The more we get outdoors, the more we disconnect from our everyday life. Not the great everyday life that includes our friends and family (although I guess that depends on your family), but the stuff that everyday living is made of. We rush through our days, wishing for the weekend, then wishing for the next weekend, then the summer, and forward to the next holiday or vacation. We do this over and over, and before you know it, years pass. . .many years pass. You begin to think about your life and suddenly those things you covet, that house, that car, those sexy must-have pair of high-heeled pumps, becomes a shallow reminder of a life missing something that isn’t measured in material possessions.
And here we are, it’s the weekend, and time to disconnect once more to experience life in its simplest form. We set off to hike one of the many trails in Everglades National Park, Old Ingraham Highway. Prepared with our hydration packs, sunblock, and insect repellent, we are well equipped to manage our weekend hike.
Ingraham Highway was completed in the early 1900’s and was named after James E. Ingraham, president of the Model Land Company and vice president of the Florida East Coast Railway. He worked together with Henry Flagler in the development of South Florida. Ingraham Highway ran the distance from Homestead to Flamingo. Flamingo, once thought to become a booming town with the prospect of Henry Flagler’s plans for the East Coast Railway to Key West, is today no more than a ghost town.
The abandoned highway in the middle of the Everglades now offers an interesting biking and hiking trail. The views are typical South Florida. With sawgrass, cypress trees, and hardwood hammocks in the distance, this serene environment is home to alligators, wading birds, snakes, turtles, amphibians and more. We heard the deep growling sound of several alligators, but none joined us on our walk. If you have a fear of bugs, the flying kind or any other, you will need to keep an eye out and walk briskly. We found many of these toxic insects on our hike— the lubber grasshopper.
Since we started late in the day, we hiked no more than four miles of this trail. It was a perfect warm, breezy, and sunny day. Thoughts tend to wander in the serenity of our surroundings. Thoughts of friends, children, grandchildren, what I’m making for dinner, my dad, my husband, where we’ve been, and what the future holds. I can’t help but smile and feel completely at peace, and looking forward to our next hiking adventure.