Marathon Key

Feb. 9, 2012     We’re down in Marathon Key, again.  Alan is taking a workshop with Tony Couch, a widely renowned watercolor instructor and author of three books on watercolor techniques. 

Staying at Knights Key RV Park, just north of the 7-mile bridge, allows for beautiful sunset views from the beach a short walk from “home.”  Of course, one of our favorite things to do in the Keys is eating.  But then again, I have to admit that is always one of our favorite things to do.  In the few days we have been here, we have already indulged in fresh tuna, stone crab and yellow tail snapper.

Key Deer
Torrential rains greeted us, and the showers continued for a couple of days, but now the rains have subsided and I’ve been venturing out.  Luckily, Alan's art workshop is not a plien air affair.  The Key Deer Wildlife Refuge is located about 20 miles away on Big Pine Key.  After stopping by the Visitor’s Center to get the scoop, I went out exploring the Refuge.  Sighting a deer down a path, I pulled off the side of the road to attempt to get a few photos.  Several of the small deer walked out of the heavily treed area posing for pictures.  One of the smaller deer came so close, I had back up to get a picture.  The tiny deer are roughly the size of a large dog.  Another part of the refuge provided a close overview area for alligators and a number of birds.

Pigeon Key
Another nearby attraction is Pigeon Key.  This 5-acre island is a part of   Florida’s history.  In the early 1900’s, Henry Flagler decided to build the Key West extension for the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad line.  At that time, the FEC ran from St. Augustine to Homestead.  The extension was intended for commercial use.  The idea behind the railway was to transport goods brought into Key West (from the west via the Panama Canal) up to the East Coast.  Pigeon Key was one of several places along the new railway line established to house the workmen.  As many as 450 men lived and worked on the tiny island at the height of construction.  A few of the original “conch” buildings are still standing.  Conch construction buildings are designed to weather hurricanes.  They have obviously done exactly that, having seen countless hurricanes over the past hundred plus years.
Brown Pelicans hanging out on the Mangroves

Gators at the Key Deer Refuge

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