Tag Archives: Florida

Shark Valley Misadventure! ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿข๐ŸŒˆ

Hi hi, everyone! This was a pretty good week –and with this post my blog will be finally caught all up! It was certainly eventful, and I’ll go into the mishap that occurred on Saturday which I mentioned on Twitter –so, let’s get right to it!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Monday we had tickets for Studio Ghibli Fest 2022, which begins with Ponyo. I really like that movie, but if I’m honest I was most excited to get to to take a photo with the Jurassic World Dominion display!!

Literally my entire outfit (shirt, backpack, the blanket I brought to keep warm) and my coordinating colors were Jurassicโ€ฆ can you tell Iโ€™m hyped? Haha…

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Just odds and ends from Wednesday, starting with a lounging Rosie…

Sometimes I find that our partner has been screwing around with my dinosaurs. I found Bumpy on my Brachiosaurus’ head:

My big Ankylosaurus was trying to rescue his friend…

On my recent Target outing I came across a little Jurassic World lamp in their cheapy toys section! ๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

And now… oh boy. Now to Saturday’s events. We’d been talking about heading to Shark Valley for a while, especially since I’ve never been in the Everglades proper, and I wanted to see gators so badly. So I was pretty excited to go, as it was put to me “for a couple of hours”, even if it was at the hottest time of the day, in an area with NO TREES. At least not for most of the way. I can handle this, I thought. And in truth, that much I could handle.

Let me start by saying that our partner insisted I leave Jello behind and instead bring water. I wasn’t worried –I had my hat, it was only for a couple of hours, I wanted to carry Jello for pictures. Anyway, he brought water, I brought Jello. That was my first stupid decision –though again, I’d been a bit bamboozled. Stay with me here.

We could rent bikes, he says. I’m picky with bikes, so I demur. This is my second stupid decision, one on which I changed my mind less than a mile into our walk, after I was informed that we are, in fact, going to walk FOURTEEN miles, at noon, with a stop in the middle that has shade and water. What?!

But at this point, he doesn’t want to go back to get bikes, and this would be one of his stupid decisions. Another of mine was not being more insistent. But he promises me a National Park passport as a treat from the gift shop, which closes at six, and I’m a sucker for a treat in exchange for being a good girl, so common sense is promptly thrown out the window.

We press on, as I am not yet in too much pain, and way too distracted by turtles, birds, SO many gators of varying sizes…

…and flowers…

…and insects:

We get to see a gator hunt something (a turtle, a fish?) doing the typical gator roll, mere feet from us. A huge thrill! I also get close enough to a softshell turtle to touch it (of course, I don’t). It was massive, the size of a small dog. We were very entertained.

As we continue walking on an asphalt path with no shade and under blazing sun, I bitch and moan that I know my limits: I cannot walk more than, max, six miles at noon with no water, in Florida, in the Everglades, in the summer. But he insists, and hey! I’m a people pleaser. I bitch and moan and cry, but ultimately I’m a people pleaser, just a very whiny one.

By mile marker six, with the observatory shimmering in the distance like a mirage, my moaning and whining has turned to tears and mild occasional hyperventilating. The gators are no longer of interest. After some coaxing, I’ve drank all of our partner’s water, told that at our rest stop we can both have more. Jello has become a bit of a drag to carry.

We make it to the observatory only to be met with large “BOIL WATER NOTICE” signs. We are in disbelief, but no matter: there is a tour tram, we can see one in the distance. Surely if we explain the situation they will take us back. Walking back seven miles with no water at high afternoon in Florida, in summer, in the Everglades, is very literally dangerous, especially since we are already dehydrated.

We wait for the tram and I take a few photos of the observatory view, which was indeed breathtaking:

Even from this height you can spot multiple large gators in the water.

We come down as the tram approaches, and upon explaining the situation, we are told that it is a paid tour. They do not care about our problems. Our partner asks if they have water, we cannot continue without drinking water, which we were explicitly told was available here. The tour lady tells us they do, for a dollar each. We have no cash.

