R & R, Nature and Nurture, on Sanibel

Not every vacation can be a jungle adventure in the Amazon. Sometimes, a traveler just needs to get away and for the trip to be unthinkingly stress-free.  For a quick escape, I tend to choose Florida. It’s all too easy to buy a plane ticket on a site like CheapOair and then head south at the earliest possible moment.

Escape back to nature at Bailey Tract on Sanibel Island, Fla. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Escape back to nature at Bailey Tract on Sanibel Island, Fla.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The only teensy problem is that when I’m seeking a little rest and relaxation, one of those Rs is a bit more attainable than the other. I can rest all the while, preferably with a book.  Inevitably, I start feeling lazy on the beach, I get more sluggish, I fry in the sun. Then the fretting sets in. Shouldn’t I be doing more?

Level paths make for an easy hike at Bailey Tract, Sanibel, Fla. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Level paths make for an easy hike at Bailey Tract, Sanibel, Fla.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The best way to get out of my head is to do something. After kicking back for a bit at the Holiday Inn Sanibel Island Beach Resort, I seek out some semblance of rugged adventure. Taking a break from the beach, I head to Bailey Tract, a part of the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, on nearby Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel.

Immediately, I’m transformed, shifting from a lightweight beach vacay to a relatively tourist-free bit of calm and nature on level hiking trails. I begin to wonder how fast alligators can run. A sly one lets me know he’s there with a not-so-subtle wide-mouthed yawn. “Don’t try anything, sister,” I’m sure he is saying.

My, what big jaws you have. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

My, what big jaws you have.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Message received. This is the alligator’s space and I’m just an interloper in his habitat.  I’ll take a bit of nature’s tranquility with me, though, before heading back to the tourists, the cocktails, and the beckoning beach.

—Lori Tripoli

Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

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