SUNDAY NOV 25 – Sunrise at Pelican Bay. The moon hangs tall and heavy over Kreamer Island’s waving royal palms, which beckon entrance to a slice of Florida long forgotten.
Ginny and I departed from Rardin Park in the dark, moonlight illuminating our steps on the dike above Bacom Point Road. The morning has a salty tang like green olives and the smell of burnt sugar and the marsh-muck signature aroma of the Everglades.
At the first hint of dawn, the harvesters start. Flocks of ibis take wing. Alligators slice through pinkish-blue reflections of clouds in the water. Attuned and mindful, I notice the details. The “Skydive America” headquarters, a painted metal Quonset hut, appears abandoned. A red-shouldered hawk sits on a fencepost looking at two small cows, a Brahma and a Jersey, as roosters crow in the background. A white horse paces in its small corral. There is an old mansion with a carriage house and servants quarters in the backyard. Someone is building a sailboat. A young boy does donuts in a golf cart, and his mother yells for him.
It is over too soon, as we enter the campground and walk up to Cliff Moody, who is busy talking to Willie Howard, the reporter for the Palm Beach Post. Seems Cliff got up at 2 AM and walked here on his own to be the first done with the hike, and at 90 years old, he breaks his own record. As we head to Pahokee Junction for breakfast, Cliff asks if he can hop a ride in my jeep, and I oblige. Hearty breakfasts enjoyed by all, we applaud and hoot as each new group of hikers finds their way down to the diner to call it the end of their hike. It’s the perfect cap to a wonderful week.