Sightings of alligators, bears, and local artist: Mary Ellen
I arrive in St. Marks thanks to directions from a local at a gas station after about two or three hours lost on the road. It’s late so I take advantage of the opportunity to sneak into a local campground while the fee collector is off duty. I rise at four thirty to steal a shower before heading off to St. Marks Wildlife Refugee for the day. If you ever find yourself near the panhandle of Florida and your a nature lover, I highly recommend visiting this refugee. On top of the beautiful scenery I am lucky enough to encounter alligators, wild turkeys, a wide array of birds, and even a bear cub crossing the road on my way out.
Taking the advice of Sailor Jerry, I decide to continue south towards Steinhatchee and Cedar Key. Steinhatchee is a small marina town. This town is the epitome of southern hospitality. EVERY SINGLE PERSON that I pass says hello and has a huge smile on their face. It is the most welcoming town I have ever visited.
Cedar Key is an artsy-fartsy island not far off the mainland filled with shops, bars, and a booming population of stray cats. There are murals, sculptures, and other art forms plastered all over the island. Most of the population during the day seem to be middle aged and older folks however more and more people in their twenties and thirties emerge for the nightlife. All the bars have live music and outdoor seating.
Before leaving the next morning I happen to meet a local artist who has spent time boondocking in an RV in her past. She tells me all about the projects shes worked on, her travels, and gave me a bunch of advice as well as directions to some cool attractions in Homosassa Springs. She was bursting with energy and optimism and was clearly very passionate about her work. I could have stayed and talked with her all day. She was generous enough to give me a bandanna promoting safe tactics for hiking the Rubicon Trail in California. Check out Mary Ellen’s artwork at http://www.flyingfrog.com.
And from there I began my drive to Homosassa Springs in hopes of finding a giant fishbowl I could climb inside and watch manatees swim around my head.