St. Catherine's Montessori

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Fontainebleau State Park

by Vittoria La Matta


     "Are we there yet?" was the thing people kept asking as we drove across the endless bridge that went over Lake Pontchartrain. I looked down into the water over the bridge, and thought the water was 50 feet deep only to find out in the morning that the deepest point was about 20 feet.  As we were driving across the lake, my half asleep mind was imagining what the state park would look like. I thought it was going to be in the woods with a couple of super old scary cabins full of spiders. I was completely wrong! It was beautiful even at night, with the plants and my favorite part, the cabins! They were not your regular wooden cabins, however, they were luxurious cabins on the water overlooking the lake. I wish I could wake up everyday with the sun rising over the water. It is just so relaxing and peaceful. Our cabin was a pastel blue, which is my favorite color, and had two rooms—one bathroom, a living room, and even a kitchen. When do you ever get to be in a cabin with a kitchen, and a television? My first impression of Fontainebleau State Park was: "Wow if I like this place at night when it is dark, imagine how much I will like it in the morning!" I also made a mental note to remember to take my family here for a week because one day was not enough for me.

     The reason we were here was to study the environment, and the loss of the Louisiana wetlands. If the wetlands are lost, then lot of animal species would die out and the environment in Louisiana would be all messed up, and it is all because of us. Louisiana's 3 million acres of wetlands are lost by as much as 46.6 square miles annually. That is way too much in a year. By the end of the century if land keeps getting lost, then some of the barrier island's will disappear under water. As the barrier islands disappear, the extensive system of sheltered wetlands along Louisiana's delta plains will be exposed to the full force and effects of open marine processes such as wave action, salinity intervention, storm surge, tidal currents, and sediment transport that combine to accelerate wetlands destruction.

     Imagine most of the wetlands gone—the wetlands that shelter so many animals and  provide life for plants. It is a huge ecosystem that could be destroyed in a matter of years all because of us.  Knowing this made me enjoy the State Park even more, and it made me see all the little things, and enjoy everything and take everything in, It made me not take anything for granted, because it could be gone in a matter of years.

     Everything was amazing until our toilet got clogged. Not what I expected to happen! It was not that bad until someone decided to flush it even though it was clogged, so the water slowly got higher and higher until it was too full for the toilet bowl, and it splattered on the bathroom floor. I got all the towels I could find and threw them onto the puddle of gross toilet water and waited. We thought the water was slowly diminishing, so we got ready for bed. We were about to go to bed until one of my roommates yells: "My stuff is all wet!" I looked and saw, that the water had leaked through our room. Oh great, I thought, just what I needed before bed! We got more towels and decided to use the plunger, but of course we didn’t  have one because that is just how life works, so we had to call another room to see if we could borrow their plunger. When the plunger was brought in it was already 11:30. It took 20 more minutes before our toilet was finally almost fixed. It was late so we came to a consensus that there was something stuck in the tubing and there was nothing to be done about it. By midnight the floors were dry and everything was back to normal.

     I woke up to the beautiful sunrise, and  I realized later that I should have taken a photo. It was cold, and  the air was humid, but the sun shone bright and warmed you up enough. The morning run we went on was one of my favorite runs we went on during the whole trip. The trees! The bright reds, golden oranges, the piercing yellows, and a few multicolored ones hear and there.We usually don’t get fall colored leaves down here in Houston so to see this was a treat! It was like waking up on Christmas morning and opening your presents. I was so distracted by the blinding colors that I didn’t realize how numb my nose and hands were until someone said that they could not feel their nose. I was sad when our morning run was over but also happy at the same time that I got to experience what fall is supposed to look like.

     After the run I went outside and took lots and lots (maybe too many) pictures, so I would never forget this place. Our cabin had a little dock so I went down, took my shoes off and just sat down on the last step with my feet in the water. I sat there for a long time just taking everything in and of course taking more pictures. It was so peaceful and a great place to be if you wanted some alone time to zone out of everything. I could have been there forever if  one my roommates hadn't told me there were alligators in the lake, and that I might not want to have my feet in the water. Since I am not a big fan of alligators and wanted to come back from the trip in once piece, I quickly put my shoes back on and took one last good picture of the sun setting that I will never forget.

     I was one of the last people to get on the bus because I took even more pictures, and I was not ready to leave. The state park was an amazing experience, and I got closer to my friends. Overall it was definitely my favorite state park I have been to, so now I will have high standards for the rest of the state parks I go to. If the wetlands are not completely gone, I will try to come back!