Not What I Expected

Seeing that I’m in a “real” college for the first time, my wife thought why not enjoy the total experience and spend Easter break in Florida.

She purchased the tickets and planned the whole affair while I got ready for binge drinking with keg stands and wet t-shirt contests in the bar where you could take belly shots and something called Jello shots. As a photographer I have never taken products shots of Jello before but I was up for anything.

Upon landing in Orlando we rented a standard SUV and headed south. Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and Key West prepare yourself for my insanity.

First stop the Everglades? Not much would be happening here. Although Angela did get some beers for the sunset…guess that would do for the first night. We found a camp site and I found out why she wanted me to pack the tent, sleeping bags and schwoosy mats. Although she packed the mosquito repellent, she didn’t pack anything labeled “Gator Repellent.” Man, was this ever going to be a long night!

The only thing that happened in the night was that it rained…in the dry season…my camping luck was holding out. We were set up and in the tent before the rain came down, but I wished I had listened to that little voice in the back of my head and staked out the rain fly. See, if you don’t stake out the rain fly it will keep the rain form entering at the top of the tent but not at the sides at the bottom. Yes, wet floor and wet sleeping bags.

We spent the next day hiking a Mangrove hammock enjoying the beauty and quiet and watching for the gator that might possibly be living there. I was told by the ranger that gators don’t view humans as prey…but when your up to your ass in gator country it is hard to get rid of the vision of a gator doing a death roll with you in it’s jaws. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched all those nature specials on PBS.

Out of the hammock without seeing a gator we headed down to a sanctuary where you could view birds and gators safety from a raised boardwalk that wound it’s way through the swamp. As crazy at it may seem, I preferred the danger of the hammock.

We decided that since the tent was wet we would head further south into the Keys and stay somewhere we could dry the tent and sleeping bags so we could camp for the rest of the trip. We found a nice trailer on the beach in Key Largo, hung the tent to dry, went to a laundry mat to dry the sleeping bags and later returned to sit on a dock overlooking Florida Bay and watch our second sunset in Florida.

No crazy wet t-shirt contests, belly shots or Jello shots but I was truly content and relaxed.

I’ll leave you for now with the memory of drinking beer on the dock and feeling all the world like Hemingway contemplating my next blog or story.

Wow, what a beautiful evening…thanks Ange.

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