The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A day at the park

Today I took Justice over to Mc Arthur state park. I thought they were having their “Blizzard on the Beach“ however, I had mixed up the dates. The Blizzard was scheduled for Sunday, and today was Saturday. Since I had already spent the $3 to get in I decided that we would to take a look around and see what there was to offer.

In the last year I have really come to know what old Florida is and have become completely enamored with it. Anytime I find a new location that truly shows old Florida it quickly goes onto my “favorite places” list. McArthur State Park is the newest addition to that list.

Upon entering the park Justice and I drove around and picked a spot to park after we got the lay of the land. I decided to start our exploration of the park at the visitors center. They had some really nice tanks with indigenous snakes and marine life. Justice really like the horseshoe crabs and seahorses, but; I think his favorite exhibit was the microscopes. They had all kinds of things you could look at like sand, shells, feathers and more!

After that we walked along the long boardwalk over the intercostals to get to the hammocksw and beach. When we reached the end of the boardwalk we headed off to the beach first. It was completely untouched and pristine. There were a few ecologically minded people milling about and the weather was perfect for a walk on the beach, however; we decided to take a short hike along the mangrove lined hammock first. Along the way we saw numerous butterfly’s feeding on the wildflowers. Justice was entranced by their fluttering wings. Ever so carefully he crept up on them in the hopes of catching one. One after the other he kept missing them until finally one flew right onto his hand for a brief moment. The look on his face was priceless. “Mommy, one of them just TOUCHED me!” It was so cute. Unfortunately by that point the noseums had become unbearable and I hadn’t thought to bring bug spray so we quickly made our way to the beach.

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As we stepped onto the sand I couldn’t help but notice how the warm sun was perfectly balanced by the cool breeze flowing through the air. We started to stroll along the coastline lazily and although we tried to stay just out of the reach of the breaking waves we couldn’t escape the spray of the surf on our skin. It was like a fine mist, cool to the touch. The sky was perfectly blue with a smattering of puffy white clouds and the sun was shinning as it does in every postcard from Florida. It was Florida at it’s best.

The shoreline was littered with jellyfish which held a particular interest for Justice. He leaned in close to examine one, but carefully headed my warnings not to touch. After that he took great care not to step on any of the washed up marine life so as not to injure himself. About half way through our walk we happened upon Miriam, one of the Outlanders from the Itchetuknee camp out. After a brief conversation we continued on our way until Justice’s energy started to wane.

As we neared the steps leading to the hammock we ran into a couple of older women took a particular interest in Justice. They brought a hatched sea turtle egg over to us and showed him where it had split and explained to him how a baby turtle had been born of that shell. His interest had been peaked and as the ladies went on their way, he insisted on running on to thank them for their kindness.

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Soon we came to the unusually long boardwalk we noticed a tram station and decided to wait for it rather than walk the length back per Justice’s request. As luck would have it when the tram approached us, the same ladies and their male companions were arriving and decided to ride back with us. We all enjoyed the relaxing ride back to our cars while gazing out over the diamond sparkled water and mangrove lined shorelines.

All in all it was a very relaxing afternoon. Miriam had told us about a $40 “Friends of Mc Arthur” pass that would give us free access to the park for a whole year and after our tour we are seriously considering buying one. In addition to the visitors center, hiking and beaches they also offer fishing, kayaking, an outdoor amphitheater with an occasional concert, biking trails, a playground and last but not least picnicking. It’s days like this that really remind me of why I moved to Florida.
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posted by Mary Gerber at 11/18/2007

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