Wynwood, Graffiti Wonderland

In an effort to revitalize a Miami warehouse district, Wynwood Walls became the project of the late neighborhood restorer Tony Goldman.  His idea was to resuscitate Wynwood by bringing the under recognized art form of graffiti and street art to its warehouse walls.  The idea brought to life this Miami neighborhood, making it one of the most visited by tourists and natives alike, and a haven for artists worldwide.

Map Wynwood

Walking the streets of this urban outdoor art gallery is a visual treat.  One of my favorite murals reminded me of one of my favorite cities, New York.  I later learned that the scene is a NY scene created by Brooklyn, NY native Logan Hicks. Hicks creates his murals from templates based on his photographs.  The end result is a mural which makes you want to jump into that city scene.

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If you build it, they will come.  Art revived a dying neighborhood, and with the art came trendy eateries, shops, and micro-breweries making Wynwood one of the hippest places to visit in Miami.  While running from a downpour, we came across a restaurant opened just three months ago Kyu, a modern Asian fusion eatery.  We had some interesting and delicious appetizers–pork belly on a steamed bun, soft shell crab on steamed bun, roasted cauliflower and goat cheese, and spicy Korean fried chicken.  The environment is relaxed, with an organic industrial vibe.

If walls could talk!  The walls of Wynwood speak volumes. Stories of love, despair, happiness, sex, war, life, passion fill every corner of these streets.

We especially enjoyed the messages right at our feet.  Words stamped in concrete, some inspirational, some political, some purely whimsical.

It took the vision of one man to completely transform a decaying neighborhood.  Makes you think how much one person can inspire change.  Whenever you think, I’m only one person, what can I do?,  think again.

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Old Ingraham Highway

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.

Map of Ingraham Hwy, Homestead, FL

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.

IMG_8980 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.

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Every Day Counts

Finding the motivation to get out there and walk is not always easy.  Factor in a busy workday and 86 degree temperature with high humidity, and the motivation is close to non-existent.  However, there are so many ways to keep the momentum going if you really try.  Weekday hikes may be as simple as getting up early to get your walk in before the day begins, walking around a park during lunch, or committing to a walk in the evening in your neighborhood.  No matter how you do it, do it.  You are preparing for the more exciting hike planned for the weekend ahead.

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt:

Planning for our weekend hikes is made easy with a few great apps we love.

AllTrails offers downloadable maps of hiking and biking trails at the tip of your finger.  You can save your favorites for easy access, record your hike, and share your photos and trails with friends or followers.

MapMyHike goes a little further.  It not only tracks your hike/bike route, it also let’s you set exercise and nutrition goals, track the lifespan of your gear, purchase your favorite gear brands and items, and join challenges with friends or groups.

You won’t fall off the map with these apps!

Buen camino. . .Buen Camino Logo

 

Live, Love. . . Let’s Do This

After meeting late in life, we are a couple in love, knowing that sometimes second, even third chances don’t come easily.  We are Olga and Rolando, and while working through the monotony of everyday life, we still dream big.  And now, through the eyes of a couple starting life anew, today we have decided to embark on a pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago.  Also known as The Way of St. James, for many this path begins in the Pyrenees, and continues through northwestern Spain to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Our love of hiking began while on our honeymoon in Georgia.  There’s something about pushing yourself to walk long distances on beautiful trails, some easy, some hard, but oh so rewarding when you’re done.  This picture was taken while hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains.  It was during our time in Georgia that we began to fantasize about tackling the Appalachian Trail.  We began to follow seasoned hikers of the AT on YouTube, and thought…we can do this!  Now we have set our goal to walk a path a bit further away from home, and hope to walk El Camino, a visual, spiritual, and physical adventure stretching over 500 miles.

Back home in Miami, we have begun to plan for our future journey.  This morning we didn’t venture off too far from home.  We did an urban hike on Ludlam Trail, a new 6.2 mile trail through Miami, created in the old East Coast Florida railway system.  We look forward to training throughout different trails for the next two years, and sharing our experiences in our preparation to conquer El Camino.

Here are some pictures of our hike on Ludlam Trail in Miami.