Posted by: aauntiem | March 16, 2010

Gator Tale (AKA: Exercise Just Might Kill You)

I have a long and torrid affair with:

  1. Gators
  2. My clumsy body
  3. Gators and my clumsy body

Let’s just say, then, that this weekend was no exception to the rule.

Picasso and I have rebounded our (read mine, that guy is healthy except for all that red meat) efforts to get exercise and play outdoors. The rules of engagement:

Our Rule: Cheap

His Rule: Must be scenic, preferably outdoors (aka: “M, I am not gonna walk around our block again” followed by a big sigh and a foot down)

My Rule: Must involve everyone, meaning we can’t just pack up  leaving Tuna-fish behind, especially since she is home alone during the week

Unwritten rules: If we are gonna look extra stupid doing it we probably shouldn’t (meaning dance is out people, at least if we are going co-ed). ALSO, it must involve clothes and  must not involve: planes, guns, wild animals, fire, death, the law, poison ivy, death, Jane’s Addiction, nakedness (ie: death), and a few others that have escaped me but I know are definitely in there.

In an effort to meet all of these taxing demands, we have started trail walking. This was week two of the effort, coming off the first week high of everything about nature is sublime mixed with a pinch of Thoreauian delirium.

Since I generally plan meals and this seemed liked a Picasso style excursion (researching, plotting things on maps, working with gps, national geographic, etc.) and because I really would be fine walking the neighborhood, I tasked him with taking control of this new project. He is in charge of scouting places to hike, making sure he knows what-is-what about safety and then teaching me, and the general planning of our Sunday ritual.

This week he found out some really awesome information about Florida Trail Walkers Program.

I have made this one of my goals and am planning to have this completed before the end of June (even after Sunday).  It is great exercise, it earns a lot of activity points without feeling like you are busting your butt to the oldies (no offense, but that guy is strange), and it is both fun and beautiful. Plus, the trails only cost $2 a visit. And, pets can come along if leashed.

This Florida Trail Walker Program meets all of our qualifications you say.

Check, check.

We nodded our heads in agreement and set off Sunday morning around 9:00 am to a state park within 15 miles.

Upon arrival, we leashed up the pup, and headed into the forest.

Doesn’t it look like I am missing my hand here? Freaky right…

The trail was a bit rough starting out as it rained again on Friday and it has been an unusually wet winter.

Our tame domesticated nap-all-day dog after she sloshed through puddles chest high like it was nothing. I, on the other hand, went well out of my way to avoid even one ounce of wet sock syndrome.

Once through the mud-walk the trial turned breath taking, making its way along the river.

We had made it a little more than half way through the trail, about an hour and a half in, when we heard trees cracking on the other side of the river bank.

Now, I need to explain a few things before I continue:

  1. Picasso for all his masculinity and Renaissance- fix-stuff-manly-manness is petrified of sharks and gators.  Therefore, he fears all non-pool water in Florida (and in some cases pool water is suspect). He is miserable if he gets thrown in when we go tubing and you have never seen a man walk on water like he does when he is trying to get back on a boat.
  2. Either gators or sharks are going to be in every body of water in Florida. Even retention ponds.
  3. A gator over four feet can be considered a nuisance gator but generally people call them “man eating gators” when they are more than 12 feet.
  4. In high school, I was chased by a gator after falling off an air-boat in the middle of the night while going “hog hunting” with some guys. I don’t want to get into any of the details. All I can say to try and regain some of your trust is that a). one of hunting boys had just asked me to prom and b). it ate my sneaker.

Needless to say, that cracking sound on the other side of the river bank caused us both to go the bank’s edge. It was there that we saw that largest gator ever. Scouts Honor.

No kidding. And, this is coming from someone that was chased by one so you know you can trust me.

The head was huge. It was making its giant, scary, gonna eat humans body into the river.

Naturally, Picasso being my knight in shining armor, my Renaissance man, he ran. He ran and ran, leaving Luna and I to fend for ourselves.

This is feminism people: the what happens when women realize they better save themselves.

Now, Look again. I know that you can’t really see but that is because I was being pushed out of the way by a man on the run (sing as you read, it helps).

Luna.  She, ever vigilant guard dog, didn’t know anything had happened.

And me, I was the one that tripped over tree roots on my way to catch up with my husband. Twice.

While I am trying to figure out how hiking broke the cardinal unwritten possible death rule and turned into the sequel to JAWS I thought I would leave you with this:

Awesome gator recipes.

And this:



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