My Life as a Traveler

Can You Canoe?

Who would believe that some of the most challenging mountain bike trails on the East Coast are 10 minutes away from Miami Beach? True! you can find them at Oleta River State Park, a gorgeous piece of property nestled along the inland waterway.

This is a great place. It’s Florida before development. Besides the mountain bike trails, they have a nice beach off the waterway, rustic cabins to rent (like camping), and canoeing and kayaking. Last time we were here, we rented the mountain bikes and went over some pretty gnarly trails. This time, we’re here for the water.

We didn’t dress for swimming, so we opted for a canoe rental. I promised the boy a mountain bike ride if we went canoeing first. Morgan got the forward seat and I anchored the back. He was fairly grouchy for some unknown teenager reason.

We started out trying to explore a small creek off the river in the mangroves, but as soon as we entered the trees, we were attacked (well, Morgan was attacked) by a humongous horde of mosquitoes. This made him even grouchier. We backed out of there as quickly as possible and headed for the open water and the little island that is part of the park, watching for manatees and dolphins.

With the summer sailing lessons under his belt, Captain Morgan was quick to point out everything I was doing wrong. Finally, I started getting the hang of it. We spent an hour and a half circling the island and venturing out near the boats going back and forth in the inland waterway.  We didn’t want to get off on the island because we weren’t sure exactly how many mosquitoes were waiting for us there as well.

It was nice to be out on the water, but now it was bike time. Even though I biked (and walked) over some rocky hills, hairpin turns, and 10-inch boardwalks last time, this time I got sceered. I felt sure that I was heading for an ugly fall. Maybe because I was tired of paddling in the canoe, maybe because I was hungry, maybe because … who knows? I just couldn’t make it happen happily. I followed Morgan on a couple of trails and let him go on his own on a couple more, then persuaded him to ride to the park restaurant for lunch.

After lunch, we were wiped. We returned the bikes after riding for 2 hours (minus 20 mins for eating), covered with sweat. It took half an hour to walk to the bus stop, then another 40 mins to get back to the hotel. Definitely another Subway night!

When George got back to the hotel, we sat on the balcony and watched the ocean as we ate our sandwich and salad. Good times.

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