Obviously I skipped more than a week. I'll go back and catch up on days 7-14 when I have more time. Today was our first full day together with all immediate family members present. Dad and I woke up early but JP and Mom were tired and slept awhile. After a nice breakfast, we headed to DeSoto National Monument again (JP has never been there) and hiked through the mangrove forest. We took some pictures, I dissected several things I'd never seen before to determine what was inside (glad Dad had his Swiss army knife) and we all looked for unique shells. Then we drove to the beach and had a picnic, followed by a walk through another mangrove forest/saltwater basin out to Bradenton Bay. We saw several mangrove crabs and even caught one in Dad's hat...after we retrieved it (his hat) from the swamp because he tried to catch a crab and missed. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we were visited by a curious snake. Mom and I were sitting on a bench while I dissected a pod covered with spines. We discovered marble-like nuts inside that we later learned were used for making jewelry...specifically rosaries. Anyway, just as we were getting up, I looked over Mom's shoulder and saw the visiting snake twisted around a branch just above her head. After that, you can believe, we were very cautious about crossing under low-lying branches.
Developed a deep, deep crack in my heel from all the walking at theme parks. Mom washed, medicated and bandaged it for me.
Only edible if you are a bird, Dad
Our visitor, the snake
Mangrove crab...they make burrows in the sand but also climb mangrove trees
The family together at last. Why do I always look bald in these pictures?