Sunday, February 5, 2017

DuPuis WMA

From Orlando we returned to I95 and flew further south, eventually landing at the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area in Indiantown. The area was large and the campsites unmarked, so we chose a spot in the middle of a field. A man and a little girl rode by on bicycles, and he stopped to tell us that his covy of trucks and trailers would be leaving that night, so if we wanted his tree-filled space with a picnic table and a water spigot, we'd be welcome.

They decided to stay another night, but we set up next to them anyway, then went to explore. The place was really nice, nicer than many campgrounds I've paid to stay in, and it cost nothing.

We had turned off the lights and were on our way to sleep when the generator belonging to our neighbor began to malfunction. Its steady hum became a pulsing rhythm like ocean waves. After a few minutes of this, the door to the camper opened and closed, and then banging noises issued from the vicinity of the generator. The cycling noise changed but didn't even out. A few more minutes passed, and then it started to get quieter, as though someone had picked it up and carried it off.

"Are you ready to kill me over that generator?" we heard.

"Us?" I asked. "Don't worry about it. We're having a good laugh."

The next day we rode the 25 miles east into Stuart, where we found another adorable beachside town and some excellent pizza. The night had been cold, down in the 30s, but the day jumped quickly into the high 70s.

We discussed exploring Indiantown next, but I missed the turn on the way back to camp. Rather than go back, I opted to continue west and try to find Lake Okeechobee. We passed through Port Mayaca, turned around in Canal Point, and pulled off at the only lake access I'd seen.

Okeechobee is enormous, appearing more like an ocean than a lake, as the far bank is beyond the horizon. I lay in the grass and enjoyed the sun while Rogue bounced around taking pictures.

Back at camp, we asked where our neighbor had gotten his firewood. He told us there was a large pile of deadwood past the gate around the corner of the bathhouse, so off we went. We collected several armloads of dead palmetto trees and discovered to our great joy that they burned with enthusiasm. Maybe half an hour later, the neighbor offered us extra wood that he'd retrieved with his chainsaw, and we were set for both that night and the next.

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