Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wild Florida and Tamed Kristin

Last night I stayed late at work.  It was the last day of drop-add, and I wanted to make sure that every student was taken care of.  Suffice it to say, my plan to write in the evenings while my spouse is at class isn't working out.  The last thing I wanted last night was to spend more time at the screen and the keyboard.

Plus I was starved.  I watched Master Chef and ate a simple, but satisfying meal of black bean burritos.  Very nourishing and filling. 

At 9, I tuned into The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida, a great show on PBS.  When I saw the previews, I had assumed that the coast they would explore would be the Everglades, but they actually started at the headwaters of the Everglades (near Orlando) and headed west and then north and then west again, all the way to the western end of the Florida panhandle.

They tried to follow paths that wildlife would take, which was an interesting exploration of how development impacts wildlife.  But for most of the show, the 3 person team was in very remote parts of the state along the Gulf coast.

They hiked, swam, and used a variety of non-motorized vehicles:  kayaks, paddleboards, and bikes.  It was the kind of show that made me want to know the back story.  They were gone over multiple weeks and hundreds of miles--did they have a support team that brought their various pieces of equipment at certain segments?  In shots of the three in their kayaks, they weren't dragging bikes with them.  And they didn't seem to have all their food for the whole trip with them.

But it wasn't that kind of show.  It was much discussion of species and habitat and weather--and wonderful photography and filming.  It made me want to pack a few things on my back (I first typed bike--hmmm) and head towards the Everglades, where I would find a nice clearing and build myself a shack.  How soon would it take to tire of that?

The show didn't shy away from issues of climate change.  The segment that most spoke to me was one of exploration of how salt water is intruding into fresh water in the swamp where the river meets the Gulf.  A family runs a remote lodge there, and they noticed that around 2004, the trees began retreating from the salt water at a much increased pace.  The pictures proved the tale--and showed how just a bit of sea level rise can have huge impact.

I felt a bit of sadness as I watched these super-fit people (2 men and 1 woman) make their way across the rugged-ish terrain of Florida's non-beach coast.  When I was young, I planned to hike the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end and/or to bike from coast to coast, an activity that was popular when my family made our way west during the summer of 1976.  Although a long hike might be in my future, I can't see myself making a long trip by kayak or bike.  And even a long trip would require sleeping on the hard ground--many mornings I have trouble with my back after a night in my bed.

This morning, as I walked to the marina to watch the sun rise over the sailboats, or more accurately, the sky changing colors before sunrise, I thought about my sadness of feats of fitness I will likely never master.  But I reminded myself that there are other expeditions that can bring me joy.  Let me start planning some of those.

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