July 23, 2017

My goal to complete the Florida State Parking Journey was to end at Hontoon Island. I was going to have a giant party to celebrate this accomplishment and my birthday but I woke up one day and decided against the party. I was going to just go to the park after work on my actually birthday and end this adventure watching the sunset on the same day I begin one year before! Due to an amazing gift that Sherri and Junior got me – tickets to watch my O’s play in Tampa, that ending was changed as well. Instead, I knew I was going to have to go to Hontoon the morning of the 23rd before heading to St. Lucie Inlet, the last park on my list.

George came over first thing in the morning and loaded up the kayak that Suzanne let me borrow and we headed to Hontoon Island. We took the ferry over, walked around a bit, I told him some tidbits about the park and then we headed down to St. Lucie Inlet!

The ride was interesting because George was also new to this outdoors stuff and his new kayak was giving us problems most of the way down. We had to stop a couple of times to secure it. When we arrived, we were greeted by rain and my reaction was less than positive. This was my 3rd attempt to get to that park and my last chance to meet my goal. My emotions were all over the place. Finally, the rain stopped and George and I took off. We kayaked across and made it to the park in no time. There was a very nice boardwalk that led to the beach. When I put my foot on the sand and looked out I stopped and took a huge breath. I DID IT! I went to all 161 Florida State Parks in less than 365 days! I sure did get my monies worth out of that annual pass. What a journey this has been. Success, failure, pushing myself past fear, being one with nature, trying new things, laughing, crying, meeting so many new and wonderful people and getting to share this experience with a few friends and family! WOW! My life has been altered in such a positive way. What an amazing state I live in.

I just want to thank everyone that helped me make this crazy goal a reality! I really could NOT have done this without the outstanding support system I have in my life. I love you all! You know who you are!