Big Cypress, Florida, USA
A girlfriend, journalist Ashley Harrell, texted me at 11 am to go for a hike on the Florida Trail. I said 'let's,' threw my pack together (forgetting a mosquito net and propane tank) and suggested we turn the day excursion into an impromptu hammock-camp overnight.
We started out on the Southern most point of the little known 1000+ mile trail that cuts the spine of the sunshine state. This diverse gem of South Florida wilderness is protected as a national preserve called "Big Cypress." In the midst of Seminole/Miccosukee territory, the drive into the preserve was marked with the bold colors of Red, Yellow, and Black of the Miccosukee nation that we later saw echoed in the large bright crickets of the area.
Our first attempt on the trail reminded us of the quicksand the Princess Bride and we did see several R.O.U.S. (rodents of usual size). We changed location, celebrated terra firma, though dry wasn't a descriptive word of choice. We enjoyed the unusual hike, through ankle deep water (for which we were also unprepared), poitning at skimming crawfish, in awe of alien-esque air plants, loud vibrations of swamp buzzing, trees in peacock disguisses, and the kind of conversation only two half-Jewish-wonderlusting-ex-tom-boys can have.
While I was clinching my tiedye hammock into a tight through the night, I slept quite well. And, despite the lack of propane... I welled up with pride as I utilized rusty Israeli scout skills and built a good 'ole fashion morning fire for poor-ladies' bulletproof coconut oil coffee. A unique and well-needed camp girl slumber party. Thank you Florida, thank you Pacha mama, thank you new friend, and thank you Israeli scouts, that coffee was legit.