Friday, April 10, 2015

Key Largo Adventure

After 24 years of living in Florida, I FINALLY made it to the Keys! Who knew it was only a two hour drive from my casa to Key Largo?

The reasoning for going to the Keys is actually really heartbreaking. Michelle befriended a guy named Nico at the gym a year ago, who's had a thing for her ever since. Really nice guy, he's sensitive, spiritual and has a passion for making music. Overall cool dude. However, he lost his best friend last month, who tragically drowned. Nico has been heartbroken. It really makes you think how fragile life is and how petty our problems are.

So, in efforts to raise his spirit, Michelle planned a 24 hour trip to Key Largo, as an escape to turn Nico's brain off and just shower him with love as best as we could. Our friend Alee was also in town so she joined, along with Michelle's older brother Sean.

Me, Mich, Nico and Alee. Sean was driving

After getting lost for 45 minutes trying to find Nico's house to pick him up, we hit the road and got to the Keys and found our campsite...which happened to also be a small RV park. Needless to say, it was cozy with a hint of trashy. We were greeted at the entrance of our campground by Susan, the 50-something-year-old alcoholic who ran the campground. She was gripping a beer in her hand as we pulled up. If cigarettes could talk, they would sound like her. Susan reminded me of an addict you would see on Intervention, but slightly less disheveled.

We set up our tent and than drove about ten minutes up the road to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The place was packed for good reason, the weather was perfect that day. The water was not ideal though. The tide was moving in a specific way, which made the water extremely murky and you could only see a few feet in front of you. I HATE open water to begin with, so I was freaking out. But I manned up, slapped on my snorkeling mask and we swam out to a small wreckage that had underwater canons and an anchor. Oh and sea lice. Lots of sea lice...which we all discovered the following day. We saw a jellyfish, a lobster, a few fish and the little mermaid. Uuuunda da sea

Once we finished snorkeling, we tanned on the beach for a little while and than drove back to the camp site around 5. Luckily the clocks had just switched to Spring forward, so we had an extra hour of sunlight to play in! Michelle whipped out a massive thermos filled with sliced fruit and rum and we all started loosening up. Our campsite was literally right on the water with the most beautiful view. A few of the boats docked behind our tent were playing Pink Floyd and Reggae, which totally added to the vibe. Island living is so slooooow and relaxing.

The campground had a pile of canoes and kayaks that were free to use, so we frolicked down to the dock and plopped two canoes into the water for a little late afternoon fun. Michelle and Nico got in one canoe which was a terrible idea. They were so sloppy and kept getting stuck in the Mangrove trees, unable to steer the boat correctly. It was hilarious to watch. Meanwhile, Alee, Sean and I were cruising in and out of canals like an Olympic row team.
Alee spent about 30 seconds in that kayak before bailing into our canoe haha
I wish I had my camera on the canoe because we found a random pony and pig on some private land! Once we exhausted ourselves on the canoes, we docked everything and watched the sunset by the water. We walked back to our site and started chowing down on some dank pasta that Alee had prepared that morning. We set up lights and Ring of Fire on the table that Susan so graciously lent us.
That game felt like it lasted for a solid two hours and I was so happy once all the cards were flipped. The beer in the center never popped open so that was anticlimactic. Throughout the game, I threw back about two solo cups of rum and fruit (I had to get my daily nutrients) but I really didn't feel drunk or tipsy at all...even though I clearly was after looking at the pictures haha
Ew check out that gnarly zit
We migrated back to the docks, where we could be a bit louder, without worrying about waking anyone on the campground. We jumped onto a pontoon boat and that's when I started feeling tipsy. Alee and I were talking and laughing about something sexual, while Sean and Nico were at the front of the boat in a really deep conversation about his friend who had passed away. I was almost brought to tears from the comforting things Sean was saying to Nico.
Than Sean pulled out a joint and we all took a hit. Michelle and I simultaneously got off the boat a few moments later to find the bathrooms, but as soon as I stood up, the pot hit me hard.
Mich and I wondered to the entrance of the camp ground and I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland. I went from feeling slightly tipsy to extremely high...and I only took two hits from the joint. That pot had to of been laced. It was so dark at this campground and the massive trees around us made it feel like we were in a strange forest, engulfing us. It almost looked like a portal to me.
Mich and I disregarded everything else in that moment, forgot to go pee, locked arms and went on our own adventure. haha We left the campground and walked up this dirt road, passing random neighborhoods to our right. After exploring for about 5-10 minutes, I suggested we turn around and head back, just incase a cop happened to be driving by. Luckily; we managed to find our way back and reunited with the rest of the gang on the boat.
My high was peaking at that point and I realized I needed to relax somewhere in solitude. Plus; Sean was talking about something that was making me paranoid, so I got up and went to the tent to let the high simmer down.
I was trying to convince myself that I got in the right tent for the first ten minutes. haha Than I heard a car pull up to the tent and I started thinking some Key Largo killer was coming to kill me. I was seriously panicking. It sounds so ridiculous now, especially as I write this out, but I was convinced I was being stalked like prey. It felt like being stuck in some cheesy horror movie. Than a flashlight started shining through the tent and it just intensified my paranoia tenfold. All I could see was a shadow. I wanted to get out, but I was frozen. I started meditating, which helped me pass out shortly after.
I kinda woke up as they all got back in the tent one by one and I remember Mich saying to Nico, ''he looks like a baby deer when he sleeps." haha
I'm thankful I went back to the tent before everyone else, because some drama went down on the boat after I left. The following morning, I found out that Sean got pretty drunk/high and he was saying some things to Nico he shouldn't have. Remarks along the lines of being interested in Michelle and how he better not hurt/take advantage of her. Basically trying to be the tough older brother. The things that were said really upset Nico and he got off the boat crying. Poor guy. I also learned that the flashlight peering into the tent was not a Key Largo killer, it was Michelle trying to find Nico. haha
She later found him on the opposite end of the docks and reassured him that Sean was just drunk and being over-protective. The following morning was a little awkward between the two guys, but I was more upset that Nico's night was tampered with, after we specifically planned the 24 hours to be his way to escape from any negative emotions.
Besides that minor glitch and the paranoia, the trip was so much fun. There's something about camping that is so relaxing. The lack of electronics, while being surrounded in nature, is good for the soul.
Much love guys!