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Worth Every Single Step

It couldn't have been more than fifteen minutes after clicking on the publish space for my last post, that there was a drastic change in the weather. Blue!! There was some blue in the sky! Praise the Lord!
Not a whole lot, but it seemed that it definitely would mean some hours without rain. Actually, I keep going on about the rain, however, there are days when it rains relatively hard, while others, it only sprinkles from morning until night, it is the dullness in the sky that really gets to you.

With the temperature in the low 40's, not as many layers are needed, so I put on what I thought would work, along with those walking shoes Bruce bought me, with my backpack full of extra clothing should I need it, and began walking along Beach towards Stanley Park. I remember the first day I walked there and was so pleased with my progress, although my feet hurt like mad. Mostly my feet don't hurt anymore, making me ever so grateful. Noticing it was windy alongside the water, I crossed over to the other side of the street to be more comfortable as I kept up the pace, heading to Lost Lagoon. Remember when last I posted a photo of the frozen water? Not anymore.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. As I made my way into the park, I was struck by something most of normally take for granted and that was shadows on this trunk, albeit a huge tree trunk.
With no sunshine for days on end, shadows are non-existent, lending such a flat feeling to everything. So, I was thrilled with some shadows. Could it get any better?  Why yes it could. Reflections!
As I was coming into the park, I checked the heron nests, high up in quite a few bare trees, and there was no activity. Doing a quick count/estimate, I'd say there are at least 50 (!) nests, so in time it will really be something. At any rate, when I got to the pond adjacent to Lost Lagoon, I did find one Great Blue Heron who was, perhaps, as interested in me, as I was in him.
Because I was right near Second Beach, I thought to myself, perhaps you can walk to Third Beach today. What was stopping me? My own nervousness about the distance, that's what!

Setting the record straight, I don't claim to be any champion walker, because I am not. Our time here, however, has, by both necessity and desire, turned me into a better walker than I was six months ago.  Thinking about it, I can't remember walking hardly anywhere in Orlando. Sure, I rode my bicycle, but walking, not often. Setting aside my trepidation, I walked over to the sea wall, and immediately the wind hit me me, and I saw waves in the water, a very unusual sight.
Turning my head and body in the direction I would be walking to get to Third Beach, oh my goodness, those waves and water were really something. Not terribly long ago I'd read somewhere how logs wash up on the shore, and now I was seeing it for myself.
For obvious reasons, this got me energized to keep going. Especially when this happened!
This section of the seawall is not nearly as wide as down where we live, using the red line to separate the walkers from the cyclist, it is generally strictly adhered to, however, that morning it was not happening as the crashing waves were dumping so much water in the pedestrian lane. Cyclist here are pretty hard core, you kind of take your life in your hand walking in their lane! Another fellow was taking photographs, pictured in the green jacket, and I did the same, walking on the thin strip of available grass.
All manner of seaweed and ocean matter could be seen in the mad waves.
Can you imagine how excited I was? Another awesome natural phenomenon happening during a walk in Stanley Park! I've been there in the fog, the rain, with snow on the ground, and now this? Thrilling, to say the least. As you probably can imagine, I chatted up most anyone who seemed willing. One woman told me she'd not seen it like this for at least a year, another said, if you think this is good, wait until you get around the bend. I soaked it all in. No pun intended, although occasionally my jeans got wet from the wildness of it all. The wind was so crazy, whipping up the waves even out in the open water.
Where I was walking was all brand new to me and when I finally stopped, and you'll see that shortly, I thought to myself, you've been here for more than five months and are just seeing this? Of course in the early days I simply could not have walked this far, what with my sore feet and all. So that tree sitting alone intrigued me, what could that be all about? The lanes are narrow here so I was scrunched up against the inside of the bike lane. This cyclist looks like she's having a blast.
I'll tell you what is around that bend...Third Beach!
I did not have my map with me, but I was so thrilled with what I was seeing, I kept going, passing Third Beach and back on the seawall, where one side looked like this:
while the other side looked like this:
I don't know about you, but I find it fascinating as all get out that those Boston Ferns were untouched by the December snowstorm.  Around one more bend and my mind was blown....incredible, or at least it is to me! I'm thinking this must be a bit of an alcove here as the wind and waves died down considerably, but not entirely.
I had NO idea this topography existed before Tuesday! Now can you see why I was kicking myself for not visiting sooner, can't you? More excitement around the next curve...
I'm finally, and you are too, seeing Siwash Rock for the first time. A Vancouver landmark that I'd only heard about, rather than seen. Apparently, it is due for a name change which is detailed in this article. I have to say, it is strangely mesmerizing in person.  For a bit of a size comparison, I took this, although with the lens I had on my camera, I could not include the whole rock.
Having satisfied that curiosity, I turned back around, made my way up a hill and onto a path that parallels the sea wall where I enjoyed seeing the waves breaking from a different vantage point.
I neglected to mention my visit to Stanley Park with the glorious autumn leaves that I showed in another post back in late October. This is the exact place I photographed then, and it sure looks different now.
Precisely why I am enjoying this year so much.

To be honest with you, I pretty much trudged home the last half mile. I did not set out to walk more than six miles, but it was indeed worth every single step. I hope you agree.

yours truly,

Gail

p.s. I neglected to mention one of my fellow walkers said the craziness was due to a combination of being windy and high tide. As if you care, right?

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