After a leisurely Christmas Breakfast (2nd breakfast for me!) we drove up The Overseas Highway about 20 miles to Bahia Honda State Park. This is one of the bigger and nicer Florida State Parks in the Keys. They have several sandy beaches, a few trails, and you can go kayaking, snorkeling etc.
We had a nice picnic lunch at one of the beaches, then we hiked up the old Bahia Honda Bridge. Way back in the 20s/30s the only way to get to the Keys was by train. The train tracks were destroyed by the Cat 5 Hurricane of 1935 and that’s when they started building the road. The Bahia Honda bridge is mostly intact, however it is no longer part of the road and now you can climb up a little ways and get a bird’s eye view of the park! That’s right, there is a opportunity for elevation gain in Florida! The view from the top was neat (much better than yesterday’s view of the tops of the mangroves!), and the sun had even come out!
An island in the sun!
The old part of the bridge!
After our walk to the top we explored the park a bit and found another beach and walked down it. The sand part was very narrow and full of seaweed and other debris – some natural, some not so much. I waded into the ocean a little bit – the waves were medium – enough to get my shorts wet, but not so much that I got totally soaked! The water was a bit chilly until you got used to it, but since the sun was shinning and the clouds had parted, I had to get wet! I didn’t go fully swimming because I didn’t have a chance of clothes and I didn’t want to be wet the rest of the day! Of course I had to pay the price the rest of the day with sand in my shoes. ugh. The beach is only fun for the first 5 minutes.
After the beach Dad and I got our bikes and rode the Overseas Highway back to the campground. This was something that sounded more fun than it actually was. In some spots there is a dedicated bike path (they are working on making a bike path the whole way), but in others you are riding right on the side of the road. In a fairly narrow shoulder. With cars wizzing by at 55 mph (or more). The bridges were neat to ride over – you could see a lot and you got some elevation gain, and the shoulder was much wider on the bridges. There was a section on Cudjoe Key and the Key right before it where the bike path is away from the road and had vegetation around it and views of the Florida Bay, that part was nice.
Dad says when you ride a bike you see more and that was true today. We saw White Herons, a Key Deer (they are endangered – the look just like regular deer only they are small), some baby osprey heads, lots of pelicans, a dead raccoon, and lots and lots of trash tossed everywhere. Sometimes seeing more is good, sometimes, not so good.
Soon after got back it started to rain! It had been cloudy all day with showers predicted, but it actually produced rain! It was coming down hard there for a little while! I think it has stopped now so I need to go head over to Mom and Dad’s RV for our “traditional” Christmas Dinner – fettuccine alfredo!
Tomorrow is Dry Tortugas!