With a slight break in the weather, I decided I would head off to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and do a bit of backpacking.
One Thanksgiving, when I was visiting my family in South East Florida, I decided I would make a side trip and head down to Flamingo in the Everglades National Park. The last time I had been to the park was when I was a small child. So knowing I would be moving to the Pacific Northwest soon, I wanted to check things out one last time while it was still convenient.
The other weekend I was heading back to Portland from a trip down south. I took a new route in hopes of saving some time. As I was driving through the back roads of Tillamook, I saw a small state park sign advertising Munson Creek Falls. Seeing as how the weather was overcast and rainy, maybe I could snag a few forest shots in this obscure locale?
One of the kayaking gems of South West Florida, Estero River. Join me as I kayak all the way up the river and then head back out into the Gulf of Mexico and loop around Mound Key Archaeological State Park. Wow, that really sounded like I was introducing a TV spot. Ok, let’s get back to the Yakin!
When you visit Collier-Seminole State Park, there are three trails for you to choose from. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. This trail, the 3.5 mile trail is the intermediate trail. It’s great to hike down, and even easier to bike through.
Heading south on Tamiami Trail (41) just a few miles past Collier-Seminole State Park is a little access point called the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The trail has been there for a little while, however recently they have made it more accessible with a parking lot, new signs, and a small lookout tower. I took a quick stop one day to see what it was all about.
Volcano Pacaya lies 19 mi southwest of Guatemala City, which is about an hours bus ride from Antigua. The volcano sits inside the Pacaya National Park and touts an elevation of 8,373 feet.
So far, the last activity reported has been the eruption that peaked on May 27, 2010, causing ash to rain down in Guatemala City, Antigua and Escuintla. Since the last eruption, there have been visible lava flows where hikers can get close enough to cook a marshmallow.
Guatemala is know for its coffee. So when you are in Antigua, you best make it out to the Filadelfia Estate and check out their coffee plantation. Oh, and while you are there, hop on one of their tricked out Mercedes trucks and do some high adrenaline zip-lining between mountain peaks. You won’t be disappointed.
Antigua, Guatemala was founded by the Spanish back in the sixteenth century. For over two centuries it served as the capital city of Central America. With it’s European styled architecture, dating back over 300 years, it annually draws in thousands of visitors from around the world.
While I personally do not follow the Catholic faith, one cannot deny the beauty and passion that went into designing and constructing these amazing works of art.
I’ll be honest here, I don’t know anything about the people of Antigua. All I have is my week on the streets and my limited interaction with them. As far as I know, they are kindhearted and hard working people. I just wish I had a bit more time to actually get to know a few before I left.
In the streets of Antigua, walls are everywhere. With its narrow sidewalks and cobblestone streets, it almost feels like you are constantly walking down an alley in some kind of inverted cityscape. From the streets, almost everything is concealed from public view. However, if you pay close attention to the craftsmanship of a door or window, you can get a much better idea of what lays hidden on the other side.
Ahh the cobble stone streets of Antigua. Nothing says ankle sprain like walking your date to dinner six blocks across some of the most torrential cobble stones in Central America. Actually, I felt bad for any luxury automobile that had to make its way through this town. But this posting isn’t about the actual construction of the streets, but more so what you will find on them throughout the course of the day. This photo set is comprised of images I took while exploring and walking throughout the historic and beautiful Antigua.
This Spring (2011) we made our way down to Antigua Guatemala for a friends wedding. We spent about 5 days in the city of Antigua exploring all of its little nooks and crannies. During our visit we stayed at the El Convento Botique Hotel. It was definitely one of the most friendliest and accommodating hotels for foreigners I have been to. In between our moments of exploration and events, I managed to take a couple photos of this enchanting little hotel.
“The Holy week in Antigua Guatemala is famous for its Catholic celebration, which commemorates the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The entire city participates in the event, and receives thousands of national and international visitors.”
We just so happened to be in Antigua at the time of this event. The main roads were closed off so people could build/design their sawdust carpets. And people all over adorned purple cloaks and robes. After the event kicked off, it seemed every road you turned down, there was another procession. It almost made it difficult to make our way through the city at times.
As a child, I remember my family taking me to Collier Seminole State Park on a few occasions. One visit my Father rented a canoe and we paddled down Blackwater River as far as Mud Bay before it was time to turn around. That was so long ago, so I don’t really remember much past that.
Here is what one of the park websites have to say about the State Park:
“The park overlaps the northern edge of the great mangrove swamp of southwestern Florida, and the southern edge of the Big Cypress Swamp. The park is the meeting place of the land and the sea, fresh water and salt water, and tropical and temperate zone vegetation. Because of this blending, a great diversity of plants and interesting wildlife are found here.”
Having already documented the parks three walking trails, I figured it was about time to load up the yak and see how the ole canoe trail was holding up.
I was headed down to the Keys for the 4th of July and took the beautiful Tamiami Trail over. It had been a few years since I’ve driven all the way across. So needless to say I was a little intrigued when I passed what appeared to be a new (to me) boardwalk called Kirby Shorter.
Last month I took a kayak trip out to one of the barrier islands here in Naples, Florida called Keewaydin. I was able to get out there shortly after sunrise and find some decent shots. The warm light and high contrast made for some lovely black and white imagery.
The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a curious place. Located on Sanibel Island, Florida, it fits in perfectly with the surrounding area. For those that have never been to Sanibel, one of the main things to do is rent or bring your own bicycle. With bike paths along most of the major parts of the island, it’s quite the friendly place for the recreational cyclist. Basically a nice easy way to tour the island, and the wildlife refuge is no different.