Monday, June 23, 2014

Our *Not-So-Auspicious* Adventure !!!

...and then Daddy said "Don't Worry"––
It was AWFUL, Pinkie!!!!


It All Started Out So Promising...


Oh– Daddy!  We've Been Here Before!!

We are going to Hike Through a Dry Prairie Ecosystem.
Myakka River State Park is one of only three 
Dry Prairie Ecosystems in Florida.
Strangely enough, Ryan, Dry Prairies actually Hold Water 
for a Long Time and this is a High Water Period 
for Myakka River State Park.

We are Starting our Hike through a Shady Live Oak 
and Palm Hammock.
Do we have our Water, Compass, Hiking Sticks 
and All our Equipment, Ryan?
We are going to be Gone for Three Days and Two Nights 
in Primitive Conditions.


The Road is Flooded in Places, Ryan.

Notice that the Water is Red-Brown– 
that is because of the Tannic Acid that leaches 
from decaying Vegetation in Swamps and Wetlands.
Its also called Blackwater and exists in the Amazon Basin 
and the Southern United States.

Look, Ryan!  A Mother Deer and her Fawn!  How Pretty they are!

Wildflowers, Daddy!


Here is Where we Get Off the Road, and onto a Trail.



Wow!  A Florida Soft Shelled Turtle!  He's BIG! 


 I Wonder if he was Eating these Flowers?


This is a Long Trail, Dad!
Yes, Ryan.  
It is 5.4 Miles to the Bee Island Primitive Campsite.
There are 35 Miles of Trails through this Park, Buddy.

Look, Dad!  Another Turtle!!
Yes, Ryan... Indeed!  This one has been Dead for a Long Time.
Some Animal may have Eaten it.  
The Wilderness is a Dangerious Place.

In fact, Look Up into these Long Leaf Pine Trees–
 these Guys are just Waiting for an Animal to Get Killed or Die!

Uh-Oh!  Feel that Wind?  
A Late Afternoon Stormfront is Coming in Quickly!!
We will Never Make It to Bee Island Primitive Camp site... 
let's Stop Here.

Let's Set-Up Camp Here, Ryan.  There is some Shelter from the Winds.
I Can Set Up my Camping Hammock Between those Two Trees... 
and you can Set Up your Tent Close By.





Just in Time Ryan!!
How is Your Campsite Going?


I've Set my Tent Up, Dad... and I have my Supplies Set Out.
Well– let's get a Quick Hot Cocoa Drink into us before the Storm comes.


I'll Watch the Cocoa, Dad!


Good-night, Dad.  
I'm So Glad to be Out Camping with you!
I Hope that Mommy is OK without us!
I'm Sure Mommy is OK without us, Ryan– 
she is Probably Worried about us Out Here in the Woods!


Good-night, Ryan.  Enjoy your Tent and Sleeping Bag.
I will be Right Here in my Camping Hammock if you Need me.


Good Morning, Ryan!


I Slept in All my Clothes!

I'm All Ready to Go!!
Hold On There, Buddy– We've Gotta' Have Breakfast First!

I'll Watch our Breakfast Cook, Dad!

Yummy!
We have Nuts, Dried Cherries and Raisins in our Oatmeal.

Ryan– you've Got to Take your Tent Down.
Ryan!?–

'Be Right There, Dad...!!!!
(So– Bears *DO* Go In The Woods... !)

Here is our Trail.  See the Blue Blaze on the Trees, Ryan?
How Much Further?
Not Very Far Now, Ryan.

Dad.  What's That?!

It is a Clay Turpentine Pot Fragment called a 'Herty Cup', Ryan.
In the late 1800s the Pine Trees Around us were Slashed
so that their Sap (or 'Pine Rosin') would Gather into Small Clay Pots.
They would Gather the Sap from the Pots and Boil it to make Pitch and Turpentine.
We will Put it Back Where we Found it, Ryan.  It Belongs to this Park as an Artifact.

We Turn Here, Dad!!
We were Supposed to Camp Here Last Night–
but we Made It to Bee Island for Lunch, Instead.

WATER!  I'm Thirsty!!
Wait, Please, Ryan... Read the Sign, First.


We Have our Own Water to Drink.  Plus, I've Packed us some Coconut Water.

We would have to Chemically Treat this Well Water with Iodine
if we Wanted to Use it, Ryan.  We have Enough Water– let's Eat Lunch!

Delicious Fresh Coconut Water to Drink– 
Peanut Butter, Jelly and Crackers to Eat–
and Canned Diced Peaches for Dessert!

Daddy has Straightened-Out and Filled Some Well-Priming Jugs 
for the Next people who Stop By. 
Let's Hike, Dad!

First, I'd Better Send a *Happy* Picture to your Mom so she Does Not Worry about us.


Here are the Trails, Ryan.  Where would you Like to Go?
Mossy Camp Sounds Nice.  Let's Go There!



This Prairie has Lots of Flowers, Dad!


Yes, Ryan.  And they are Beautiful!

