Preshow with Kenny Wallace and the vendor displays….great. Preshow with Lenny Kravitz…great. First time for the Daytona 500 to be rained out…bummer. Still a good time just running around the Daytona International Speedway.
Time to go home.
Growing up in a desert in Washington State, the two biggest dangers were dehydration and rattlesnakes. (Yes, with the exception of the Spokane area, the east side of Washington is devoid of trees, with only sage brush and tumbleweeds for miles.) When hiking in the desert, we knew to carry water and avoid rocky outcroppings where rattlesnakes like to linger.
Our Florida walks and hikes have presented some interesting challenges with the dangerous animals we need to avoid. And the animals are not strictly located in wildlife refuges or away from people. They are everywhere. Alligators—on the golf course and in the small ponds in our park. Snakes (50 different types with 5 of them venomous). Even the turtles can be vicious with their snapping jaws. Being unfamiliar with the terrain here, we are not sure what signs to look for.
The picture of the snake on today’s blog is one we saw on the nature trail today. He was swimming in the water canal next to the path. The “land” snakes like to travel from branch to branch through the scrubby bush. THAT bugs the heck out of me.
And all of this wildlife is so numerous. You can walk for miles in the Washington desert without seeing a snake, but here, you see “something” every five feet in the refuge that surrounds our park. Not sure if we can ever get used to this. Hard to relax and enjoy the scenery when you are dancing around at every movement.
Canaveral National Seashore is located on a barrier island about 100 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida and our destination today (about 34 miles north from our RV Resort). The beach at Canaveral National Seashore is the longest undeveloped coastline along the Florida Atlantic coast and provided us with an uncrowded seashore experience. We enjoyed sitting in the warm mid-day sun on the beach for a few hours—not too hot-- just a touch of breeze coming off the cool Atlantic. This is a popular spot for shore fishing and there were many trying their luck to catch pompano. Large poles stuck in the sand line the beach as far as you can see.
Canaveral National Seashore has numerous Native American sites and we took a short walk on an elevated boardwalk to an enormous seashell mound left by a local tribe—probably the highest spot in Florida. I am joking, but Florida is the flattest land we have ever experienced. Mile after mile at sea level or below.
The wildlife in the seashore is wide-ranging. We dodged a few armadillos driving in, and I almost stepped on one as I was getting out of truck. Again, hundreds of birds, often flying with a snake in their grasp for a quick dinner. Atlantic bottlenose dolphin or manatee are in the nearby lagoon (and it is called the Mosquito Lagoon for a reason) and every summer giant sea turtles return to lay their eggs on the beaches of Canaveral National Seashore.
Before entering the National Park, the Atlantic shore is lined with condos and beach homes. All painted in colorful pastels. With the occasional bait shack stuck in there. Once the park boundary is reached, it is a wild bushy environment. [The picture on the left is looking back towards “civilization” with the Atlantic on the right side of the barrier island and Mosquito Lagoon on the left—took the picture on top of the seashell mound.) Another old Florida discovery. There are some less crowded areas in Florida and this is one of them. Less is good.
Florida has thousands and thousands of birds. Big birds. Tiny birds. Loud birds. During the cold winter birds they all seem to flock to the warm climate and abundant watery grasslands. We hear them all day long. There is one guy, every morning, he does his special call…sounds just like a squeaky swing. We have not pinned down what he looks like, but we will figure it out before we leave.
And then, of course, we have many, many Florida snowbirds.