Tag Archives: cemetery

Kayaking on the Gulf Coast

Kayaking on the Gulf Coast

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

We only stayed in Cedar Key, Florida, for a week, but we packed it full of fun stuff. One of our favorite things was kayaking out to Atsena Otie (which means cedar island in a tribal language). Mike and I shared a kayak and accompanied guide Mandy Davis and three of her friends on an awesome daylong adventure.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

Mandy is an accomplished, seasoned naturalist and guide who’s recently set up shop in Cedar Key. She runs Hidden Coast Outdoors, and the Atsena Otie adventure is one of many tours she offers. Not only did Mandy show us how to kayak, but she also educated us on the history of Cedar Key. We learned that the city of Cedar Key was located on Atsena Otie Island. Cedar Key was an important port. Two mills on the island produced ‘cedar’ slats for shipment to northern pencil factories. Economic decline began when Henry Plant’s railroad to Tampa began service in 1886, and a devastating Atlantic hurricane in 1896 was the final blow.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

We made the short hike to the now-closed pier and the cemetery. Mandy brought along paper and crayons so we could take headstone rubbings. I chose a grave marker with my name (except with a Z instead of an S). What a unique souvenir! We then kayaked further east for lunch. Mandy prepared a homemade, gourmet Mexican meal for us, and we ate on the beach near eaglets and other water birds.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

It was a glorious experience, so much fun and a wonderful workout.  $90 (per person) VERY well spent!!

Hickok and Bullock and a girl named Jane

Hickok and Bullock and a girl named Jane
HickokJaneGrave

Wild Bill Hickok’s grave with Calamity Jane’s in the background

No trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota is complete without a stop at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood.  The sprawling location is primarily known for its eternal VIP guests: Will Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock.

James Butler Hickok was better known as Wild Bill.  He was a legendary Old West gunfighter and lawman who was drawn to the vices of drinking and gambling.  Cards were literally the death of him; he met his end while engaged in a game of poker in Deadwood.  His aces and eights became the “dead man’s hand” after Jack McCall shot Wild Bill in the back as he played.

Wild Bill met Calamity Jane when his wagon train stopped in Laramie, Wyoming, on its way to Deadwood.  Jane’s parents had died by the time she was 12.  As an adult, she had a number of a different gigs: cook, miner, prostitute, ox-team driver.  She also became an accomplished horsewoman and shooter.  Men who offended Jane were said to be “courting calamity”, which is supposedly how she got her colorful name.

Both avid drinkers and exuberant storytellers, Wild Bill and Calamity Jane got on well.  So well that Jane described them as a couple, a relationship status that was purportedly strenuously denied by Bill.  Jane loved Bill so much, though, that she insisted on being buried next to him.

Seth Bullock was a Canadian who relocated to the United States in the late 1860s.  In 1876, Seth moved his hardware business from Michigan to Deadwood after gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  He became sheriff of Deadwood and was later appointed a U.S. Marshall by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Visiting Deadwood prompted us to buy the first season of the HBO show of the same name.  We had had a marathon screening one afternoon, getting a feel for what it was like in Deadwood in Hickok and Bullock’s time, when South Dakota was still a territory in Indian land, not a state.  It’s supposed be a pretty accurate depiction of that time in history. There’s an awful lot of cussing, with F bombs and C bombs flying left and right, and I wonder if that’s really how they talked back then…and why it changed as we became more civilized.

There’s lots more to see and do in Deadwood, so hopefully, we’ll fit all those things in when we’re back in the area next year.

BullockGrave

Seth Bullock’s grave

A peaceful place

A peaceful place

CemeteryRun-WideView

As Mike and I headed into Rapid City, South Dakota, driving by the Flying J about a mile away from our campground in Hermosa, my eyes would be drawn to a white chapel perched atop a small hill.  The green grass surrounding the tiny building was dotted with granite headstones bedecked with brightly colored floral arrangements.

One day, after I dropped Mike off at work in Rapid, on my way back to the rig, I turned onto the dirt road next to the Flying J that led up to Highland Park Cemetery.

The entrance is flanked by two historic Civil War canons, and the views of Hermosa and the road to Keystone are spectacular.  The chapel holds an altar with a Bible on one side and a pew on the other.  On the back wall, a glass-enclosed spreadsheet details whose remains rest there. Benches are scattered around the grounds, and there’s often a white-tailed bunny scurrying about.

That day, and every other day after that, I did my morning run on the gravel tire tracks that encircle the site. The solitude was soothing; the panorama was inspiring.  A special, peaceful place.

CemeteryRun-Gate

CemeteryRun-Canon

CemeteryRun-Chapel

CemeteryRun-InsideChapel

CemeteryRun-Bunny

CemeteryRun-BackView