“No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.” – Jack Kerouac
When most folks think of Florida, they imagine beaches, Disney, or Miami-South Beach. But the real Florida lies inland, away from the coastlines, high-rises, and hustle and bustle of humanity. The real Florida offers something unique and elusive – solitude. There are few places left in the world where one can escape from the sounds of humans – traffic, voices, machinery…
But right here in southwest Florida, there are a few, and on this late December day we hiked through one such place – the Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest (aka OK Slough) between LaBelle and Immokalee. We hiked in off of CR 832 at Keri Tower Road and within minutes the silence enveloped us. Not pure quiet – the wind was blowing and the frogs were calling, hawks squawking in the distance, too – but the lack of human-made noise was so noticeable and so appreciated!
We walked in silence for much of our time there – and were rewarded with sightings of wading birds, shorebirds (including a beautiful snipe), hawks, and the biggest bobcat we’ve ever seen!
Where do you find your solitude?