It's scary for me to think about how long I've been coming to this place called Guana. My parents took us surf fishing along the adjoining beach when I was pretty little ... so it's tempting to say I've been coming here for my whole life.
In that time Guana has changed from a vast private holding to a state park and finally to a special status national preserve.
Guana is some of the finest real estate in the peninsula and would be covered from shore to shore in concrete or ugh ... golf courses like Sawgrass, if not for it's protected status. It includes high ground on the beach, high ground adjacent to an estuary, and high ground along the intracoastal waterway to the west.
The view above is looking northish at Guana Lake, which is a dammed tidal river. North of the dam the brackish lake is a haven for waterfowl and all sorts of marshy critters.
On the intracoastal side, broad (not by my county standards!) marshes are broken by beaches of shelly sand and twisty tidal creeks.
Trails run through the maritime hardwood forest to the intracoastal where you can fish, poke around, or picnic.
Guana shows evidence of human use from the prehistoric to the historic to the present. Above is a coquina lined well that sits near the western shore.
As a kid, I was extremely lucky to be invited along with my Uncle Richard and my cousins on a special once a year camping trip in Guana. The land was privately owned then and the National Guard Dads had worked out an arrangement to camp there one weekend a year with their sons.
My cousins, friends, and I would explore, eat, have hickory nut battles, chase wild hogs, ... it was magic.
The trip was always at the time of year when the huge Black Drum were present in the intracoastal and fishing for them at night was a highlight of the trip. Their drumming was so loud that the bottom of Uncle Richard's skiff would vibrate and you could hear them plain as day.
I even remember lying on the floor of the tent, my ear to the ground, trying to fall asleep after so much fun and hearing the drumming through the soil. The shore was only a few yards away and I wonder now if I was dreaming it and remember it as reality, or if the sound really did carry up the slope to my ten year old ears.
It doesn't really matter if I dreamt it or it was real, those camping trip memories are magic and with magic, anything is possible.