The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

HIKING ON WEEDON
aerial view
Today I went for an impromptu hike through Weedon Island (take note, it's not really an island--that's a misidentification from early exploration of the area, and it's stuck with the name). It's the most amazing place--a 1,500-acre nature preserve five minutes away from my house, and smack in the middle of St. Petersburg, a decent-sized (300,000) city. It's a great feeling to go from the din of city noise and crowding to the tranquility and relative (if you don't mind a few fellow hikers) isolation of the woods.

I was planning on going to Weedon today anyway, but just to stay on the paved trail, and linger on the pier that overhangs Tampa Bay. I took a pen and pad with me, and had in mind to do a little drawing (plenty of bird life around, and with luck, some exotic fish like manta rays). It turns out that, once I got there, the bay was at a really low level--couldn't have been more than 6 inches deep. That's not too unusual, but the upshot was that there were no fish to see, and the birds were wading too far out to really capture in drawing. I ended up jotting down some randome thoughts for about 15 minutes, then headed down the trail.

On the way back, I stopped by the new learning center. It was a neat place, still in development but stocked with interactive displays and artifacts. It was a nice touch, but sort of felt intrusive--too much technology and developed space in what's otherwise a bucolic setting. I guess that's why as soon as I walked out of there, I headed for the first dirt trail I could see, and went at it.

Like I implied, it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Therefore, I wasn't really geared for it--I was wearing an ancient pair of boat shoes instead of sneakers or hiking boots, and shorts that didn't offer any protection against brambles and other low plants. So I stuck strictly to the trails. It was still a pleasant few hours. We'll see if my feet agree over the next couple of days, if blisters show up.

It was a nice day for it--temperature is down to 70 today, so it was nice and cool (yes, I know those of you north of here think it's crazy to think of 70 degrees Fahrenheit as cool; but for an area that's an average of 85-90 degrees most of the year, 70 is almost chilly). It's been so long since I've had an afternoon to devote to a hike. I'll have to do it again soon, maybe while I take next week off from work.