We had the chance to explore the Natural Bridge Caverns just north of San Antonio, Texas – and we were delighted! They were beautiful! The caverns had towering ceilings covered in stalactites, bacon ribbons, and other amazing formations! The Natural Bridge Caverns are different from many other caverns in that the farther we walked into the cavern, the warmer it got! If you have any experience with caves and caverns, you are aware that they usually get cooler as you walk further into the cave. Our tour guide explained to us that Natural Bridge Caverns was considered a ‘living’ cavern because they installed doors to maintain the temperature and humidity. Whereas most other caverns, have a vent hole that allowed an air current to pass through it thereby cooling the overall temperature.
Caves are so cool to explore! It is amazing to think that one drop of water over hundreds and thousands of years can create such magnificent sculptures of art that look so strong but are in reality so fragile.
Recently we (my husband and I) were able to Kayak the Laguna Madre in Port Mansfield, Texas. It was – what I would consider – a very easy kayaking trip. It was easy to put in right from the shore. The waves were very calm and gentle with an occasional splash over the tip of the kayak. The water was also very shallow, perhaps 2-feet deep about 500-feet from the shore. You could stand up and walk back to shore. I would recommend this trip for a beginner kayaker because of its simplicity and the shallow water.
This past weekend was a great time to kayak! The sun was nice and toasty, the waves on the lake were not to high, there was minimal wind. Perfect day!
We packed some water and snacks, loaded up the kayaks and off we went to Lake Arlington, one of the local lakes that is popular for kayaking as well as fishing.
We arrived at the lake, unloaded and after deciding which direction that we wanted to go in, we set off! The waves were not to high for a lake but there were still waves which were about a foot high or so. Just high enough to splash over the front tip of the kayak and keep us cool from the heat of the sun reflecting off the water.
Not in a big hurry, just out for a leisure paddle day, we made our way slowly across the lake. A short distance from the dock we encountered a small head wind which taxed our arms and made us rather tired. Several times on our journey across we had to stop several times to rest our achy arms and just float for a minute or two. Then we were back at it, paddling towards a quite little cove on the other side of the lake.
As we neared the cove the head wind subsided and the waves calmed down. As we entered the cove we were greeted with views of egrets, great herons, turtles and fish jumping. Sounds very picturesque, right? It really was, with the exception of all the garbage that was also there.
I could not believe the amount of garbage that covered the shore line of this picturesque cove! There was new garbage that had been freshly washed up and there was garbage that was very evident that had been there for quite some time partially buried in the muddy earth. Lets be clear, this is not garbage that just blew in from the wind traveling on the waves of the lake. Yes, I am talking about that type but I am also talking about garbage that had to have been dumped there, such as, tires, shopping carts, steel door and such in addition to plastic bottles, coolers, plastic barrels, food wrappers, ect.
Our excitement level was so high that morning anticipating the adventure of finding picturesque coves that you could not tell if someone else had been there before you or not and hoping to see wildlife. It became so very disappointing and disgusting to see all the beauty of the water tainted by the continuing streams of trash and shore birds that carefully picked their way through it searching for fish.
I see things like this and it makes me so angry! What are people thinking when they drop trash, not bio-degradable organic products, off the side of their boat or throw it out their car windows or just leave it on the side-walk. Why? WHY? Why do people do that? Why do some people not take responsibility for their actions and pick up their trash, clean up after themselves? Every year cities organize clean-up days to help combat this nasty habit that some humans have. If every person took responsibility for their own trash and carry it out with them if they are visiting the wilds of Mother Nature and make sure that it is deposited in the appropriate trash receptacle cities would not have to organize clean-ups once a year.
If we quite polluting our waters and land perhaps we would see a reversal in the toxicity of fish, in deaths of birds and deformity of amphibians. What will it take for us, humans, to stop destroying this planet that we live on, the only planet we have. Is this really the legacy that we want to pass on and instill in our children? Don’t think twice about where that garbage goes when you drop it from your hands, it just disappears magically. We don’t know why the ozone is depleting, oceans are warming, or we are having such erratic weather patterns, right? Are we really so ignorant that we can not see that we are creating these issues, killing our planet, or just arrogant?
I challenge everyone, every man, woman and child, to start taking responsibility for themselves and their own trash. I am not saying that you have to be a “rubbish radical”, although if more people were it would be very beneficial for ourselves and for our planet. I am saying, start by taking one more step over what you currently do to help clean up this place we, you, live in.
I love to hunt for treasures, all kinds of treasures both big and small, new and old. It is the hunt for that singularly unique item to fill the vacant spot on the wall, or that tool that was so needed in day to day life of yesteryears which has been replaced by new technology or totally forgotten about all together that I love and crave.
We found some great markets in Great Britain when we were there this last time! We discovered antique markets in Lewes, Brighton and London, charity shops in every town both large and small, farmers markets, street markets on what seemed like every corner in London throughout all of its numerous neighborhoods, we even managed to find an architectural salvage yard in Glastonbury!
We saw so many unique and fun treasures! We saw oriental tea sets with images of women hidden in the bottom of the cups that you could only see when you held the cup up to a light, we saw intricate hand crocheted tablecloths, gymnastic equipment from the 1950’s, sextants, oil paintings, milled stone grinders and canon balls. There was so much to see!
Portobello Road Market in London’s Notting Hill area of Kensington has become very popular and has been featured in many films, songs and novels throughout the decades, the most popular movies being Disney’s Bednobs and Broomsticks and the 1999 movie Notting Hill staring Julia Roberts and Huge Grant. The entire street was filled with vendors, stalls and booths selling everything from second hand clothes, antiques, fruits and baked goods. A trip to Portobello Road could definitely be an all day affair and is well worth putting on your calendar to visit with so much to see!
Camden Market is another fabulous market located in London in the Camden Town area that you can take the Camden Town, Chalk Farm or Mornington Crescent tube stations to. I would put this market high on the list to see! There were so many retail shops and eclectic vendors and unique restaurants and food vendors there we had to spend two days there and we still did not see everything! Some of the vendors included leather goods, clothing, jewelry, touristy knick-knacks, goth shops, and more. We had lunch in a African themed restaurant to give our feet a break and to get a break from the crowds.
Lewes market located in East Sussex is a cute market town steeped with history dating as far back as the Romans and Saxons. In addition to a great antique flea market that has very reasonable pricing there are also three areas of interest to those who like to go out and explore nature, Lewes Downs, Lewes Brooks and Southerham Works Pit. Both Lewes Downs and Lewes Brooks are great places to look for invertebrates such as snails, water beetles and salamanders.
There were so many more markets that we did not go to in so many of the towns and cities that we visited just because we ran out of time. I hope that as you have read this that it has awakened in you the adventurous spirit of exploring either near or far for your own hidden treasures.