Today I decided to take a hike at the state park that is about 2 miles from my home. It had me missing Australia. Honestly, this was the very first time since I left Australia that I missed living there. If it weren’t for the fact that I met my bestie, Rae, or having my daughter, Roo, there I would look back at my time in ‘Straya as a wasted three years of complete misery. But today I was missing the readiness of quiet nature just outside my front door.
I could walk out my front door and head down a path to nothing. For miles there was nothing but the red rocks, mulga trees, dirt and kangaroos. No need to put the kids in the car to get to nature. It was just there. The dog would run off over the garden wall and come back with half a fucking kangaroo skeleton danging from his mouth like he just won the doggy lottery. There were rocks to climb and animals to keep you company on the trails.
Today’s hike (well Florida is about as flat as you can get so hike is a bit of a stretch) was not exactly quiet until I got well over a mile into it. Even when the sounds of the road were muted to nothing, the air traffic could plainly be heard.
It is an utter shame that here in the States, at least on the East Coast, in order to get a good dose of nature you have to go through the cumbersome task of getting into the car and going to nature. Where they charge you a $3 entrance fee, or more depending on where you go. And even still there is a distinct falseness in the experience.
Still, I am glad that I went. It may not have been what I wanted completely, it was still nice. I got to be out and walk for 6ish miles. The sign says that it is a 7.2 mile loop, but it is more of a trek/there-and-back, rather than a real “loop”. The ol’ FitBit only counted about 6, so, whatever. The trail markers were a bit unclear once I got to the far beach of the bayou. The trail, like I said, was a there and back, so without a clear sign/marker saying where the ‘end’ was officially, I turned around when the beach turned into more of a swamp. But I’m not complaining really. A 6 mile hike is better than what I have done since moving to Florida so I’ll take it and be happy. I also had Roo strapped to my front so the added wiggly weight of a toddler was also worth noting.
Along the way Roo and I found a little beach on the bayou as the trail ran along it for about a mile and a half. She loved splashing in the teeny waves that gently splashed the small strip of beach. She was mostly happy to just let the water splash her legs. I did not want to stay long because though is it wonderful letting her do her thing and watching her explore the world around her, I knew the length of the trail we had left to go and then the return. We did not have the time to spend long in our little hideaway. Near the end I found a couple that looked to be retired transplants (moved here upon retiring from some cold northern state) and their two adorable dogs among the palm fronds picking up trash that others carelessly forgotten. They made me happy doing their part for the environment. I also felt a bit guilty for not picking up any today. But did I mention the toddler I had strapped to me? It would have made my hike today much longer even though I did not see much as far as rubbish on the trail. I commended the pair and their efforts and told them about Ocean Hour here in town. We parted paths once we made it to the furthest part of the trail where the shore made a pointed little sandbar.
(A view from today’s walk)
All told, I still missed the rugged Australian Outback and the many treks I would take there. Bear, my older daughter, went to a school a mile from our house there so I started my mornings with a lovely 2 mile walk. I could easily incorporate the bush trails if I wanted something other than the sidewalk monotony. Now we have a short walk to a bus stop. I miss my long daily walks.
Excuse me while I go listen to the Counting Crows “Big Yellow Taxi” on repeat.