Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Aug. 11, 2005)
Its good to be home in Pinellas County
Over the past 20 years Ive traveled Florida in search of the best bays and
bayous, the perfect river or lake to bird watch and kayak and canoe.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|A rare site, the nocturnal
yellow-crowned night heron looks back with wide-eyed
Ive sat on many a beach to observe the Florida sunset. While packing a heap
of equipment in my old Jeep, Ive driven countless miles in search of the
perfect campsite. Florida abounds in magical places, but Im always delighted
to come back home. We have it all right here in Pinellas County.
Youll find superb places to bird watch and observe wildlife, rivers, bayous,
beaches, saltwater, freshwater and a variety of ecosystems in Seminole, Largo, the
beach communities, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
Its good to be home.
We turned the kayaks upside down to prevent them from becoming miniature swimming
pools as a result of the torrential, afternoon, thunderstorms. Our gear was packed
in dry bags, ready for the following morning. The sweltering heat designated
kayaking schedules for mornings or evenings.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|The morning sun painted the
still waters of Long Bayou.
We arose soon after dawn. The devilish no-see-ums relentlessly attacked us while
on land, but within a few hundred feet of our campsite and shoreline, we were
blessedly relived of this annoyance. The morning sun painted the still waters of
Long Bayou with the tip of Van Goghs brush.
Silently the kayaks slid across the water barely breaking its surface. It was an
hour or so after high tide, but we could already feel the sea currents shifting,
heading back to the Gulf of Mexico. Once out on open water we steered around small
mangrove islands that mushroomed from the tannin waters. Our kayaks stealthily
glided by great blue and white herons, white ibis, a green heron, a napping
black-crowned night heron and a female anhinga drying her wings in the fresh
morning air. We could hear the far off rumble of early morning rush hour. An
occasional fisherman lifted his cap in salutation. We soaked in the
After an hours journey we tied off on a weathered pylon to drift aimlessly
and enjoy the breakfast we had earlier packed. Van Gogh paintings changed into
Turner, Monet and set against Cezanne backdrops.
The sun was beginning to smart and bead sweat upon our brows. The current
strengthened in the bayou to pull in the opposite direction away from camp. As we
nosed the boats toward home they spilled gently over opposing waves. The waters
emptied swiftly from the bay. Sea grass bent in the direction of the agitated water
We paddled for a closer look of a great blue heron who was wading in a calm pool,
in search of breakfast. Toward shore a stand of gray rocks providing shelter for
crabs revealed an immature yellow-crowned night heron, wide eyed and innocent, a
rare site. It wouldnt be long until this nocturnal bird sought shelter from
the daylight and away from human observation to roost in the trees and
For this moment he was as interested in us as we were of him. We immortalized him
through our camera lenses. His inexperience and immaturity was endearing as was his
youthful curiosity. As the struggle to hold the kayaks in place increased and the
effort to keep our cameras remaining dry we bid the little fellow goodbye. Calmly
we slipped our paddles into the waters and pushed ourselves back into the
Always with the end of each adventure comes a momentary let-down which must be
filled with images of journeys past and journeys yet realized, but for every
adventure realized awaits another gifted moment from Creator. Just around the
corner, off a gentle shore, lingering in a purple sunrise or in the innocence of
one genuine moment spent back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.