David: “Sunrise?”, I asked again, just to be sure that I had heard right. “Sunrise”, Jodi said with a little more conviction. Sunrise was to take place at 7:10 am the next day. Figuring in drive time and a minimum number of snooze button hits, that meant I would have to set my alarm for 4:00 am. Done.
Jodi: Let me just start by saying that I’m just not a morning person. Never have been; I’m a night owl. So why am I telling you this? It’s to encourage you to break from the norm. Leave your comfort zone. Get up! Up! Up and get out! What you get in return can be FANTABULOUS! That’s a hybrid of the words fantastic and fabulous because just one of those words isn’t quite enough to describe being at Canaveral National Seashore (CNS) at sunrise!
Note from David: Jodi and I were so fascinated by the features of the Canaveral National Seashore that we made three visits to try to experience all that it had to offer. From eyebrow-raising moments to local history to natural beauty, this place had it all.
We will have a total of three separate posts about Canaveral National Seashore, each one coinciding with a visit.
David: It’s great sometimes what we re-discover by accident. I guess I was feeling a little restless one day and just needed to get out…maybe do some exploring. I decided to do some much-needed shopping along with my exploring. The required items were soon secured and I headed toward New Smyrna Beach on SR 44. My plan wasn’t so much to go to the beach, but to, I guess, fill in some gaps in my knowledge of the coast line from New Smyrna Beach and south. Continuing on SR 44 across the causeway, I made the big right “bend” onto A1A or S. Atlantic Avenue and headed south. I had a vague idea or, maybe, a “recollection” of where I would end up, but wasn’t positive. A small road sign informed me that the road would end in a few miles at the Canaveral National Seashore. HUH? Didn’t one get to the National Seashore through the Cape Canaveral area? Totally intrigued, I continued south and soon found myself at the attended entrance to the Seashore. The entrance fee of five dollars per car seemed reasonable and I asked the attendant if there was a map to be had. He handed me a printed map along with my receipt or “pass” which was good for an entire day. Pass and map in hand, I drove onto the property which, according to the map, was the “Northern District” of the Canaveral National Seashore.
I pulled into one of the parking areas which promised beach access to take a closer look at the map and to take, at least, a peek at the beach and ocean. Well, I’ll be, I thought as I looked closer at the map reciting to myself, of course, the somewhat familiar place names: “Castle Windy”, “Eldora”, and “Turtle Mound”. Now, I can be a little slow on the uptake as they say from time to time and it took me a couple of minutes to realize that I had been here before. That time was almost 20 years ago when I was a graduate student at UCF. My herpetology class came here to look for salt marsh snakes and we were based in a house that the university owned on this property. A very adult and educated, “freakin’ cool”, went through my head as these memories and realizations came together.
It was getting a little late, but I wanted to do two things before I headed home: walk the beach and see if the “UCF house” was still here. Crossing the dune on the elevated crossover, I stopped to look north and south along the beach. There were, maybe, five other souls as far as my eyes could see in both directions. I am not a crowd person and liked this beach quite a bit. I limited my time and distance walked knowing at this point that I would be back and probably soon. Noting the marked sea turtle nests at points along the beach, I hoped that there were… “enough”. Back to the car and, sure enough, there it was, the sign marking the UCF laboratory property. Wow, how cool!
Hey Jodi, I’ve got a place for us to check out!