Venturing Out: Big Pine to Sugarloaf Keys

You can easily recognize a path (often a former road)

You can easily recognize a path (often a former road)

So many keys so many names. The 100-mile Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West is well-marked so that you know the mile marker (mm) of where you are, which also tells you how many miles to mile 0 at Key West. Marathon covers quite a few miles, with the most bustling section centered between mm45 to mm53- ish.

Heading south, the next last traffic light after Marathon is on Big Pine near mm30 where you turn for No Name Key and for the Winn Dixie Shopping Center. South of Big Pine you come to Summerland Key, then Cudjoe followed by Sugarloaf. Oh you may find a few tiny ones in between but those are the ones worth mentioning and the ones where we explored by bike (Russ), foot and car.

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Why did the ibis cross the road?

The Keys have plenty of housing developments that never developed and when you find them, they make for a good walk or bike around.

ibis

His friends were partying on the other side

Key deer

A Key deer. Smaller than the usual white-tailed ones you see and protected here in the Keys

Young Little Blue Heron hangs out with the Ibis

 

heron

Mama Little Blue Heron alerts as we walk by

Or how about a gigantic bat house with no bats? Another development never consummated. Click here for a good overview of Perky’s Bat House. Richter Perky was a developer from Denver who owned a fishing resort on Lower Sugarloaf Key where millions of mosquitos managed to put the kibosh on its success. Too bad the bat house, which had success in other parts of the country, did not have the amenities needed for Florida Keys bats.

Sitting at the end of a tiny cul-du-sac, all alone and bat-less

Sitting at the end of a tiny cul-du-sac, all alone and bat-less

 

You can get an idea of its height- at least 30-40ft- not counting the huge osprey nest

You can get an idea of its height- at least 30-40ft- not counting the huge osprey nest

 

The interior. Really an amazing structure with room for thousands of bats

The interior. Really an amazing structure with room for thousands of bats

We ventured out on Cudjoe, on the north (bay) side of Rte 1  (Overseas Highway) and hunted down, with the help of a tip, Google Earth and luck, a path that would lead all the way out. Obviously a bulldozed road never paved, it was a decent walk shortened by water taking over a low section.

A handful of tiny crabs inhabited the barely 2 inches of water

A handful of tiny crabs inhabited the barely 2 inches of water

 

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