Monday, May 11, 2009

The Petrifying Reality

It's no secret to anyone who's known me longer than an hour that the thing I'm most terrified of in the entire world is snakes. It's more than just a little fear, it's an actual phobia.
Last summer I was walking home from my in-laws house when Travis was out of town. When I got home, I saw a small grass snake right in the middle of our walk. I was frozen with fear for a moment and felt that I was going to throw up and pass out. I was crying and hyperventilating as I walked around my block and called my father-in-law who had to come and move it. Once he did, I still couldn't go up the front steps. I pushed the stroller through the grass around to the back yard, used a stick to open the gate from the outside and went in the back door. It took me hours to actually calm down and go back outside.
I'm not proud of my fear. I've tried to over come it. I forced myself more than once to visit the herpetarium (reptile house) at the zoo. And even attended the Parker County Rattlesnake Round-up more than once. I've even eaten rattlesnake (tastes like chicken.) I've tried everything, but even so I just can't handle snakes. It doesn't matter that my family has had a variety of snakes as pets, including their current ball python in residence, Mowgli. I just can't do it.
But the truth is, I really don't like any reptile. Snakes are definitely the worst, but lizards, iguanas and anything in that family creeps me out beyond belief. So even though Cami and I had been talking about going to the Everglades from the beginning I was still a little apprehensive. The idea of alligators, crocodiles, snakes and all sorts of other creepy crawlers wasn't very appealing to me.
Still, I knew it would be a good a stretch for me to get out of my comfort zone and face the gators and whatever other creepy crawlers might be lurking in this vast wet land.

At the visitor's center I learned that the Everglades are actually not a swamp, but a moving river. Even a difference in the water level of a centimeter can make a difference as to whether it's a grass river, or a mangrove forest.
We stopped to look at some fish before moving on to the more intimidating parts of the park.

Gideon liked the fish.

It was the hottest day since we've been here, in the mid-90's and very muggy down in the glades, but we managed.

My first glimpse of a gator. See him out there in the middle? He was pretty far away, so I was okay to take a picture.

At the end of the board walk, there were more gators. They were closer and a lot more mobile. So I distracted myself by taking pictures of the birds.

Then I busied myself with the babies. Getting Gideon settled in the stroller, filling his sippy cup, taking is sandals off, etc. Then Cami scolded me. "I know you're purposely not looking, but you need to come see this!" So I did. My heart started beating faster, especially when they were swimming toward us. It didn't matter that we were up on the board walk, it still scared me.

Then suddenly there were tons of gators. All moving and making very menacing growling sounds. I didn't know gators sounded like that. It was creepy!

How many gators can you count?

There were lots of gators out there so I think the crane was pretty brave.

See the bird hiding the bush. He's so well camoflauged, we almost missed him.

The gumbo limbo path was cool and shady, but still I was slightly afraid.

There were lots of little lizards along this path who kept scurrying around. I didn't much care for them, but after the gators decided that maybe they weren't so bad.

This is down at Florida Bay. Literally the end of the Peninsula of Florida. Is it any wonder that there are like 300 and some odd keys in Florida. Some of them can't be more than ten steps across. Honestly some of them are little better than specks in the ocean.

On the way home, we stopped at the "Robert is Here" fruit stand in Homestead. They specialize in exotic tropical fruits and they make excellent exotic fruit milkshakes with fresh tropical fruit of course. Gideon and I had Strawberry Passionfruit. It was so refreshing and yummy!
After we got back to the house, Jacob was just getting home from work, so we all went for a swim. After the sweaty, sticky Glades, the pool felt fantastic. The babies went down pretty early because they were just so tired from the day.
And now, Cami and I are watching her Mother's Day Present ("Moonlight" on DVD) and packing so that we can leave early tomorrow morning. We're driving to Warner Robbins, Georgia to spend the night with daddy and Cody and then we'll continue on to Indiana on Wednesday. Tomorrow is going to be fun though because we're stopping in Orlando on the way. We'll have some lunch and walk around Downtown Disney before driving the rest of the way through.
Oh, the gator videos below are courtesy of Cami. I was too nervous to shoot any video.


The Clegg Family said...

That's so funny that you brought up your fear of snakes today. The boys and I took a walk down by the river, and as we were turning around to come back to the car, Jordan says, "Mommy there's a snake!" Sure enough I turned around and there was a little snake coming out of the brush. We then proceeded to walk faster back to the car.

jean said...

Your pictures are great! I haven't been to Florida since I was ten. (25 years ago - WOW) You make me want to go again! We have Coldstone here to and I LOVE their cakes! :) Gideon is SO cute!

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

I am proud of you! Gators are awesome!