This one is Very Purple–ish, Dad!
I Think that Bees Would Enjoy This One Very Much.



Oh– Ryan!!  This is Bear Poop– from an Adult Bear!
See How Many Berries that the Bear Eats?
Dad!  I Buried Mine in a Hole Like you Taught me...
Well– Wild Bears Just Do Not Do That, Ryan.  You've Been Taught Civilized Manners!


Dad.  Where did our Trail Go?


I *Think* that it's Over Here, Ryan.  
Let's Walk that Way for Awhile.


Oh–  Our Trail is Flooded Again–

Dad!  What's That?  It Looks like a Crab Pincer.
It Certainly is a Crab Claw, Ryan.

And Look Here, Ryan!!
The Entire Carapace of a Crawfish!
When the Prairie is at High Flood Period (During the Summer)
Crustaceans are Throughout the Park and Provide Food for Many Animals.

Hey–!  Our Trail has Ended... Hmmmmm...
I Believe that I've Accidentally Mislead us, Ryan!

Let's Go This Way...


Well–– Maybe That Way... the Priarie is
very Flat and Confusing.

It's Growing Late and we are Surrounded by Swamps Filled with Alligators–
Let's Stop Here and Camp for the Night, Ryan.  

There are Trees in Here for my Camping Hammock
––but we are Literally Surrounded by One Shallow 
Alligator Hole and One Deep Alligator Hole.  Amazing!!
The Most Important Thing is That we Have Water!!


Luckily, Two Trees are Far Enough Apart to
Hold my Camping Hammock with Rain Tarp
and Mosquito Netting.


There's our Camp for the Night, Ryan.
Lets Go Look at it From Further Away––


I Don't See any Alligators in this Alligator Hole... 
...but you Can Never Know.

It's Time to Make a Fire for our Evening Meal 
and to Boil Water from this Alligator Hole 
so that it is Safe to Drink.

Had to take this Large Headed, Little Multi-Legged Fellow 
Out of my 16 oz. of Water before I Boiled it!
The Next 16 oz., I had to Remove a Very Small Fish!

We are Very Lucky to Have a Log to Sit Upon for our Meals, Ryan.
Our Dinner Menu Tonight is: Sardines, Crackers, Hot Tea, and Canned Fruit.
Good!  I Like Sardines, Dad!  I Like Canned Fruit, too!

I Believe we are Somewhere Near Mossy Island Primitive Camp
–but Not Quite There!
I Know that we Hit the North Boundary Fence Line for the Park.

It's Getting Late.  Let's got to Bed, Ryan
I Don't Want to Set-Up my Tent, Dad.
I'm Scared.  I Want to Sleep With You in the Hammock.

This is a Lot Better, Dad.  Thanks!
Good Night, Ryan.  Don't Worry too Much.
Tomorrow is the Day we Go Home.


Good Morning, Ryan!

Yep– Porridge Again!  And Hot Cocoa... 
it was Rather Cool Last Night.

Well–– Out of our Shade and Into the Blazing Sun.


I Can See Power Lines Far Off in the Distance.
I Believe they are About 4 Miles South of Us, Ryan.


Looks Like South, Daddy!

Here–– Let's Get Both our Compasses Together 
and Make Sure they are in Sync.  Good–– they Are.

We are Going To Go Cross-Country South Toward the Power Lines.
I Know Where that Road Comes Out.  
It Will be Very Difficult–– but a *SURE THING* is What is
Most Important When One is Lost.

Everything Here is Sharp and Needle-Like and up to Waist High, Ryan.
You Can Ride Up on Top of my Pack, Ryan.  You'll be Safe There!

Let's Make for that Tree-line and Hope for a Road that will 
take us South toward the Power Line Road.
We Absolutely MUST Get Out of this Sweltering Sun.

Stepping Up, Over and Around Hundreds of these Palm Trunks 
for Miles in the Hot Sun is Absolutley Wearying.
Amazing that I Just had Knee Surgery on the 17th of April.

So Hard with a 30 lb. Backpack.
I've already Gotten the Chills that Presage Heat Stroke.
Been Stopping Bent-Over and Gasping for Breath every few Yards.


Daddy– I See the Power Lines!
We're Going to Be OK, Right, Daddy?!
Yes, Ryan.  Don't Worry.  
We will Make it Home to Mommy and your Sister, Pinkie.



Numerous Cuts to Both Legs– Poison Oak– 
Horrible Sunburn to Both Hands–
Left @ 190 lbs.– Returned @ 178 lbs.  
Had to Walk Through a Nearly 2 ft. Flooded
Area on Power Line Road...
PAST a 7 ft. Alligator Only about 12 ft. to my Right
(size known and confirmed by Park Ranger)
Got Ryan Safely Home to Mom and his Sister, Pinkie!



Oh–– Ryan!!  You're SAFE!!!  I was So Worried about you!!!!


...and then Daddy said "Don't Worry"––
It was AWFUL, Pinkie!!!!