Last weekend I had the chance to go hiking in the Everglades with the Miami chapter of a Black nature group called Outdoor Afro. As adventurous as I like to think I am, I have to admit that I was a liiiittle apprehensive about going. I’ve been on a hike before, but mention of panthers and bears had me freaking out. So much so, that I almost didn’t go. But! My good friend Kendra snapped me out of it and I’m happy she did. Shout out to her! 🙂 We drove all the way to Homestead for the hiking trip and there was nothing but wide open fields as far as the eye could see.
It’s easy to forget just how much land there is in Florida when you live in Miami.
Once the Outdoor Afro Miami group was all there, we headed out to the Long Pine Key Nature Trail. As we were nearing the entrance to the trail, we passed an alligator sunbathing on the side of the road. Florida living, yes, but it didn’t really help the whole fear-of-wild-animals-eating-me-alive anxiety that I was experiencing! But, since I am from Florida, this wasn’t the first time that I’ve seen an alligator on the side of the road so I was able to move past that. Crazy, I know.
As we headed down the trail, I really enjoyed taking in all of the scenery. It wasn’t the most breathtaking, but it was still refreshing to get out of the city and see a different side of South Florida. I also got to learn a little bit about Outdoor Afro and we chatted about Obama’s environmental legacy and what the next presidency might mean for these kinds of spaces.
We ended the hike with star gazing in Everglades National Park. This moment alone was worth the entire trip. It literally took my breath away. To see all the stars up in the sky like that is something that I haven’t experienced — even with the hurricanes that we had as a kid that would knock out power and let us see a bit more of the sky. I wish I had been able to take a proper picture to share because there’s really no way to describe it. But if I could try to put it into words: I was awestruck by the beauty of it all. There’s really nothing like staring up at a star-filled sky to make you contemplate your place in the world.
By the end of the evening, my legs were tired, the heels of my feet were killing me, and I was exhausted. You might think that hiking in South Florida isn’t that rigorous because it’s flat land, but you would be wrong. And you know what? I would do it again! I love going out and experiencing nature and this was a nice reminder that I need to enjoy it some more.