Meet Me in the Mangroves

Socially distanced at Topwater Kayak Outpost- Fort De Soto Park.
Taking a break from the sun under the mangroves. Keeping track of the tide, so I don’t get stuck. It was already a challenge to row over the mangrove oysters.

I’ve been back and forth from KY to FL all summer in between teaching and professional development training.  I was helping my Mom recover from knee replacement surgery, and reminding my Dad of how wonderful a daughter I am.  

My Dad and I in front of the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens.

This visit put me in vacation mode before the 2020-21 school year.  Teachers are reporting virtually on August 10th. Students will start NTI 2.0 (Non-traditional Instruction) on the 25th.  The middle school where I teach is an accelerated school for improvement (ASI). We took an additional week for training on implicit bias, iPad implementation for our one-to-one student device roll-out, and backwards design from essential learning standards. 

Bok Tower Gardens Reflection Pool with Giant Victoria Water Lilies. They are strong enough to hold the weight of a small child. They are grown from a seed the size of a pea.

Everyone complied with the mask mandate as I walked along the newly remodeled St. Petersburg Pier. I was impressed with the use of space. There is a beach area, a grassy lounge spot with giant umbrellas for small group gatherings, restaurants, and fishing.

The new St. Pete Pier. Reopened July 2020.
St.Pete Pier walking and biking path.
Bending Arc, 2020 by Janet Echelman. Over 1.6 million knots. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I canceled my gym membership and removed any thoughts of running races in 2020, or beyond if necessary. Virtual may be an option if something sparks my interest. While on vacay, I worked my arms and core with kayaking.

Clear kayaking to Shell Key Preserve. Didn’t make it to the cathedral mangroves this time due to the low tide.

I have added more power walking as my consistent exercise. My goal is 10,000 steps per day. I walk at a 14:00 or less pace for about 5 miles. The Tampa River Walk was a scenic way to meet my step goal.

Tampa Riverwalk. On the lookout for Tom Brady.
Platt Street overpass with views of downtown Tampa. Every bank you can name has a building downtown.
Laura With Bun, by Jaume Plensa. 23 feet tall cast-iron sculpture.
Tampa Waterfront Arts District. Glazer Children’s Museum.
Minding my business on the Tampa River walk by the Convention Center. I watched the International Dragon Boat Festival races near this location 10 years ago.

The Harry P Leu Gardens was closed at the time I arrived. I found the Mead Botanical Garden about five minutes away on the border of Orlando and Winter Park. I would describe it as an outdoor library for nature.

Meadows in Mead Botanical Garden.
Lovely photo backdrops at Mead Botanical Garden.
Look. My Mom has her own pond in Florida.
There are so many hiking paths to explore at Mead Botanical Garden.

I spent a lot of time at Clearwater, Honeymoon, and Fort De Soto Beaches. Universal Orlando City Walk was the night cap to my vacation. I timed it to miss the daytime crowds. There was plenty of room to social distance from family groups. Temperatures were scanned by the ear for entry.

The most photographed site at Universal Orlando City Walk. Raise your hand if you have a photo in front of this.

I was influenced by an @Lbp_united Instagram post about The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. There was a wait due to limited dining. The text message feature made it convenient to walk around during the queue. Voodoo Donuts was another busy area. I will try them next time.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
The dessert menu was limited to only milkshakes due to the pandemic. The cups are yours to keep.
Thrilla in Vanilla shake for me. Strawberry cheesecake for Him. Tip: Ice Cream flavors can be substituted to make your own.

I have finally joined Instagram as an extension of  Feel free to follow: @kelsielou.c0m

Take care of yourselves and each other. Recharge as needed!

About Kelsie Lou

Teacher on the move.
This entry was posted in Beaches, family, fitness, Kayaking, landmarks, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Meet Me in the Mangroves

  1. SPITLOGIC says:

    Those have got to be the most beautiful milkshakes I’ve ever seen.


  2. I love Universal and was a passholder previously. To keep myself sane, I have tried to spend some time out & about in Tampa and St. Pete since I live here; I’ve found it really easy to keep my distance.


    • Kelsie Lou says:

      I love it down there too! Can’t wait to get back. Florida puts me in a different mindset because the beautiful weather makes you want to be outside more. The only thing is dodging the rain. The lightening is wicked too! I wanted to paddle at Caladesi, but a storm stayed right on the coast and wouldn’t move inland.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Meet Me in the Mangroves — Kelsie Lou’s Blog – THE FIGHT JOURNAL

  4. Yeah, it’s rainy season in Tampa Bay these days. That sucks you didn’t get to visit Honeymoon Island! I plan to go sometime soon to check it out.


  5. Wow! Very pretty views. My mom won’t see me without a mask and a shield on lol. But it is so nice to visit with family and bond during these crazy times.


  6. Msdedeng says:

    Those milkshakes are insane!!!


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