Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Our sister and brother-in-law walked parts of the Camino in 2007, and will be traversing a long section of the Chemin de St, Jacques (one part of the Camino in France) this year. It was their enthusiasm that led us to begin considering our own adventure. Among the pleasures they extolled was the training—hiking near home as they built up their ability to walk long distances carrying packs. The training was not easy on their out-of-shape and past-prime bodies, but the experience permitted them to rediscover the pleasures of their own home region.

Our training has taken us through nearby neighborhoods that were scarcely known before, and into places whose charms had been all but forgotten over the years. A favorite is the San Felasco Hammock State Preserve, one of many jewels in the Florida State Park System.

Last Thursday’s walk took us through 6.5 miles of neighborhood streets and 5.8 miles on one of the several long trails in the Hammock.

In the Hammock we saw deer, as we do on almost every trip, but also caught glimpses of red-headed woodpeckers, not yet seen this year. Lizards, including fence lizards (Sceloporus) and skinks (Eumeces) were often seen, and we were able to photograph the two skinks seen here, both apparently males in some kind of a territorial ritual. And twice we came upon gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), a once-common species that is becoming ever less abundant as patches of undisturbed habitat are shrinking and disappearing before the relentless onslaught of development. The tortoise seen in the accompanying photo ran to his burrow as we approached, but apparently felt secure enough that he did not bother to scramble to its bottom.

We will surely encounter wildlife on the Camino, but we will be unable to carry the guidebooks needed to tell us all we would like to know about what we are seeing. That will be too bad, but we will be able to console ourselves with the thought that we will have much time and there is much more to be learned and enjoyed close to home.

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