Oh deer! A hike through Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve

I wrote recently about the Cedar Key Fishing Pier and the cool, somewhat-isolated, fishing town that it calls home.

I’m sticking with my assertion that kayaking and fishing are the things to do in Cedar Key, but if you’re itching to break in some new trailrunners, there’s a pretty sweet nature preserve nearby.

Thanks to Google Earth for the screen grab

The Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, despite its forgettably bland name, is a rather interesting little slice of old Florida.  The park is mostly, as its name would imply, scrub and sand.  But it offers a great look at a piece of never-developed coastal Florida, a tragically rare thing nowadays.

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Fishing (not catching) at the Cedar Key pier

John Muir, a Scottish-born wilderness advocate and dynamic 19th century beard connoisseur, once went for a long walk.  He walked away from Kentucky (who could blame him?), wound his way through the South and into northern Florida.  He kept walking until he got to Cedar Key, a little fishing village on the Gulf Coast.  In his journal, he wrote:

For nineteen years my vision was bounded by forests, but today, emerging from a multitude of tropical plants, I beheld the Gulf of Mexico stretching away unbounded, except by the sky. What dreams and speculative matter for thought arose as I stood on the strand, gazing out on the burnished, treeless plain!

Needless to say, he stopped walking at Cedar Key.  He hopped a sail boat and took off to Cuba.

John Muir looking into the distance (thanks to PBS for the photo)

But if you go to Cedar Key today, you’ll have much the same experience as Muir.  Of course, it won’t be quite like walking through the woods for 19 years, but there’s no way to get to Cedar Key without driving for an hour and a half through nothing.  So when you finally get there, the Gulf looks all the more impressive.

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