Conservation and Honeymoons, Part II

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for! The second half of our honeymoon adventures, and this time with a guest author–My Adventure Buddy 🙂

I asked him to write whatever he wanted about the last part of our trip, and he did not disappoint. One of his favorite parts of our trip was a visit to a coastal scrub dunes natural area. It was a habitat type we were both completely unfamiliar with. Barely the distance of a few football fields away was the ocean, yet the low, scrubby plants of the dunes made the area feel almost like an Arizona dessert. The smell of saltwater was replaced with something…greener? Heavier? Maybe it was just that the open surroundings made the heat so much more oppressive that you thought you could feel the density of sunlight, even so that it tricked your nose. Whatever it was it was, the scrub dunes left quite an impression on both of us.

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Rob: So, what do I remember of the scrub dunes?

It was hot. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t want to tackle a desert expedition without gallons and gallons of water (Lawrence was a crazy, crazy man). The sun seems hotter down there than PA. And more focused, like we’re underneath a young kid trying to burn ants with his dad’s magnifying glass.

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But I don’t mean to give the impression I didn’t like it. I truly did. There’s just this different theme to the air and the light in a hot, dry place. It’s a graver, more serious feeling. You’re still very excited to explore each movement in the brush (after all, there are fewer shadows, all the secrets are in the open for you to find), but perhaps there’s an ancient instinct telling your muscles not to hurry like you do when entering a cool, northern forest where you vault over fallen logs and scamper up hills. Instead, here, surrounded by sand and bristled, thorned scrub plants, ancient genetic material cautions you to move slower, conserve your energy and moisture. It’s a beauty you experience slower.

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If the interrogating sun exposes the secrets on the ground, the sand is the stenographer – meticulously recording all movement gracing its surface. At first, we missed these records, we tromped over them (leaving our own for the next visitor) as we inspected flowers or looked up silhouettes of birds. Soon enough, we glanced down (perhaps from a pointed rock in a flip-flop) and found raccoon prints in the mud, sinewy grooves we mistook for snakes until we spotted tiny feet from a lizard on either side. We found what we think are rabbit prints. These always cross the trail at the shortest intersection.

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It was a great trip. I mean that too. I truly enjoyed it, not just in the “we-went-to-the-beach-and-had-fun” kind of way. It was so much fund, never a boring day at Palm Beach. And my new traveling partner…my new wife…and I found that we are both such nerds. Our visit to the zoo lasted nearly six hours as we moved at the speed of sloth from exhibit to exhibit, taking in all that we could. In fact, we got to meet a sloth! (Maria: thanks so much to Erin at the Palm Beach Zoo!)

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Many highlights to this trip. In fact, so many fun or special moments, if everything was a highlight, are there any highlights?

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