Wednesday, December 25, 2013

St. George Island State Park in Florida.....Up Close

I camp at this park so often that it is a challenge to find a new way to post about my trips that won't just be re-runs of the same story and images. I sometimes skip posting, but that's not as much fun as sharing!

Last time (which was quite recently) we took a broader view than usual and toured around the town. This time I decided to zoom in a bit for some of the photos.

Of course this park is all about the beautiful beach.

The breeze was causing the long grasses to carve out patterns in the sand.

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The tide was going out, stranding many jellyfish on the beach.

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It's so interesting how the ripple pattern on the sand mimics the water so well.

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I had clearly missed a lot of crab activity here!

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A little farther along, I didn't see this guy half in and half out of his hole until I nearly stepped on him! He was a medium size crab, maybe 4" across.

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I took several photos from several angles while he was motionless. I actually asked him if he was dead. No response, though that seemed like it would be an odd place to shed the mortal coil. I said okay, well, thanks for the pictures, and got up from my crouched position to leave. As soon as I did that, he sprang to life, ready to defend his little home.

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Later, I wandered down to the bay. Someone had set this on the picnic table--lots of oyster shells attached to something. If I were creative, I would make a lamp base or something out of this...

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The next day I went for a hike on the trail that goes inland a bit, and through wetlands. There were several pine-y type trees, with needles extending out from a center area. Those look almost like little closed pinecones in there.

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And hey Sharon! Look! Another one! There were several of these, many of them with large caps, growing out of the sand on the trail, similar to those at St. Joe except these had brown caps.

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I had not planned to take any long scenic photos for this post, but that great blue heron was on the beach every time I went for a walk. I decided to process this photo a little differently, just for variety...

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When I was down by the bay late one afternoon, it was so calm and peaceful, I decided to get a short video of it, another way to make this post different from others.

In contrast, this was the Gulf the next day. (Quite a wind so the sound is terrible....)

Even though I had made these reservations about 10 days earlier, my usual jinx of having it be pouring rain while I am trying to hitch up and do everything else involved with leaving was clearly firmly in place. But this time I was ready for it! When I saw that rain coming, I just reserved for an extra night. And so for the first time for a long time, I was hitching up and leaving in sunshine, after an extra day at the beach! Win-win!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Let's all have a great 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

St. George Island State Park (yes, again!)

On this trip, I was camping with my friend Kim. We had a fantastic time and were lucky that the weather was warm enough for beach sitting and eating oysters on the deck at Boss Oyster in Apalachicola.

I was in site 57 again, which is one of my favorite sites. It's at the Gulf end of the campground so I could clearly hear the surf through my open windows. Kim was next to me, in site 59, also a nice site.

As many times as I have posted about camping at this park, I wasn't sure what more I could offer in the way of information about the campground. Ah, but I have never shown you any of the town (such as it is). So I took an afternoon and walked around taking some photos.

This is the bridge coming from the mainland to the island:

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When I am camping here, I often drive off the island into Eastpoint to get shrimp to cook for dinner. It's a bit of a drive, though, so if you aren't inclined to do that, Doug's Seafood trailer is nearly always parked in a big parking lot near the bridge.

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There is a sign that says "Future Home of Doug's Seafood" on a small parcel of land alongside the road that leads to the park. It's been there for years. I guess the future never really gets here, does it?

As soon as you get to the island, you see a lighthouse. This is actually a reproduction of the original  lighthouse, which finally succumbed to constant battering by hurricanes and toppled into the Gulf in the early 2000's. Next to the lighthouse is a combination gift shop/museum, which has some artifacts from the original lighthouse as well as a wealth of information.

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The lighthouse windows were decorated for the season.

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People who don't camp can choose to stay in a very tall, skinny house in a row with other tall, skinny houses on the beach.

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And that concludes our brief tour of town. Back to the beach now!

I like pretty much everything about this campground with one exception. This:

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Now, if those little pointy things, aka sand spurs, would stay on the plant and up off the ground, that would be great. However, they plummet to the sand and then cling to shoelaces, socks, pants, and often feet...which is really painful. I have at least half a dozen of these presently stuck to the bottom of my shoes. They are particularly hard on dogs--not only do they dig into their paw pads but they cling to the fur between those pads and can be difficult to dislodge.

The campground has the Gulf on one side and a quiet, placid bay on the other. This is the approach to the bay, taken when the sun was low in the sky.

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I sat at the picnic table for a while just enjoying the quiet, and then took one more picture as the sun was lengthening the shadows.

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And then out to the Gulf side the next day for some beach sitting. First, the obligatory seagull photo.

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I believe this great blue heron has made an appearance in this blog before, but maybe it was his look-alike cousin...

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I sat for a long time looking for dolphins (no luck), and watching the little sandpipers skitter across the shallow water of a receding wave.

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Every once in a while one would get carried away with the search for food and fail to notice the next wave coming in...

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I had plans to camp elsewhere later this month, which, in addition to other future plans, would prevent me from returning to St. George until late January. While I was sitting on the beach I realized I didn't want to wait that long (I may have mentioned that we are moving to NC in May, and so my camping time at St. George is limited) (no plans to return to FL once we move). So during this trip I cancelled those plans and reserved a site in this campground for those dates. I hope to return to St. George several more times before we move, though I might not post those trips.

This was a great one! I hope the oyster population can replenish itself before I get back; Kim and I managed to deplete it somewhat.