I can’t remember when or how, but somehow I’ve known of Weeki Wachee ever since I was a little girl. It's a wonderful place where women dress in mermaid costumes and plunge into the water to swim about gracefully. And I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally see them perform. I was surprised to find out they’d been taken over by the State Park Service. It makes a little sense when I discover that the pool of water the mermaids perform in is actually a large natural spring, but it still seems strange. Regardless, the mermaid performance is pretty neat. I only wish it was longer and even more kitschy. And I still wish that I could be one myself.
A few days later I’m at St. George Island. The beach there is advertised as being voted the best beach in Florida, and I’m thinking ’Yeah right. Who says?’ But it’s true. The sand is the whitest I’ve ever seen. And the waves crash on the shore and spread out in beautifully overlapping foam laced sheets. Little shorebirds shuffle around. Even though it’s too cold to stay for long, it’s great for a quick stroll.
I can’t pass up the opportunity to camp in a primitive site for $5, even though it’s a 2 ½ mile hike to the site and I don’t have a proper backpack to lug my stuff in. But I gather up my tent and sleeping bag and head on out. It’s a really great location, right on the bayside, isolated. Exploring my surroundings I head out on a sand spit and frighten a group of pelicans away. It’s all very Robinson Crusoe.
But in the morning I wake up to rain. I wait for a couple hours, reading, in the hopes that it will let up. But it doesn’t. So I prepare myself and hike back the 2 ½ miles in the rain. Everything gets soaked. But you know, it wasn’t so bad and I know it’s something I’m always going to remember. I think I’ll be primitive camping as often as I can, long after this trip. It's such a better camping experience to be more isolated in nature rather than staying in the glorified parking lots campsites have become. If it wasn’t raining, I would have spent the whole day wondering around the seashore.