I read a comment recently by sailor Webb Chiles riding into Key West from Marathon. He loved the turquoise waters but didn't think much of the scrubby land in between bays...Its a common reaction but I love these spaces!
It's like so much else in Florida, not startling or overwhelming but it's unique across the entire continent and for me it feels like my space. Of course it's Rusty the dingo who loves running through these impenetrable bushes.
For me these stubby little bushes represent the last remaining space where I can be alone. It's not always silent as the hum of endless traffic on US One travels across the mangroves for miles.
It looks impenetrable because it is. Clearly.
It's like walking through the desert. The wind blows over your ears creating that whistling blowing sound and your footsteps sound like drumbeats against the silence all around you. Coming from my job answering 911 calls all night a morning stroll through the mangroves with my dog is the place your mind can cast off the night stresses.
I have walked Sequoia forests and eucalyptus groves. I've hiked the Highlands of Scotland and I've stood by myself in the silence of the Sahara. Great experiences all. I don't know how you grade these wildernesses and maybe I could use a bit more variety but like most things in the Keys where land is scarce you make do. I might not choose mangroves over a pine forest but this is what I've got.
There are limited sight lines because the open space is flat naturally. And perhaps I make my own sense of being alone by walking when the rest of the world is only getting ready to wake up. I see signs others show up here from time to time.
It's the end of the road so it has nice red diamonds to mark where the asphalt ends. I'm good. Rusty's panting. Time to go home.