I drove to Fort De Soto Park on Mullet Key in May of 2021. I had to pass through three toll booths to get there, plus the park gate where they charged five dollars. I brought lunch so I could stay a long time and get my money’s worth.
There are signs pointing out the ferry access, the snack shops, the kayak rental place, the extensive dog beach, and more. I first stopped at the fort. There is a small, one-room museum there, but I did not enter.
The fort originally consisted of twenty-nine buildings, which are now collapsed, some of them into the sea. It was built shortly after the Spanish-American war in anticipation of future wars, but was never used. The guns are hidden behind a hill and the operators could not see what they were aiming at. Instead, artillery spotters in towers had to telephone the information to them. I expect they must have had to do some very fast trigonometry.
I meandered around the various rooms there. I looked inside the big guns from the outside and I looked outside from inside the fort.
There is a beach nearby, but signs warn not to swim due to dangerous currents – which would make a great band name…
This was an area of many sandpipers, pelicans, and other birds. There were also signs prohibiting climbing on the few rocks there, which sucks all the fun out of having rocks. In New England, the whole point of going to the beach is to crawl around on the rocks and look in between for crabs and stuff. What good are rocks otherwise? To throw at cars?
I eventually drove to the western end of the island and walked some short trails. There were ferns and a pine needle carpet. It was hot, but not muggy, and no insects bothered me. I just walked slowly and enjoyed the quiet.
Soon I came to an area where the trees were all topless. Were they having a topless convention? Was I welcome here? I heard a lot of screeching, but this turned out to be a trio of green parrots.
Moving on, I stopped at a picnic area for lunch by a cove where waves from different directions interacted in complex ways. A lot of debris had gathered in one end.
There were trails on the other side of the cove too. These led to mangroves and small beaches and I could see beach spots beyond totally inaccessible by land as far as I could tell. I also found more signs of human construction in the roots of this tree:
I did visit the beach for a short time, but I’m not a beach person. The sand is too bright to look at, too hard to walk through, the water is too wavy to swim in, and sitting is too boring. When I got home, I found that I had inexplicably sunburned in places that had been well-lotioned and covered at least part of the time. I tend to sunburn even when under a roof, so I should probably stop being surprised at this point. Here’s some other stuff I saw:
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.