Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Long Key State Park, Florida Keys

March 2014

Notice my garden...growing nicely!

We managed to snag a few days here in Long Key State Park...one of the gems of the Florida Keys.
This park is  maybe 16 - 18 miles from Marathon so you have to travel a bit to get your food, gas etc.

Looking down the beach at mid tide
It is more away from it all but still close to the highway (hey, that is the keys).  The best part is that EVERY campsite is waterfront so we get to enjoy our backyard patio watching the tide rise and fall.

Seagrape in autumnal reds!
The water is shallow but if you walk out a bit you can have enough water to swim in.  This year for the first time, we have perfect the fine art of floating or noodling.  This Swim Noodle allows to float for hours. Or use the Swim Time Noodlechair to float all day.

Walking trail in Long Key State Park
Long Key state park has a nature trail to walk; it is approximately 1.2 miles but if you walk from your campsite (midway on the strip of campsites)  you could possible add  3/4 to a mile.  David and I walked it several times and he would often walk the loop 7+ times to get some exercise in.  No one else did that:) 

Golden Orb Trail in Long Key...w/spider stick
 Kayaking is right out the back of your rv...just pull your kayaks up on shore far enough to keep the tide from giving it a new home.  There is a bike path right outside of the park and it is paved but next to the highway.  Depending on how far you go south or north there may be parts where you are riding on the shoulder (wide shoulder) next to Rv's and trucks and cars.

Golden Orb Trail in Long Key
Cell phone service with Verizon is okay but not super fantastic...cuts out here and there but find a sweet spot and talk onward.


What kind of wild flower is this?

Small snake spied in shrubs along trail...sunning

Beach on the trail

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Curry Hammock State Park

March 2014

Coconut man processing the coconuts

Curry Hammock is one of the newer state parks having been completed in 2004. It is small with just 28 sites and set off the road...so you mostly don't hear the road from this park. With its composting toilets and solar heated shower water, it is green friendly!

Our waterfront campsite; if stood up and looked...
This year we were fortunate to get a site in the time period we were looking for; we spent eight days enjoying the park. Kayaking, walking the beach, and processing coconuts. I love coconut and we had purchased some from a roadside stand on the way down to the keys but I needed/wanted more!

Hard work making coconuts into puree...note my garden! I am
hoping that these plants will give me early tomatoes up in NY.
  David wouldn't climb one of the tall trees at Bahia for me so I asked the Curry campground hostie if they knew where I could get some.  She told me they had just trimmed the trees at the day use area and there was a pile of them. Off we went in the van (hey no tree climbing) and picked out about 12 of them. We brought them back to see what they had inside; we are kind of new at this.

Note the tools (especially the power tool)
 They were green and thus the coconut flavor was mild but HEY, they were free. After opening a few and cracking the nut, we got some pretty good coconut water and coconut meat. Being the frugal people we are...we drove back and got another 18 coconuts!!! We had pina coladas that night:) I had decided that the best way to store the most coconuts was to process them all over the time that we were down here.

Beach view of Curry Hammock State Park
 Processing involved taking out the coconut water and meat and putting them in the vitamix to make some pureed coconut...which could be used in smoothies, soups.  We spent the next week packing the coconut puree into our RV freezer (not an easy task).  Eureka, we hit the jackpot.  All things coconut!  By the way, DIYman became really FAST at processing coconuts...so fast I could not keep up with him.  My job was to remove the coconut meat from the nut/inner shell and whirl it in our vitamix.

Curry Hammock State Park
On day we came across a ray working really hard trying to bury himself in the sand.  He was maybe 24" across...not very big.  We also saw starfish here.

A sting ray trying to bury himself in the shallow beach waters