Thursday, April 14, 2016

Big Steps - Leaving Mom and Florida

The plan was to visit Mom and Chick in Wildwood Florida as we headed north, leaving March 28. Well, we decided to stay longer and decided to depart on April 10.  We had the chance to do some things for them that included painting, cooking and dishes, and some cleaning that they couldn't do for themselves. It was a good visit but it is always hard to leave mom!

Here we are painting the mobile home. I went up the ladder and Tone held on for me.😍

A few "after" shots of the house...

We are almost done, but still painting the brown trim.

We also visited our state park near Moms and enjoyed some favorite nature shots. The inside of a nut we found on the path.

Great Blue Skimmer

 We love the heart-shaped pattern on the forehead of the Sandhill Crane. (It is also the pattern on         the head of the White Ibis.)
On Sunday, April 10, We tearfully said goodbye to Mom and Chick, and headed to visit our friends who are work campers at Silver Glen Springs in the Ocala National Forest. What a beautiful place to see for the first time, and what a great visit with our friends!

Their home site.

The Ocala National  Forest is over 400,000 acres with many unique features.  One of the new things I have realized this winter is the extent and beauty of the springs that are in Florida. It was wonderful to be here to see this one up close.

This trail led us to see some of the boiling springs. Hard to see but it was sweet to see the small fish swirling around in the water.

After our visit with Tracy and Cindy, we headed to a place that was a longtime goal.  Friends had told us about Merritt Island and the birds there, but we had always seemed to be too far.  This time we decided to get there for a visit, and even though it was getting to be late in the migration we still enjoyed a wonderful day there.

Roseate Spoonbills - always a special favorite

Pied Billed Grebe

Common Gallinule

And look how close we were to Cape Canaveral...Mm

This is a shot of a large picture I took in the visitor Center to show where we were in the National Wildlife Refuge, and how much the birds of flight hang out near the other big birds of flight.

It had been a longer travel day for us but we found this lovely state park near Ormond Beach, and spent the night here.  We realize that this area has many things we want to see again, and we decided we will try for a longer visit next time.  We will definitely try to return to this well kept park.

Coral Bean blooming on the edge of site.

As we traveled, we said goodbye to five months in Florida.  We decided to pass by St. Augustine and the Seminole National Museum and other places we want to see, saving them for a longer visit to the area. We passed into Georgia mid-day, and a headed for St. Mary's and a special spot we love.
We got a site at this park that we have visited many times.

Our goal was another visit to Cumberland Island National Seashore. We have a long history here and always look forward to a return visit.  We have spent Christmas here with Phillip and Carrie in the early days, decorating a Palmetto for their tree! This was also the place we spent time with Marcia and Hilda in the spring of 1991, when they drove us to Georgia to start the Appalachian Trail.  We also camped here with our friends Pat and Jean, and Joan and Lucille for a most memorable camping trip. We can say a big thank you to our friend Andre who introduced us to Cumberland Island.  

Our transport to the Island is the Cumberland Queen.

On the way, we saw a small flock of White Pelicans.

Here we are, to walk the roads and trails lined with Live Oaks,

Watch for the wild horses, 

And new birds for the season, like the Summer Tanagers...

Latona beside some huge Bamboo...

And the road into the famous ruins of the Carnegie Estate, called Dungeness.

The first house built on Cumberland Island, the Tabby House.

Here is a sample of the "tabby" construction.  "Tabby is a type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and more broken oyster shells. It was used by early Spanish settlers." Wikipedia quote. All the early building, including the four-story Dungeness mansion was built with tabby concrete.

In addition to the paths of Live Oaks, we travel through the dune area of this barrier island to reach

The seventeen mile beach, enjoying two of the wild horses along the way.

This beach has no development of any kind and we walk a few miles...

Enjoying Sanderlings and this Wilsons Plover

And circle back over the dunes on a boardwalk that takes us to Seacamp. I like this picture 
and titled it  "church."

Near the campground we see a Carolina Wren watching from a bicycle seat.

At the ranger station, we wait with other visitors to board the ferry and return to St. Mary. We plan to find a familiar pizza place for dinner...

But carry with us all the wonderful memories that have been renewed in our heart, and the new ones as we made today on another special visit to Cumberland Island. 

We are on our coastal journey north!