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Outside their proper sphere

What quote am I vibing? "It's a little bit late in the day for men to object that women are getting outside their proper sphere." Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Mother of the Everglades)

Pounds of Trash Removed from the Wild This Weekend / All Time: 14 / 31

National Parks Visited (All-Time): 10 (Current: Everglades National Park)

My weekly blog post is a little late because my bestie Katie was visiting from Pennsylvania from Saturday through today. My Florida home is great to lure people for a visit in the winter - an 80 degree beach day is a tempting break from the cold! I am so glad that she was here so that we could spend time - and celebrate her birthday! - together.

Prior to her arrival, I got some good litter pickup in. I knew I was gathering glass from Seabranch Preserve because I saw a lot there in my lizard excursions on Monday and Wednesday. I brought a box instead of a bag, and it didn't take long for the box to get quite heavy. Next time, I will bring a plastic bin that will be more sturdy to carry the glass. I was happy with the 14 pounds of glass that I removed from the park in about an hour.

Katie and I enjoyed 2 days of beach time, and she agreed to an outdoor adventure (I believe just to humor me, but she is no slouch when it comes to physical activity or the outdoors, so I wasn't worried.) We drove to Fort Lauderdale to spend the night on Tuesday - had an amazing meal for her birthday - and struggled to sleep because of the WILDLIFE at the hotel - kids on spring break.

On Wednesday morning, we drove west to the Shark Valley section of the Everglades National Park. Having done some research, we brought my bike and Greg's bike which Greg got into shape before we left. A 15-mile bike ride was calling our name - I assumed a bike ride on flat ground on a beautiful 60-ish degree day would be a breeze for two physically fit ladies like us --- I did not take into account the 16 mph headwinds that awaited us for the last 7 miles.

We did see 46 adult gators overall and a slew of babies in a nest. Katie's hesitation at seeing the gators seemed to fade quickly, and she was at home among the docile-seeming beasts. (We didn't do anything dumb, so they were happy to maintain their docility.) By the end of that ride, I had to concede that I am way more happy using my legs to hike rather than pedal - but proud and happy that we made it! And excited that we saw so many gators, so many beautiful birds, ancient shells, and absolutely zero snakes.

Sadly, Katie has returned to the cold. I forever look forward to the next time we share experiences and laughter together.

On the Observation Tower at Shark Valley, halfway through our bike ride - the worst part ahead of us. (Photo: Katie)

I believe a gopher tortoise at Seabranch (correct me if I'm wrong.)

Me and my box of glass at Seabranch.

Our second day at the beach, at Bathtub Reef Beach - there were lots of shark swarms coming close to the shore. No swimming allowed! Hard to photograph, but you can kind of see one in this pic.

Dinner at Blue Moon Fish Company in Ft. Lauderdale - YUM.

One of 46 gators that we observed on our bike ride. I dubbed #46 Jay Inslee - I have high hopes for a conservation-centric candidate. (Like TR)

Just two gals, outside our proper sphere, living our best lives.

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