Big Pine Key, FL – March 5, 2013
Four years ago, my friend Jonathan and I tried to paddle from Key Largo to Key West on a pair of sit-on-top kayaks. It took us four days to reach Seven Mile Bridge halfway down the keys. We looked at it on the map, got a hotel room, and quit the next day.
That was the only overnight kayaking trip I’d gone on before I started planning this one. We didn’t know what we were doing. Neither of us had paddled much. We didn’t have proper boats, just sit-on-tops that we tied camping gear to with bungee cords and some food we threw together after ten minutes in a grocery store. We spent two of the four nights in hotel rooms, we ate at restaurants and gas stations near beaches, and we couldn’t get across Seven Mile Bridge until we strapped the boats to a car and drove the rest of the way down.
Seven miles looks a lot different after 4,000. Now, seven miles is just a few hundred cement slabs strung out on pylons. Seven miles is just two hours. Seven miles is just seven miles closer to Key West.