We knew we needed to get outdoors. It had only been four days since our last hike but cabin fever sets in quickly when skies are gloomy and it’s hiking season. Today, a thick cloak of fog blanketed our area. Our plan was to head to the Sanford Riverwalk for a few miles of exercise, but we ended up stopping for breakfast first.
It was a good thing we did. The fog had lifted from the marina, and fishermen were taking their places along the breakwater at Veteran’s Park. We could see misty tendrils of fog far off in the distance.
When we first hiked the new Riverwalk section last year after it opened, I hadn’t thought to bring a camera, just my iPhone. So this time I carried our little Sony to document the route, which now offers almost a four mile round trip along the beautiful St. Johns River.
It’s paved, of course, and once you leave downtown proper the route parallels US 17/92 so it’s noisy with all the traffic rushing by. But we still paused to watch a little blue heron fishing, and marveled at seeing red maples side by side, one sporting red leaves, the other fresh red buds.
As we drew close to trail’s end near the hospital, I stopped to shoot video of a flotilla of coots making their way across the lake. I caught up to John at the benches by the crosswalk and looked out across the lake. Something strange was happening around us.
In front of us was a rainbow in white. It hovered between blue sky and blue water. I’d never seen anything like it before. As I turned to the right or left, I could see rainbow colors in my peripheral vision. But dead on, the rainbow was pure white. Like the ghost of a rainbow.
We watched an anhinga surfacing, and a bald eagle flew overhead. Where we’d walked to get to this point was now enveloped in fog. We stood and marveled for a while, which allowed me to capture these ephemeral moments on video.
Walking back towards downtown, we watched the white rainbow follow us. It grew more and more round until it finally became a halo framing grasses in the shallows of the lake.
By the time we got up to the bridge over Mill Creek, it had almost disappeared. The coots were still making their way across the lake and I saw an arc of pure light between us and them.
It was magical. We were the only people on that piece of trail when it happened, although as we were walking back to downtown others were headed towards us on foot and by bike now that the fog had evaporated.
I’ve rarely thought of urban walks as rewarding to mind and spirit, but Feb 2 is just one of those unusual days. We weren’t looking for our shadows in the rainbow, which I later learned is properly called a fogbow. But we were celebrating the 10th anniversary of Florida Hikes, so it was a good sign to start the next decade.