As I started to crop photos for this blog I realized something. I didn’t take a single photo of myself that day. And seeing as it is many many miles away now… I can’t simply go get one real quick, to fake it. But I guess maybe that says something about the park I was visiting. I must have been enjoying the scenery and the walk with Marin so much. That I didn’t stop and think I might need at least one pic of myself for this page. But maybe it’s for the best. Your not here to see my ugly mug. Your here to learn about Freedom park in Naples Florida.
Which is actually a nice little park. It’s not a state or national park. It’s simply a local city park. So it’s not huge with acre upon acre or mile upon mile of trails. There are no volley ball courts, or playgrounds, or ball diamonds. You wont see a pack of little league soccer players. But you may see some cranes, crocodiles, and cacti. As the land’s intended purpose is to serve as a wetland sanctuary. But one with the added bonus of paths and a board walk so humans can enjoy it too.
It’s not a park you would plan a trip around. It’s not even one I would suggest jumping off the interstate to see if your needing a break from the road. But if your staying in Naples and want a scenic walk option… that isn’t a packed beach. Then Freedom park is a nice place to spend a hour or two. Maybe three… if you’re like me, have your camera, and the wildlife decides to come out and pose. Marin and I saw quite a few critters out and about on our visit.
Something to be aware of though. If you travel everywhere with your pupper, like I do with Marin. Is at the front of the park, you will see two routes. One to your right and one to your left. The one heading right is for the boardwalk. Aaaaand doggos are not allowed on the boardwalk apparently. Maybe it’s posted somewhere… though I didn’t see any signs nor did I see anything on the website. But a park employee stopped us as we were about to venture that direction.
I’m just guessing. But I’d venture to say this is probably because so many people in this world don’t pick up after their pups. The boardwalk is elevated above the wetlands with fencing on both sides. With no grass for a doggie to do its business in. And no one wants to be stepping in that when they’re trying to look at the gators.
At the front of the park is a nice looking visitors center. Which I entered and chatted with a park employee for a bit. Behind them were some neat looking educational displays all roped off. But if you show up when their isn’t a virus scare going on… perhaps you can check it out? What I could see didn’t look amazing or anything. Not being able to inspect them, doesn’t ruin the visit. But it looked impressive for a small park. Kids and grandkids would probably get a big kick out of them.
Of course this didn’t bother Marin. She just wanted to smell all the smells and walk, walk, walk. Of course while my nose isn’t powerful enough to have picked up on any odors of note. She seemed to find enjoyable scents all over. However; I can say that the park is a very pleasant place to enjoy a stroll. And it’s very easy for me to recommend it to my fellow pulmonary fibrosis patients. At least to those still capable of getting out and about with their supplemental oxygen.
The boardwalk is a short loop with a place to stop and rest. And the lake path splits off in several different directions. Allowing one to walk several different routes or change up their intended path if they grow tired. There aren’t as many benches as I might like to see for pulmonary fibrosis patients. But that’s not a totally fair measure to judge them by. As there are quite a few to sit and catch one’s breath at. Especially for a park of this size.
And the big seller for me, as far as recommending the park, is the make up of the paths themselves. They’re all flat with no hills, inclines, or declines to increase in anyone’s respiratory rate. Which means patients on O2, may not have to crank up the liters per minute as high. Which may help their oxygen bottles last a little longer. Plus all of the paths, except one, are paved or planking. So their shouldn’t be any issues with wheelchairs, rollators, and/or pulled O2 tank carts.
There is also a memorial honoring the victims and heroes of the September eleventh terrorist attack. Which I personally found very well done. It was designed by a local artist. And I think they knocked it out of the ball park. I absolutely love the stone flag curving like it’s blowing in the wind. If you have a patriotic bone in your body… I’d suggest walking a route that will take you past it. It’s actually not that far from the main parking lot by the visitors center. And worth seeing if you’re already there.
Never stop exploring. I know it can be difficult when you’re struggling to breath. But you don’t have to go cross country or travel halfway around the world to do so. You can find little adventures and places to explore in all sorts of places. It can be hard for us to see the interesting things nearby, when we spend all our time looking toward the horizon. Which when our travel is limited by an illness, can be depressing. But a small town park, a local museum, a hole in the wall restaurant, etc… Can all hold amazing new memories waiting to be found. So learn your limits, respect them, but push against them a little bit, and keep living till your last breath. Despair is easy so don’t give into it. Find the things you can do, do them, enjoy them, and never give up.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read my blog. I hope if you’re a fellow patient, a care giver, or just into travel. That you got something positive out of my blog. If you’d like some pulmonary fibrosis merchandise, check out the BorrowedBreaths Store. Or if you’d like to simply encourage me to keep writing, a tip in my virtual tip jar would be greatly appreciated.