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Warrior Institute

March 2, 2013





436Florida – Tuesday, February 19

The adventure begins again! I spent 2 days in Florida before heading to the territories, so there’s only 5 left. Since I’m still waiting on my ATM card (I’m hoping it’ll be here today!) and I didn’t actually pick up my phone til this morning, I stayed local for today. I did some walking at the Ocala Jockey Club, then went to Payne’s Prairie Park for some more miles, which is near Toni’s apartment, but is a huge wetland preserve. Tula couldn’t come with me there because of all the animals, but that’s just as well – she’s had a quiet month, and I’ll give her some miles off as she builds back up to our normal routine. It had been a bit chilly the last few days in Florida, but the sun was out today, and that brought out a lot of alligators! The trail at Paynes Prairie started with a boardwalk, then was a wide grassy path. There were countless alligators out along the banks of the water – I read that they need the warmth of the sun to get their energy, and they were all storing it up! One big guy looked like he was smiling, and totally oblivious to the surroundings. I also saw some of the wild “cracker horses”, and there are also “cracker cows” and buffalo, but I didn’t see any of them. I’m not sure what the “cracker” refers to, other than being an old southern term. There was an observation platform at the end of the trail which provided a good view of a wide expanse of land, but I didn’t see anything else. There were still a lot of alligators along the banks on the return walk – but a few seemed to have moved. It was starting to cool off again.

My donation of the day went to the Warrior Institute, a huge project that Toni and several other people have spent a couple years on – and they just recently received their 501(c)3 status, so it’s an officially recognized organization now, after a lot of hard work by a whole team of people. Its goal is to provide some non-traditional therapy and rehab opportunities for veterans in outdoor settings with family members. In fact, Toni is getting ready to leave on a 5-6 day canoe trip down by the Everglades with veterans and their spouses – the first joint Warrior Institute/Outward Bound excursion. Toni’s a recreational therapist, and has led other outdoor adventure trips, but this is a big step in a new direction! So I made this donation as a proud mama!

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One Comment
  1. Darrel Doehr permalink

    I saw a TV show about the “crackers”. The origin is an English word crack meaning to boast, as in to “crack a joke”. Later (in the 19th century) since the cowboys in Florida used primarily whips to drive cattle, it came to mean the crack of the whip. I found it interesting that Florida historically had more cowboys than any other state!

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