After 24 years of living in Florida, I FINALLY made it to the Keys! Who knew it was only two hours from my casa to Key Largo?
The reasoning for going to the Keys is actually really heartbreaking though. Michelle befriended a guy named Nico at the gym a year ago, who's had a thing for her ever since and she introduced him to our group of friends a few times. Really nice guy; sensitive, spiritual and has a passion for making music. Overall cool dude. However, he lost his best friend last month. who tragically drowned to death and Nico's been quite broken from the death of his friend, which is completely understandable. It really makes you think how fragile life is and how petty our problems are.
So, in efforts to raise his spirit, Michelle planned a 24 hour trip to Key Largo, as an escape to turn Nico's brain off and just shower him with love and laughs as best as we could. Our friend Alee was also in town so she joined, along with Michelle's older brother Sean.
Me, Michi, Nico and Alee. Sean was driving and didn't make it in the pic ha
After getting lost for 45 minutes trying to find Nico's house to pick him up, we hit the road and got to the Keys and found our campsite...which happened to also be a small RV park. Needless to say, it was cozy with a hint of trashy. We were greeted at the entrance of our campground by Susan, the 50-something-year-old alcoholic who ran the camp, gripping a beer in her hand with a super raspy cigarette voice. Susan reminded me of an addict you would see on Intervention, but slightly less disheveled.
We set up our tent and than drove about ten minutes up the road to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The place was packed for good reason; the weather was perfection that day, except for the water. The tide was moving in a specific way, which made the water extremely murky and you could only see a few feet in front of you. Homie doesn't like open water to begin with, so I was freaking the fuck out. But I manned up, slapped on my snorkeling mask and we swam out to a small wreckage that had underwater canons and an anchor. Oh and sea lice. Lots of sea lice...which we all discovered the following day. We saw a jellyfish, a lobster, a few fish and the lochness monster.
Once we finished snorkeling, we tanned on the beach for a little while and than drove back to the camp site around 5. Luckily the clocks had just switched to Spring Forward so we had an extra hour of sunlight to play in. Michelle whipped out a massive thermos filled with sliced fruit and rum and we all started loosening up. Our campsite was literally right on the water with the most beautiful view. A few of the boats were playing music like Pink Floyd and Reggae which totally added to the vibe.
The campground had a pile of canoes and kayaks that were free to use, so we frolicked down to the dock and plopped two canoes into the water for a little late afternoon fun. Michelle and Nico got in one canoe and they were a sloppy mess spending 3/4 of the time in the Mangrove trees just laughing, unable to steer the boat correctly. It was hilarious to watch them fail so miserably. Meanwhile, Alee, Sean and I were cruising in and out of canals like an Olympic row team.
Alee spent about 30 seconds in that kayak before bailing into our canoe
I wish I had my camera on the canoe because we found a random pony and a pig on some private land and they were so cute! Once we exhausted ourselves on the canoes, we docked everything and watched the sun set from the dock. We walked back to the site and started chowing down on some dank pasta that Alee had made that morning, while setting up lights and preparing for Ring of Fire on the table outside our tent, that Susan so graciously lent us.
That game felt like it lasted for a solid two hours and I was so happy once all the cards were flipped. The beer in the center never popped open so that was a bust. Throughout the game I threw back about two solo cups of rum and fruit (I had to get my daily nutrients) but I really didn't feel drunk or tipsy at all...even though I clearly was after looking at the pictures haha
We migrated back to the docks, where we could be a bit louder without worrying about waking anyone on the campground and jumped onto a pontoon boat. Alee and I were talking and laughing about something sexual related while Sean and Nico were at the front of the boat in a really deep conversation about his friend who had passed away. I was almost brought to tears from the comforting things Sean was saying to Nico.
At this point in the night, I was about a 3/10 on the sober scale. (0 being completely sober) That is until someone pulled out a joint and we all took a hit. Michelle and I simultaneously got off the boat a few moments later to find the bathrooms...but as soon as I stood up, the pot hit me hard.
All I remember is standing next to Mich, staring at the entrance of the camp ground and I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland. It was really dark outside with only a few light bulbs illuminating the front office, the stars were super bright and the massive trees made it feel like we were in a strange forest, engulfing us. It almost looked like a portal to me.
Mich and I disregarded everything else in that moment, forgot to go pee, locked arms and went on our own adventure. haha At that point I was at a 9/10 and having a grand ole' time. We left the campground and walked up this dirt road, passing random neighborhoods to our right. After exploring for about 5-10 minutes, I suggested we turn around and head back, just incase a cop happened to drive by on this random, desolate dirt road we were walking on. Luckily we managed to find our way back and reunited with the rest of the gang on the boat.
My high was peaking at that point and I realized I needed to relax somewhere in solitude. Plus Sean was talking about something that was making me freak out, so I got up and went to the tent to let the high simmer down. I was having some weird thoughts, starting with trying to convince myself that I got in the right tent. haha It was because I was in a completely foreign surrounding and I was alone. I heard a car pull up to the tent and I started thinking some Key Largo serial killer was coming to kidnap me haha it sounds so ridiculous now, especially as I write this out, but I was convinced I was being stalked. It felt like being stuck in some cheesy horror movie. Than a flashlight started shining through the tent but all I could see was a shadow which made me even more paranoid.
I began meditating and returned to a relaxed state of mind, which helped me pass out shortly after. I'm thankful I went back to the tent before everyone else because supposedly some drama went down on the boat after I excused myself. The following morning, I found out that Sean got pretty drunk/high and he was saying some things to Nico he shouldn't have. Remarks along the lines of being interested in Michelle and how he better not hurt her, etc. etc. Basically trying to be the tough older brother. Apparently the things that were said really upset Nico and he got off the boat crying. I'm convinced that pot was laced...
Turns out, the flashlight that I thought was my kidnapper was Michelle looking for Nico after he got off the boat. She later found him on the opposite end of the docks and reassured him that Sean was just drunk and being over-protective. The following morning was a little awkward between the two guys but I was more upset that Nico's night was tampered with, after we specifically planned the 24 hours to be his way to escape from any negative emotions.
Besides that minor glitch, the trip was so much fun. There's something about camping that is so relaxing. The lack of electronics while being surrounded in nature is good for the soul.
Much love guys!