It is baffling that to us park employees would behave in this manner with people in a bind, especially since we paid a whopping $30 just to enter and walk. But anyway –very reluctantly she gives us two small bottles, and when a tram passenger offers to pay for us, she definitely takes the money. ๐Ÿ™„

So it is time to walk back. And now I really start to cry and I cry for a while, quietly, because I seriously don’t think I can do this. My feet and legs are killing me, my eyes sting with sweat, did I mention we had no sunscreen? I know, real winners. I have one tiny bottle of water that I have to make last for seven more miles, which is one more than our partner had, because I drank his on the way there.

For a while I cry, on and off, having random fits when a wasp or fly gets too close to my head. It is misery. Eventually I am doing too poorly to bitch, moan or cry, a signal our partner smartly takes to feel concerned for my welfare (if I go quiet, you know shit’s serious, because I never shut up) but there is nothing he can do. He was dumb to suggest our situation and I was equally dumb to go for it. We are two dumbasses, and all we can do is walk. And so we do.

The tram passes us, with at least a couple of empty seats. It is the last tram of the day. When it disappears from view, my crying, which had subsided, starts again. Further dehydration, and my water is gone. I no longer care about the promised National Parks passport. I no longer care about the gators, or our partner’s jokes, or even not having water. Everything has stopped mattering.

He decides to play Shrek on his phone, and so we walk for two hours listening to the entirety of Shrek in a strange sort of fever dream.

I text Christopher a few times, updating him on our ordeal. Please don’t die, he says. I tell him I’ll try not to.

At one point I send him this photo, when I couldn’t walk anymore, and our partner massaged my feet for a while:

So many times both of us stared at our smartwatches, counting miles, checking heart rates. Mine, never above 135 even when jogging for three miles straight, eventually reaches 150 and more or less stays there.

Strangely, near the end of the fourteen miles, I began to recover, while our partner was crashing. Nauseous at times, not really able to say much by the end. We made it to the car with just fifteen minutes to spare before being actually locked IN the park for the night (!!) The gift shop had closed –there went my reward! Ultimately I was promised I could have any toy as a treat, which really made up for it.

But to tell you the truth, something else happened as soon as we began to recover, and I mean even as we were driving home. We began to bask in the glory of our accomplishment. It was sort of exhilarating. We did something stupid, surely, that should not be repeated. Water is a requirement, so are hats (he didn’t have one) clothes that don’t chafe, and sunscreen.

But we also walked fourteen miles in five hours, a record for both of us. It sucked, but we didn’t feel as bad physically as we thought we would. And we ACTUALLY did it.

We also knew it was our max: another mile, perhaps another half mile, and I think we would have called emergency services. It really was that bad, you have to understand, it’s the heat. 90 degree weather, perhaps higher, with very high humidity. But that didn’t happen, thankfully.

By the next morning, I’d basically recovered (it took him about another day). But I was ready to walk again, and felt (and still feel) a strange, inexplicable urge to further punish my body in this manner. I’m not sure what to call this. I was miserable. Why do I crave this? Maybe I felt more alive than usual. I don’t know.

I do know we will not do something stupid like that again. But push ourselves like that, and further, in a smart and safe way? For sure. I said I couldn’t walk fourteen miles in the hot Florida sun, at noon and afternoon, in the Everglades, with little water, with no sunscreen. And I did it –we did it.

Who knows what else we can do? I really want to find that out.

‘Ello Neighbor ๐ŸฆŽ

Look at this cutie I saw when I was watering our new yard!

I saw him when I first set out the sprinkler and he hid inside. Still, just in case I took my phone the second time around and I was very glad because he was back, and I was able to get super close for some really adorable photos of my little neighbor:

He was a curly tail. Invasive species… they grow kinda big. I hope I see him again.