Angle to Key West: The Southernmost Point (3/7)

Southernmost Point

Ballast Key, FL – March 7, 2013

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Sad the trip is almost over? Me too, but I’m sure the next adventure is coming soon. If you want to keep up to date, follow the blog via email (look for the link on the right hand side or bottom of every page), facebook, or twitter and you’ll know as soon as I’m lost again.

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The end came quick, but not in Key West, not next to the crowds gathered by the red and black monument that people like to call the Southernmost Point, not at the crowded beaches of Fort Taylor packed with bronze skin and sun, not on Duval Street lined with bars, but beyond, past sunsets at Mallory Square, past cruise ships docked like skyscrapers, past the edge of civilization, far off, off through a sea of blue to a string of islands hanging in the ocean.

Key West is not the southernmost point. That is a lie, a fabrication, a gimmick of Conch paint and pride. Any map knows the truth. There’s an island to the south, a private key with a private house. Key West is a place to take photos and send postcards, a good enough spot that isn’t good enough, not after 4,000 miles. This trip has never been about being easy.

But the end still came quick.

It didn’t feel like the end. It felt like another island, another ocean, another moment in a long string of moments that reach back along the Gulf Coast, snake through the streets of New Orleans, and slide up the Mississippi past Memphis, St. Louis, and the Twin Cities, past the swamps of the Savanna Portage, the blue sea of Superior, and the granite rocks of the Boundary Waters, back to that chunk of land hanging on the Canadian border, back to the Northwest Angle.

This was all ideas once, scribbled possibilities, ink on a page.

“If I could get to Lake Superior,” I thought. “If I could get to the Mississippi River. If I could get the Gulf of Mexico.”

Now it’s all memories, memories and seventeen feet of yellow plastic against the last ten miles, against the deep blue sea, against waves and sunlight and islands rising on the horizon. Ten miles. Ten straight miles. Ten miles shooting like an arrow.

Ten miles that disappeared in a moment.

And it’s over.

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30 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: The Southernmost Point (3/7)

  1. Congrats once again… I have enjoyed following along as you lived your adventure. Well done my brother. See you out on the trail somewhere, WB

  2. Life is a journey, not a destination…….. and this was a most excellent journey! Next! 🙂 Congratulations and I, with lots of other folks, enjoyed reading your blog each day! 🙂

  3. Superb picture. Congratulations and thanks D for sharing thoughts and memories and inspiring us on this journey. Remember, in Key West is never over until the tan lady takes you for a Mojito down Duval Street. I know the next chapter is real soon.

  4. Congratulations and thanks for touching and changing the lives of so many of us on your journey. I’m sure most of us just sit by our computer every day in awe of your strength and dedication to a worthwhile accomplishment. We’ll be standing by awaiting your next adventure.

  5. Well done and beautifully narrated! Congratulations. Thanks for including all of us in your adventure.

  6. You are inspiring and a very good adventure writer! Wished I could have met up with you when you passed through the Twin Cities…..maybe next time as you are traversing the 45th parallel or something. Write the book!

  7. Dan, Simply awesome. I had a lot of fun reading your posts, and I look forward to your next adventure. I am glad that I had a chance to meet you in South Bend. Come visit us in NYC. All the best, Phil

  8. Congrats Out of Order on an amazing journey! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your journal. After I finished reading them I forwarded them to my son Christopher (Rocham), who got me interested in your journey to begin with. Once again congratulations!

  9. I’ve enjoyed every entry. Thank you for doing it and for taking us along for the ride. If you ever get hungry for strawberries…Congratulations, Slow Leak.

  10. Thats an unbelievable accomplishment… way to go thats a long way from our campsite on the upper Mississippi…Cheers!

  11. Congratulations! I looked forward to reading every entry, celebrated the laughter and joy, and even the tears, and cannot wait until your next adventure.

  12. Dear Daniel, Your Mom is probably the only person that worried about you more than I did.
    I’d like to meet her some day, I can’t imagine how proud she is of you.
    Keep us, in Prescott Wi in the loop.
    Coni from Prescott Insurance and me, her Mom, so badly wanted to be in Key west to welcome you there.. Your stories will never be forgotten. Love you bunches,Sally

  13. Silly, perhaps, but I cried for you when I read this – we Irish are always sloppy at endings!

    Thank you for sharing your adventures, and your education, and most of all, the personalness of your life with those of us who followed you on your journey. I am richer for the experience and the enlightenment. And that is quite a gift to give to anyone, my friend!

    Godspeed as you travel on, in whatever direction and toward whatever challenges. I am so very glad I had the privilege of sharing my tiny part of your trip.

    What a gift the lessons and the learning have been, indeed!!!

    Xooxoxxo Mel

  14. it’s about time! 😉
    ps. i hear crawling backwards from miami to los angeles has never ever been done before.

  15. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful gifts of adventure and the written word with the world at large! I’ve been lurking on your Predictably Lost blog for nearly your entire kayak adventure and, living a mere 30 miles to the West of LaCrosse, WI and the Mississippi River, was immediately interested in this grand adventure.

    Congratulations to you for the perseverance to make it through this long journey (I was getting worried for you as the fall began to close in around you and you weren’t out of the “danger zone” yet) and here’s to hoping your next adventure is as rewarding, exciting and thrilling for you as it will be for the rest of us living it through your words!

  16. Congratulations and thanks for sharing everything over the last several months. I’m a little sad though at the thought of no more morning stories with which to start my day…at least until your next adventure! Let me know when you get to SF again.

  17. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have loved following your amazing adventures and some really terrific writing! Congrats on a life well lived! Looking forward to sharing more of your travels!

  18. Well done my friend, well done!! Hope I get to meet you next time you are in Tally town. Safe trip home and may your waves always bring you home!! Carrie Shearer

    Sent from my iPhone

  19. Congratulations on finishing the trip although I am sure it is bittersweet……thank you for allowing us to follow you every day…..my friend told me about you when you were in Gulfport, FL……she met you and was very impressed as am I………….The best of luck to you in your next adventure!

  20. Ack. What am I supposed to do now?! Goddamn, you’re a good writer. I got no pride. I’ll clamor for more.

    And I’m digging into planning my own mini expedition….Grand Marais to Duluth. Start date: June 28.

  21. Congratulations, Daniel, and thank you so much for sharing this amazing adventure with us. You have been a true inspiration. We look forward to a) the book, and b) your next adventure. Take care.

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