It was the power of suggestion that got me. When I got here to Fort DeSoto campgrounds I told the ranger that I’d seen pictures of owls and eagles that were taken here in the park. He suggested that my best bet for either bird would be the Arrowhead area. Take the nature trails he said, so I headed there the next day. A self-guiding nature trail, what could possibly go wrong with that, I asked myself. And there were lots of signs, signs announcing what flora you might be seeing, like the long needled pine trees who’s needles were carpeting the trail I was on. Or the Cabbage palms that seemed to be everywhere. I wanted to see the Prickly Pear cactus because I liked the name and the flower, but didn’t notice any cactus anywhere.
Signs saying ‘trail’, and with an arrow, pointed the way. One of the last signs I noticed was one announcing that the fauna lining the trail at that point was mostly Poison Ivy! Not good news. But still I walked, and walked, and then realized that I hadn’t seen any signs for a long while. No signs announcing the wildlife or plants, and most alarming, no signs pointing the way. And it was about then that I realized that my left leg was really itchy. So I scratched, and walked some more, and the trail seemed to be becoming narrower, and narrower still.
I then decided that maybe retracing my steps was probably a good idea. I saw no eagles, or owls, or people, on the walk, and eventually my leg stopped itching. But as I drove away I did finally find the water and stopped for pictures.
On the way back to the campgrounds I decided that I should stop at North Beach. I had stopped there for the sunset on the first night here, and found pounding surf and a fishing pier. But North Beach had been named one of the best beaches in the country more than once, and it got top honors a couple of years ago. So I wanted to see the actual beach that had inspired such rave reviews. But in this cold weather it was empty. Totally empty. I would have loved to have seen rows of colorful umbrellas, and children chasing the waves in and out. If I had seen them I might have wished to see less people, wished to see the scene as nature had created it. I will visit again another time, and maybe the weather will be warmer. Beach weather. That would be nice.