Thick, mangrove forest
I hiked several of the trails around Flamingo. They offered mangrove forests, coastal plaines, rivers of grass, hammocks, and wildlife galore.
Christian Point Trail was one that I tackled. 1.8 miles one way, and it was not being maintained. There were no cars at the trail head, which sealed the deal.
Bring DEET. Lots and lots of DEET.
I had not brought along my REI Jungle Juice, but if I didn’t wash my hands after applying the stuff I bought, my steering wheel would deteriorate, so I figured it was acceptable. And it did work… at first.
At the start, the trail goes through some very thick vegetation, and it was in the low 80’s. I have no idea what the humidity was, mainly because I had no interest in knowing. As I perspired, the DEET was diluted, and the horde of blood suckers were on me. I briefly thought of stopping, getting the bug dope out of my pack and reapplying, but just a short pause was enough to deter such thoughts. I quickened my pace, and hoped that the coastal plain was near.
*A side note: this was the last time the bug dope was not in one of my pockets.
The country opens up
There were butterflies everywhere, and occasionally I would spot a dragonfly. Probably 10 to 1. Butterflies are all right to look at, but dragonflies are beautiful… especially when one is hunting down a mosquito. I am so attached to dragonflies, that I feel awful when I hit one with my truck in Alaska. With every windshield fatality, I figure 10,000 mosquitos just flew free.
I could see the vegetation lessen and feel the air heat up even more. Suddenly, I broke the barrier and ran for the sunlight. The horde would not follow, but it could afford to wait patiently.
I enjoyed hiking the coastal plain, in spite of the heat. The lack of mosquitos allowed me to slow down and enjoy the unusual country I was hiking through. Little geckos or small lizards were everywhere. The vegetation was surprisingly thick and green, but the vast majority of it did not come up to my knees.
The Prize at the end of the trail: Florida Bay
The vegetation suddenly thickened, but there were no mosquitos. The trail ended at a small opening, looking out at Florida Bay. There was no beach, just some soggy earth, then the ocean. There was a bench with a resident gecko. He allowed me to join him, and I ate some lunch, drank a quart of water and stalled. I had suffered for this view, and I was going to take it in. What a relaxing spot.
Heading back, I crossed a desolate patch of earth that at one time must have been a water hole. I spotted a hermit crab in the thick brush, then I thought I saw a land crab move from under a chunk of log.
Then I spotted the corpses. I don’t know how I missed them the first time, although I was taking a slightly different track across the dried up earth. The ground was littered with the corpses of crabs. I assume that they came out en masse when this was still standing water after the rains. Then they were found: gulls, crows, vultures? I don’t know. Maybe all of those and others. But it was a feast.