Saturday, August 09, 2014

Virtual Tour - US 1: Key Largo

Key Largo -- The Large Key -- is the largest of the many islands extending from the "mainland" of Florida.  In an attempt to avoid any law suits for invasion of privacy, I borrowed this shot from Google Earth.  It may include some private land, but I don't think it is identifiable.  I call it a "sneak peek" of the Gulf.  It is a peek over a fence at the end of a cul de sac.  This view of houses, docks and boats is typical on Key Largo. The photo is a composite, copyrighted by Google and the US Department of State.

This is a "far cry" from my one visit to the keys many years ago!  Our visit was in a station wagon pulling a borrowed (or rented) popup camper.  We stayed in a campground on a smaller key along US 1 where the ground water tasted strongly of sulfur.  It may have looked something like this, Calusa Campground in Key Largo.  Again, over the fence, courtesy of Google Earth.

Between Key Largo and the mainland are scores, if not hundreds, of be tiny islands, most of which are uninhabited. Each island is a "key" contributing to probably over half of the more famous string that are connected by US 1.  Other islands along the west coast of Florida are also designated as "keys."  According to Meriam Webster Dictionary this homograph is derived from the a native language spoken by the Taino, a Caribbean people.  They Spanish spelled in "cayo," which the English co-opted.  It may have once been pronounced as if rhyming with "they" or "grey."  In fact, the alternate spelling of "cay" is also pronounced "kee"!  The English language cannot be "trusted."

Since 1947 all the Keys of Florida south of the Everglades (the vast majority of the islands called "keys") have been part of the Everglades National Park.  As such, only the largest of the islands are populated.  Some of the islands are "privately owned," but I strongly suspect that they are also quite regulated.  It's a shame that, for the sake of a subspecies here or there the "last frontier" of South Florida is practically 'off limits.'

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