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#5 Biscayne National Park

Question: How do you run/hike in a National Park that covers nearly 173,000 acres and 95% are underwater?

Answer: You don' kayak.

It's good to have a plan, but sometimes you have to improvise. It's better than running the little road to the Visitor Center 33 times to achieve the 5k promised. So we rented a sea kayak and went out to explore Biscayne Bay.

Biscayne Bay is edged with Mangrove forests, not just a border, a forest! I've never seen so many mangroves! Mangrove trees live in wet coastal areas. They are nature's very own filtration system. They do this by filtering runoff & polluted waters, much in the same way they can live in salt water and not die. Their roots have some way of keeping the salt out of the trunk of the tree. They also cut down on greenhouse gas; not to mention, provide housing to insects, reptiles, birds and some mammals. Plus, they form a barrier between people and storms, thus saving lives and property. What a tree!

The wildlife is abundant! I saw a manatee lift her nose out of the water, snort and she was gone. I also saw a crab swimming! He went right by the kayak and they don't swim flat in the water like you think they would; they are vertical swimmers, so bizarre! Birds are everywhere, even turkey vultures. They were circling overhead and I wondered, "Do they know something I don't?" "Fred, did you forget to bring water?"

They calculate that people have been living in this area for around 10,000 years, starting with the Tequesta people. If you sit quietly in your kayak you can hear the life in the mangroves and perhaps envision what the lives of those people long before us. You might even feel the presence of a beautiful young woman, barely 21 years old, from the mountains of Colorado who was a brave warrior and fought a battle against NET.

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