A Cold Front, A Farwell to Big Pine Key And A Slow And Scenic Drive To Key Largo.

A Cold Front, A Farwell to Big Pine Key And A Slow And Scenic Drive To Key Largo.

Florida Day Five r Big Pine (12 of 34)
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The weather had changed when I awoke on my last morning at the Barnacle Bed and Breakfast  on Big Pine Key.  The cold front only dropped the temperature into the low 60’s but there was a 25 mph wind blowing out of the northwest.   I drove to back to the nearby  trail along the deserted beach.  The clouds looked  ominous   as I walked through the salt flats into the howling wind. 

The clouds made the remote beach look even more desolate. 

I enjoyed the somber scene, 

and walked along the coral on the beach.

There were few  shores birds on the  beach on this windy morning, just a couple of . ruddy turnstones. and 

I did see a few brown pelicans flying overhead. 

I walked the beach again looking for seashells,

sponges and anything else the waves may have cast ashore. 

The clouds obscured the sunrise but some color appeared as the sun climbed up the horizon. 

Once again I had an 8:30 a.m.  breakfast and as I was finishing my walk there was some clearing in the southeastern skies. Blue skies appeared but the wind continued to blow furiously from the northwest. It felt cold and I was glad I purchased a No Name Pub hoodie. I brought no cold weather clothes with me on this trip. I was hopeful we wouldn’t get cold weather. I was very wrong. 

The sun appeared and so did a few song birds, a yellow-rumped  warbler, 

and a small flock of female red-winged blackbirds. 

Overhead a flock of white pelicans flew south with the wind. 

I walked  on the trail hoping  to see some more key deer before I left Big Pine key,

I didn’t only this American kestrel perched in a tree. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I seen on my last morning hike on Big Pine Key. Florida Day Five morning birds January 14 2023. 

 I finished my 4 mile hike and returned to my lodging and enjoyed a last breakfast with my hosts. It was a great place to stay and I hope to return soon

After breakfast I showered and packed. As I was leaving a few key deer walked out of the woods as if to say goodbye. I hated to leave these beautiful creatures. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos form my morning walk in Big Pine Key. Florida Day Five  Big Pine Key morning hike. January 14 2023. 

I drove over the bridge and left Big Pine Key. It was  a great decision to visit the southern keys. The sun was now shining as I began my 1 1/2 hour drive to Key Largo. I enjoyed my slow drive on the Overseas Highway. 

I made a few stops along the way. The first was at Curray Hammock State Park. This is the largest tract of undeveloped land between Big Pine Key and Key Largo.

It was my first visit to the park. I did not have time to hike the nature trail on the bay side of the key. I took a 1 mile hike on the beautiful beach. 

There were only a few people in the park and none on the beach with the strong northerly wind blowing. 

and I pretty much had the beach to myself. 

I walked the along the shores, again looking for seashells. 

I did not see any wildlife on my hike. well, unless you include insects, I did see a transverse flower fly,

a fiery skipper butterfly and

a Mexican cactus fly  on some  beggartick flowers  on a trail near my vehicle. Here is a link to some more photos from my hike in the park. Florida Day Five. Curray Hammock State Park January 14 2023. 

I left this scenic park and drove a few miles and  visited  another one of Florida’s many parks, Long Key State Park. Like Curray Hammock State Park, the park also featured a pristine and uncrowded beach. 

I walked along the beach, 

past a camping area, which, despite the cold weather was crowded, 

after crossing a boardwalk, over a mangrove lagoon 

I came to a nature trail. 

Of course I decided to follow it. At first it took me under a thick hardwood forest.

Once again I found a lot of poison woods trees. The are one of the only Florida trees I can easily identify. 

The trail then entered a white mangrove salt flat 

but was closed because of damage from the recent hurricane. 

There were a lot of folks walking and running on the trail and so I didn’t see much wildlife, except for this red-bellied woodpecker. 

I love these noisy birds. I see many of them on my walks in Pennsylvania. and love seeing them on the sub-tropical trees. This one was on a gumbo-limbo tree. 

I finished up my 2 mile hike  with a visit to a historical marker along the old Overseas Railroad. Here is a gallery with some more photos from my hike in the park.  Florida Day Five Long Key State Park January 14 2023

It was now late afternoon and I finished my drive to Key Largo. I checked into the Hampton Inn. I had already hiked over 7 miles and I was hungry. It was also cold and windy out. Temperatures dropped into the low 60’s.  So I decided to have an early dinner. I walked to nearby, Alfredo’s Cookhouse and had a delicious and filling seafood hibachi dinner. I was stuffed. 

I walked back to my hotel and went outside to watch the sunset. I didn’t watch it long. The temperature dropped into the 50’s, 

and the was a strong northwesterly wind of at least 25 mph. It felt cold. I took a few photos and spent the evening editing photos. I was looking forward to an early morning hike in Key Largo and then, visiting the Everglades. I love the Everglades. 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien,

 

 

 

 

 

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