This weekend’s hike was a bit different than our usual. We traded our hiking shoes for sneakers, our hats and gloves for tank tops, our muddy trails for sandy shores, and our gray skies for hot sunshine. Yep…we were in MIAMI.
I have a wonderful friend that did me the solid of planning her wedding in Miami for the end of February. Just when I needed some time away from Ohio the most. (I do love Ohio, but I’d be lying if I said the wintery gray skies didn’t weigh on me after awhile. And hello? Who wouldn’t want to celebrate in Miami?!)
Casey and I planned out the weekend around wedding festivities and found that we had a decent amount of time on Friday before the rehearsal dinner. We drove over the causeway to Virginia Key Beach Park. I wasn’t really sure what to expect other than I knew it’d be surrounded by water. We started walking along a sandy trail that led through dense palms and lush plants. And then another trail branched off to our left and we saw this:
I know, right?! I love mountain views as much as the next person, but any mountain lover can still appreciate a beachfront. Of course, we headed down to the beach and enjoyed the view a little bit closer. This is where we also saw a beautiful woman sunbathing and her boyfriend working out on the rocks. We walked a little further and saw a small photo shoot with a bikini model. I started to feel really out place. One of my favorite things about walking and hiking is that I don’t have to try to look a certain way. I can throw on some clothes, put my hair in a pony tail and walk out the door to enjoy nature in its plain beauty and my plain face.
Luckily I had Casey walking alongside me who was quick to make jokes about both of those scenes. He also started talking about encountering an alligator, making me laugh and feel at ease with myself again. He was on pretty high alert throughout the hike, jumping at any ruffle of leaves while I laughed at him (like any supportive significant other would do). It was interesting to me that while he’s usually the laid back one, it seems our personalities get a little reversed when traveling outside our comfort zones.
We walked around the park for probably about two miles when the sun started really beating down. We’re both still pasty from the winter and not used to warm sunshine lately, so we decided it was time for lunch. For once, I was probably just as excited for this as Casey. We went to Puerto Sagua in South Beach and stuffed our face with potato balls and Cuban sandwiches. (I might be able to look like the bikini model if it wasn’t for potato balls, but I’m completely ok with that. Life isn’t worth living without carbs.) Since we were so stuffed, we decided to take another walk along the beach, hand in hand with our toes in the water. The weather was gorgeous, the water was turquoise, and the company was good. There were people from all walks of life with all types of bodies rocking all kinds of swimwear (or lack thereof). And you know what? More power to every single one of those people. It was another reminder that nature doesn’t give a damn what you look like.