The Great Blue Heron.
The Weeki Wachee river is clear and warm. Paddling down river one can see down to the (generally shallow) sandy bottom. The temperature (72 !) is just right for manatees. A group of manatees were relaxing in a spot called Hospital Hole, known for its sulfur spring. Fish crowd the sandy bottom and manatees squeeze in as well, indifferent to a small crowd of kayakers ogling them.
I’ve been in Florida for 7 months now. My lifestyle is so much different here, and while I am trying to make the best of it, I certainly miss my old outdoor life. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend time strategizing about how I can get myself back to New Mexico.
It isn’t that there aren’t outdoor things to do here. There just aren’t very many opportunities available to me where I can go outdoors and feel like I am away from civilization.
I’ve pretty much given up on going hiking here. While a walk in the woods/swamp is nice, I just can’t get excited if there aren’t mountains or even hills involved! The kayaking is great, however, and that will be my outdoor focus while in Florida (though getting away from people is still a problem). We’ve had a few obstacles keeping us from doing it very often so far, but we’ve had a few nice outings. One was a sunset paddle on the gulf.
I’ve been silent here because I just haven’t felt like my activities have been blog-worthy, which makes me sad. But hopefully that will change. Or I’ll bore you with alligator posts. Stay tuned . . .
I recently embarked on a new adventure. One that I wasn’t quite prepared for and didn’t know how I’d react to. But I was prepared. I had my backpacking gear. I would survive.
When I arrived at the trailhead, I knew things were going to be much different than what I was used to.
Unfortunately, my map was useless, and I relied on the natives for guidance.
I found my destination. I set up camp for the night.
The tent I was to use was rather strange. Certainly no one carried this here. It did have plenty of room and it was very secure and offered excellent protection from the elements. Additionally, there was a plentiful source of clean water, and even a hot spring, so that I could bath.
I was starved, so I cooked dinner. The stove was quick to boil water, but it isn’t what I would call ultralight.
The creatures I encountered were by far the most strange. Soft yet sharp, cuddly yet obnoxious at times, needy but soothing. They also required food, but again, I was prepared.
OK, OK. I can’t keep a straight face. This is my way of telling you that I have moved (and don’t yet have my stuff )! I have a job in central Florida for the next two years. I am a bit distraught about living in Florida, and its lack of mountains. I don’t really know what to do with myself. I miss New Mexico deeply, but if anyone wants to buy a house in the middle Rio Grande valley, by all means let me know.
I suppose I’ll be hiking on vacations now, and posting more about kayaking. There is a Florida Trail, which spans the state from north to south, but I can’t fathom hiking on it at the moment. We’ll see. I’m a city girl now. I’ll survive.
The last leg of our Peru journey was a 5 day trip to the Tambopata Research Center (TRC) in the Madre de Dios region of southern Peru. This was as much of a must-do for me as the Inca Trail was. The trip was a little on the pricey side for us, but the bonus of that is that tourism through Rainforest Expeditions helps provide some logistical support for scientific research at the TRC.
The launching point for these tours is Puerto Maldonado, which is rather near to Cusco. Rainforest expeditions has three lodges on the Tambopata River. The TRC is the most remote, being about 6 hours from Puerto Maldonado by boat. The other lodges, Refugio Amazonas and Posada Amazonas are closer and less expensive than TRC, and thus more popular.
We chose TRC because it is more remote, and thus has better wildlife-viewing, but wildlife sightings at all lodges are pretty good. The TRC also offers the opportunity to interact with scientists and volunteers doing macaw research. Another benefit of going to TRC was that we had our very own guide. Our particular guide was exceptional, and has his own guiding business, but freelances for Rainforest Expeditions.
Our itinerary was as follows:
We saw a lot of wildlife on our tour. It was an incredible experience trekking around the jungle, spotting birds and wildlife I usually only see in photos. Downtime was spent relaxing in a hammock at the lodge, lost in a book. Enjoy the pictures.