We drove on to the gate and arrived just after opening time. The drive in is over grassy, rocky terrain, but our AWD vehicle did fine. We parked beneath a tree and suited up with our sun protective clothing, camelback packs and hiking boots. This might be a bit of overkill for a stroll along a sun-dappled forest path, but we're trying to break in the shoes for vacation this summer.
There is a little bridge off to the left as you walk toward the beach. This is the beginning of the path to the observation tower, so off we went. This is supposed to be exercise for me, but I take so many photos, I'm not sure that I ever work up a legitimate sweat, but hey, it beats laying on my backside putting out blog posts!!!
|Lichen growing on a fallen log|
We walked along the soft, sandy pathway, littered with little white flowers. I felt a little bit like I was in a scene from the Wizard of OZ!
There was a high thicket of growth between the path and the beach, but every so often there was an outlet that led onto the beach. Suddenly it was there, and it seemed impossible to resist walking toward the light...
|We could see a sailboat offshore. These people were at our Happy Hour last night!|
Eventually we came to the observation tower that brought us here. While driving along a few days ago, we could see it from the road, and turned to come find it. That's how we found this place! So of course it was the object of our hike today. As we climbed the steps, I couldn't help but look closely at the support structure. We've had over 2,000 earthquakes, including the strongest in more than 100 years!!!, in the past two weeks. But the tower looked like it was well built, and in surprisingly good condition. So, up we went to enjoy the view and get a lay of the land!
|The tower stands in the center of the wetlands, or in Spanish, Humedal|
|Looking back to the right you can see the dead branches where there is a swamp.|
|Looking left, we found that we had quite a bit of pathway to go!|
|More beach... and more beach...|
|Very LARGE Palm leaf!|
|I think this spider has been affected by the earthquakes!|
When we reached the end of the pathway, we walked out onto the beach again, and spoke to a gentleman who was walking with his little dog. He told us that you can actually walk on this beach, uninterrupted, until you reach Punta Tuna Lighthouse. The spot where we are parked also has a pathway leading through the palms that ends at the Lighthouse, so if we wanted, we could do the full loop. Henry (the man) said that it takes about an hour and a half to do the whole thing. I would imagine that is IF you don't stop to take a photo of every flower and bug along the way!
|A tree, wrapping its roots around another tree!|
|Norte, sur, este y oeste|
|The views from Punta Tuna are always stunning!|
|I have MANY photos of these doors...|
|If you look hard, you can see Vieques today! And that beach is where we were standing just a while ago!|
|Getting ready for takeoff!|
|I LOVE Puerto Ricans!!|
So after a full morning of exploring new places and old, and just generally enjoying our beautiful island, we drove the 30 minutes back to our place after dropping the kids off. For sure, the Punta Tuna Wetland Reserve has made it onto our hiking-for-exercise list!
|Playa Los Bohios with Punta Tuna Lighthouse in the distance.|