Monday, September 14, 2009

The Watery Heart of Florida

My friend and I made another and this time slower trip down to West Palm Beach. I'm happy to say that the Atlantic Ocean continues to surge ashore in Palm Beach County. The Gulf of Mexico still flows under the magnificent Sunshine Skyway bridge into Tampa Bay.

Lake Okeechobee I'm not so sure about. In two trips, we have yet to glimpse the full expanse of the 730 square mile lake. Surrounded by a 30 foot dike after a devastating 1928 hurricane, the Lake lies hidden from view for most of its circumference.

We stopped at the Clewiston boat launch and climbed to the levee's top, expecting to see miles and miles of big water. No luck, the view was blocked by huge grassy islands dredged up by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Driving home Sunday, we passed through the town of Okeechobee on the Lake's north shore. Friends said the Lake's vastness could be enjoyed from the town fishing pier. Lake Okeechobee is a natural wonder of Florida and headwaters for the mysterious River of Grass, the Everglades. The only mystery we found was a total lack of directions or advertisements for the Lake.

After driving up and down country roads, we gave up and continued west into the flat belly of Florida. Once home, Google Maps informed me that we were only two turns away from the road to the Lake. The big watery heart of the state lies contained, waiting for our return or perhaps a Catagory 5 visitor.

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