come to the next marker, 22. So far so good. Markers 21, comes and goes. In much of Florida our woods and preserves have been invaded by invasive wild boar. They tear up the ground. I guess the trails are very convenient for them as they had torn up quite a bit of this one.

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For extra fun there is a fresh layer of um dead oak leaves on the ground. This hides some of the little holes. This was turning out to be more of a hike than a walk. Well I will sure enjoy extra hot fudge on my Frozen yogurt. That is how this exercise thing works right?

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Then there is a little path that veers off….do I follow that? I decide to just stay on the larger path and keep going. Now we come up to marker 18. I am starting to see that these markers are fairly accurate on where I think they should be as to where they appear on the map. This has not always been the case on trail maps.  We come up to a marker…… it says eleven. How the hell did I get to eleven? I just want to get a look at the river and maybe sit a few minutes. I look at the map.  I look back at the marker. Ooooohh not eleven.. That is a seventeen. The top of the seven was just hard to see. Ooooookkkaayy We are good. I follow the map and trail fairly well and even get down to the river. I wasn’t impressed with the view at first.

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Then I am retracing my steps a bit which is also what the map indicates you have to do. I find a little beaten down path. It leads right out to the water. There is a slight incline but I really want a good view of the river so I am good for it.

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Besides there is a tree right in the middle…I could always just use that to stop my fall right? I could get a little muddy but the water is right there so we are good right?

Lets just say it was worth that little incline.

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I get back up the incline to the path and my knees and ankles are like…yeah don’t try that again okay? I start off taking the path that loops back.  Marker nine. Check. Marker ten check. Marker eleven. Check. I keep on going. There are some birds calling that I don’t quite recognize and I file it away to go to the Audubon site to see if I can match them up. I came to the next Marker…..or so I thought. Turns out I went the wrong way and ended back at 15. I could have just followed that back. I was determined now though to finish the walk. So I turned around and back tracked and took the right path. Shortly there after I come to marker seven. Between Marker six and five there is a bench indicated and it looks like it looks at the river. So I am going to check it out.

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Really was worth the little detour. I climbed over those logs a bit and there across the river, was an alligator. The alligator is in the second picture above on the shore. Really he looks like a log. The only difference is this particular log moves, and has teeth.

He really was a tiny alligator. I would have to say maybe four years old or so. When they are younger than four they have stripes. Anyway, it made the little detour worth while. So next marker was five and then four. At three there is another indication of a detour to see the river. So I took it.

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So now I am confident on where I am at I explore some little off shoots. Then the worse part.

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The incline back to the car. I get to the top of this and I really want to go down the little bit and see the river from the bridge.

It did not disappoint.

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Hey maybe I can read a trail map pretty good. I do think there would be some market value in an app that tracks your gps on trail maps. Of course then the trail maps would have to be online as well. It would be something I would be interested in, for when I walk the trails by myself.

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I like more landmarks than most trail maps put on there. Like you will pass a pile of old cement pilings…..or you will pass an abandoned tank of some sort here. Although how they would depict that on a map, I have no idea. They would probably label it what it was and I would be like well we passed a tank looking thing back there, I guess that’s what they mean.  Maybe on the app that someone could create they could also let others add landmarks. Maybe they would use terms others would understand.  These are the kinds of things I find myself thinking about on my walks by myself.  Birds, trail map apps, pigs, and wanting to just see the river.

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All pictures were taken by me with my Android Phone.  The river is the Myakka River. This preserve is Sleeping Turtles North.

How a walk saved a life

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I had some time to kill. So I went to a park I had not gone to in awhile. It was a grey morning and I wanted to see how the light would hit the water on the intercoastal waterway.

I completed my walk and was thinking. I am not quite ready to leave. I kinda glanced at this demonstration garden that features Florida friendly and mostly native plants. I was going to go. I decided to take a walk through and then go. I am not sure what made me decide that. Snickerdoodle was back home and waiting. I had not gotten far when shivering between a box garden wall and a sign post was a kitty. She was really pitiful looking. She obviously had some kind of mange or fungus growing. She was skin and bones. I could see her skin in places. She could not even open her eyes at me. I started crying. How could someone do this to a cat? I held my hand out cautiously to her. She sniffed it and shivered some more. I looked around. There was a county vehicle in the parking lot and running. He did walk with me back to her but said ” oh just leave her. Animal control will be along shortly.”

I looked at her. I couldn’t do it. She was so sad looking and then she got up and tried to brush against my pants. I took the sweater off and draped it over her and picked her up. She tried to squeak a little bit. I tried to figure out how to set her on the seat with out the mange getting on my seats too…I gave up and just held her in one hand and drove with the other. She peeked her head out and looked around a bit then tucked up inside the sweater and was content. The poor thing had to be chilled to the bone. It was 53-55 degrees out with a decent wind blowing.

I tried to wrack my brain for who was open and who I could take her to. I knew animal control would just euthanize her right away.

1426200_604279212953253_1214818359_nA friend of mine worked near by and I knew she was involved in a no kill shelter and worked part time at a veterinarians office. So we took her into the kitchen and got her some water and a can of cat food. Which she proceeded to snarf down.

So I left this kitty in her care.

I could not get this kitty out of my head. She just exuded sweetness.I didn’t just think about her one or two time. Every time I turned around I was thinking about her.

So after babysitting I called to check on her. She was doing fine. She was very sweet and had scarfed down five cans of food and kept it all down. She had mange and they were treating her for that. They think she has been out on the streets for several months. They named her Anya. We could all tell once she was back to health and had some fur back she was beautiful. She looks now to be a tortoise shell coloring, medium to long hair. She was so skin and bones that after the first shot for mange they tried to give her a b12 shot and distemper but the needle went right through to the other side. She was that skinny. It was hard to get a pinch of anything but skin.

Venice Cat Coalition has taken her in and started her care. We suspect she belongs to someone in the Venice area. She was found in Shamrock park. If you know someone who lost a cat that looks like her in that area please let them know about her. If you can spare a few dollars to help the Venice Cat Coalition out with her care, I have included their link. I have three rescued cats and both our dogs are rescues plus we have my brother in laws dog here as we live with him. We can’t take anymore animals in, we can however save them when we see them.

If I had not decided to take that walk today I would have never found her. How she survived last night with the temps I do not know. We have also been having a high influx of coyotes and she probably would not have lasted more than a week, two at the most. By taking ten minutes for myself today I also saved a life.

http://www.venicecatcoalition.com/