The partner and I visited parts of Florida in December. While there, the partner was excited when he came across a guided Swamp Walk tour in one of the parks. And obviously he wanted to give it a try. His enthusiasm brims over for anything that even whispers the word adventure. I, on the other hand, am always overly cautious, extremely scared and anxious about venturing into anything new. This activity though didn’t seem so bad after I read the description. So, there I was, actually looking forward to it, albeit being a tiny bit apprehensive too.
The day arrived. We woke up, got ready and left the campground to get to our destination way before it was time for the walk to start. As soon as we reached the park the partner ran in, hoping and wishing as hard as he could that they would still let us register for the event. We couldn’t signup beforehand because we had no access to the Internet; neither of us owns a smartphone. We were at the mercy of the rangers at this point. And the good people that they are, they let us know that it won’t be an issue as long as they can find extra walking sticks for us. While they went around hunting walking sticks, we went around spotting alligators in the nearby stream. And we gathered near the parking lot alongside the others when it was time for the walk to start.
All of us were given a walking stick. We were told that we would tread in waist deep muddy water in most of our cases (it maybe deeper or less depending on our height). We won’t be able to see where we were stepping all through the two hours. We just needed to follow the ranger’s lead. We were asked to wear footwear that would hold firm to the feet, since there were many patches along the way where our feet could get stuck and our only chances to get our feet out with the shoe was if the shoe were to be tightly held. And that’s where the fun began for me.
I had no proper footwear. I had gone wearing my flats. And that is because I wasn’t expecting to do anything like this during the trip. I had taken with me my brand new pair of running/walking shoes in case we were to go hiking and for other instances I had carried my flats and my slippers. I didn’t want to wear my brand new pair of shoes for this given that I was told over and over that once used for this activity the shoe will pretty much be unusable after. So I was left with wearing my flats. Everyone in the group stared at me as the ranger pointed to my feet and skeptically queried if I would be able to manage. I have no other choice, I let them know. I got ready to bid my shoe goodbye as we began the walk for I may never see them again. The odds were against me… the most likely case was that I would lose them somewhere during the next two long hours.
Except, the two hours went by in a jiffy! We prodded along the muddy trail behind the ranger as she took her time to show and explain things here and there. I was petrified, from time to time. Not knowing where I am stepping, what I am stepping into was unnerving. For someone who is as frightened as I am, every bump on the way, every thick layer of mud that had the power to suck my feet deeper and deeper was daunting. And on top of that, I had to be doubly alert because of my footwear situation. The partner, oh yes, there he was behind me give me a push every now and then, letting me know that I didn’t have to be so conscious, that it wasn’t all that bad. He taught me a trick to hold on to my shoes in case my feet got caught in tricky spots. I followed what he explained every time I did get stuck. Even with all that, I may have overdone the whole I-am-afraid act a bit to the partner’s bother. But, oh well, that’s always bound to happen with me around.
Long story short, we were back at the parking lot before we knew it. Time flew by when we were there. I was left wishing it went on for a little longer. We couldn’t / wouldn’t stop talking about it as we hosed ourselves off. The experience was remarkable. And yes, my flats. They came back with me, safe and sound. There were many surprised / shocked faces that turned to me as I emerged out of the swamp and onto the road. I triumphed in my effort to make sure I brought them back home. And now, here we are, living happily ever after.