Florida 2018 - Day 3

Joel’s Journal - February 6, 2018 - Volume 3 - Entry #37


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Now, as I woke up on the third day of vacation, the dust from the hustle of travel and the constant moving around had completely settled, and my mind was able to try and turn back to normal things. 

However, in an unfamiliar place, those normal things can sometimes be hard to come by. 

As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that I’m a man of several dichotomies. 

I love the constant change and new experiences that come with travel, but I’m a man that thrives on routine. 

I love the city and living in downtown Toronto, but there’s another part of me that loves to escape into the wilds of Algonquin Park. 

For the longest time, I always thought you had to choose one or the other. You either love to travel or you love to stay in the same place, you either love the city or the woods, you love chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream (neither for me thanks) but you get the picture. 

But I’ve started to accept that when it comes to what you like, you like what you like, and if those things clash a little bit, well, that just makes life a little more interesting doesn’t it?

When I woke up on the third morning, I tried to grab a little bit of normalcy, and after getting a cup of coffee, I returned to the keyboard and the novel for the first time in a couple days. 

Without a timeline and no work to pull me away, I was able to get a couple thousand words in before I closed the laptop and turned my attention to the sunshine outside. 

There were no big plans for the day, we’d already scheduled an airboat trip for tomorrow, so today was a day to just take it easy and enjoy the resort. 

As everyone was around the condo doing their own thing, either reading, watching TV or what-have-you, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to explore the large North Village of Orange Lake. 


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The roads don’t seem to follow any real pattern, simply winding between the condo complexes and golf courses. I didn’t pay much attention to where I was going, just like my walk to the pool yesterday, I let my feet carry me and I glanced around for anything interesting to snap. 

I have a love affair with all the different types of palm trees that grow in the tropical climates. So, every trip I’m always snapping a plethora of palm tree pictures. 

I spotted a couple Cattle Egrets picking away in a people’s gardens, but without my zoom lens they were too far away. I walked across the edges of a pair of the golf courses, studying the smooth green of the fairway and the glowing white sand in the sand traps, all of it undisturbed and raked into neat lines. 


As I walked, the place felt kind of eerie, as I moved around for about 15 minutes without seeing a single person that was not a maintenance worker or employee of Orange Lake. I figured it was technically Florida’s winter and perhaps many people didn’t come during this time of year. Yet, the hot sun and 27C temperatures weren’t bothering me any. 

After doing a lap of the entire North Village, I returned to the condo as Kyle and Kelly were getting ready for a walk of their own. So, I went for Lap 2 around the village with them. We spotted another pair of Sandhill Cranes on one of the golf courses and I stopped to snap a couple pictures. 

When I spotted my first two the day we arrived, I went online and read a little about these tall, beautiful birds. 

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They’re population numbers are generally good across their breeding areas, although some populations in Mississippi and Cuba are listed as endangered. The birds mate for life, which can be for as long as 20 years (explaining while all the birds we’ve seen have been in pairs), and perhaps most fascinating, when born, the Crane chicks leave the nest within EIGHT HOURS, and are already able to swim. Pretty cool. 

After a quick lunch at the condo, the rest of the afternoon was spent at the pool. I dug a little bit further into Black Mass, the story of Whitey Bulger and the FBI (the book that the same-titled movie is based on), and took a long nap with my baseball cap pulled low. 

When I woke, my muscles felt loose, relaxed and infused with Vitamin D, something my body has been sorely lacking in the doldrums of winter up north. 

All in all, it was a typical day on vacation. A day where nothing really productive happens, but you’re perfectly okay with that. Perhaps you can call it a mental health day, you may not produce much in terms of work, but the work being done in your brain while you’re at rest makes it all worth it.

 The last thing I’ll mention is the sunset. 

While playing cards with my Dad and brothers out on the screened-in patio, I turned to see the Florida skyline alit with pink, slowly smouldering into burning orange hues.

I paused the game, snatched my camera and ran out onto the edge of the golf course behind our condo to get some shots through the palm groves. 

I think they turned out pretty great, and it was a perfect way to top off yet another day in Florida. 

Until tomorrow, 

J.J.W. 

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Joel Wittnebel