Adventure Newsletter XIV – The Ghost of Christmas Future
By: John O’
[Ocala, FL] This year, having found myself bereft of friends or family on Christmas Day, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and explore the wilds of Florida. My method is simple: Pull up a bunch of satellite images, find a blank spot on the map, and go there.
I got an early start and soon found myself at a point where the truck could go no further. I got out the mountain bike and descended into a twisted landscape of canyons and craters.
I soon had to abandon the bike as the walls got higher and the terrain got rougher. Each crater seemed deeper than the next and only separated from its neighbor by a relatively thin wall of rock, they were all full of water and required some effort to traverse.
As I hiked, I thought cynically about Christmas and the modern world in general. Every year, more cars, more consumption, greed and climate change. Boy, I thought to myself, “I wonder how all that’s going to end?”
At that point, I realized several things. First, my GPS had quit a while ago. Second, I was lost. And third, if I was ever going to get out it was going to be over the top by climbing a cliff.
Oh, and I also realized that adventure looks a lot more fun on television.
At the top, I felt dizzy from the climb and the sun seemed to have changed its position in the sky, it also felt much hotter than it should be. My compass was still working and I knew I could reach I-75 by heading west.
Imagine my surprise when I found the highway just where I thought it would be, but it looked like I was several hundred years late.
I couldn’t believe it but there they were, impossibility cast from concrete, a line of towering monoliths in the jungle. So this was it, I-75 replaced by an American Stonehenge. I climbed a tree and got on top of one of the smaller ones, … no roads in the forest, no planes in the sky.
With relief I realized it was now time to panic.
After running screaming through the forest for an undetermined amount of time I tripped over my bicycle. The GPS and the sun both seemed back to normal. Had I really been granted a chilling vision of the future as an answer to my question?
Were we to become a fleeting footnote in time through our own actions? More likely I was just a victim of my own imagination and a poor sense of direction.
Still, I felt I had my answer, just like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. We have a choice, it’s not what must be but only what might be. All things considered, there is hope for the future. Happy Holidays.
[Editor's Note: This edition of Adventure Newsletter was a combination of two destinations - maps, additional pictures and links below.]
Old Florida Quarry
Ocala Remnants of the Cross Florida Barge Canal
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