Friday, November 17, 2006

We explored.... and conquered!

Last week, I attended the Explore and Conquer event at Fort DeSoto SP, just outside of Tampa in the alligator infested swamps known as Florida. I'm a bit late for this report, mostly because I was in Florida and not hooked up with my usual computer comforts such as that annoying little cable I need to transfer photos from my digital camera to the computer and, well, time. I spent several days thru-hiking the Pinellas Trail, a 34-mile long foot and bike path through Pinellas County. Not including the 2.5 mile (one way) spur over a causeway as well, so that took up some time.

But I digress.... I'm just making excuses. =) Truth is, I didn't pull out my camera until after the event was over, and that was just to take a picture of a sunset along the way. Like it? I'm submitting it for consideration to next year's Project X. I think it's good, but based on last year's winners, it's pretty intimidating. I hope the judges like it! =) I also saw a dolphin swimming around nearby, but alas, no photos of that little guy.

When Amanda and I arrived at the event, we were SHOCKED to learn that nobody had carved an event stamp! I was pushed into it, and whipped together a stamp. Perhaps not my best work, but it turned out acceptable, I think. Just ask anyone who was there.

Marjorie made herself comfortable in the sun a bit too long. Might be awhile before her feathers grow back. Anyone out there get a picture of Marjorie tanning herself in the sun? I missed my chance, but I have to keep a good working relationship with Marjorie since she is the AQ mascot. She wouldn't have liked me taking pictures of her in such a sensitive predicament.

Papa Bear and family drove all the way out from Tallahassee for the gathering, but we suspect that's because they ran out of boxes in their part of the state to find based on their performance at the event. They were off looking for boxes before they even had a chance to catch their breath! Papa Bear also talked his brother, Super Frog, into attending. Super Frog found his first letterboxes at the event, and works for the parks department in Clearwater or something to that effect. And--get this--he thinks letterboxing would be a terrific thing for their parks and wants to encourage it there. I suspect a lot more boxes in Clearwater might be showing up before too long.....

Papa Bear also brought water from the famed Fountain of Youth, purchased from a guy who was 150 years old. Tastes terrible, but there's always a dark lining on every silver cloud, right? =)

This gathering was especially interesting since it was made up mostly entirely of new letterboxers who'd never attended an event before! Papa Bear and family hadn't been letterboxing very long to begin with, and Super Frog didn't find his first box until the gathering. But also in attendance and very new letterboxers included the Six P's and the Yaker Family. The only other long-time letterboxers in attendance outside of Amanda and myself was Kilroy.

Near the end of the day, Amanda's dad, George, also came out for a spin on his new wheelchair. He lives just a few miles away and this was his first letterboxing gathering as well. If he suspected we were all crazy before, we've certainly confirmed his suspicions now! =)

We came. We explored. And we conquered. And it wasn't until near sunset we parted ways and headed back from whence we came. I finished hiking the length of the Pinellas Trail, then headed back to Seattle to learn that after just half the month, Seattle had already broken the record for most rain in November EVER! Yes, indeed, it was a good time to be in Florida. =)

I took this picture of Seattle just before leaving for Florida. Alas, all those fall colors are now laying in the gutter, soggy and wet from all the rain.


Anonymous said...

that is a gorgeous sunset pic, and it should be on the calendar...I hope the judging committee picks it...that's Marjorie, right? another epic that should be up for consideration is one of a beautiful oak tree all drooped over that Lisa had on her blog recently...but alas I can only suggest it not submit it, as I don't own the thing.

night writer

DonP said...

Hi Ryan,

Great pictures! ;-)

Six Ps

Connie said...

Nice picture Ryan. Fort DeSoto is a neat place, we were there in July. I actually lost my compass at one of the boxes there. Hmm... wonder if anyone found it??