Waking up in a camper with no heat on the coldest morning in 7 years wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The heated mattress had kept me cosy all night, and I plugged in the ceramic heater (with only one available plug-in at a time it was a deliberate choice) as soon as I woke up. I left for the day intending to take the feature photo, the line-up of rental kayaks and canoes at the (closed) rental shop. There has been very little activity here these last cold days. And that probably explains why the campground that is normally booked up months in advance seems to have a lot of empty slots available.
Then it was on to the actual fort which lent it’s name to Fort DeSoto State Park. The sign explains the significance, and all that information was news to me.
There is a raised walkway with a view which I may have missed if I hadn’t noticed a creature with a very, very long tail enjoying lunch in a very sparse tree. No, not an escaped monkey from the zoo, which from a distance was my first thought, but a squirrel. Not seemingly too different from your general, run-of-the-mill-squirrel, other than it’s tail.
The day before Joe had been working at the snack bar at the campground when I wandered in and asked him what was on the menu. Nothing, was his reply since it was close to closing time. But come and see me tomorrow at the Gulf Pier and I’ll make you some grouper. I’d been eating the almonds, clementines, apples, and animal crackers that I’d brought from home so that sounded divine. You can sit outside on a stool and enjoy the sun and the view while you eat, was his further comment, which at that point didn’t sound like a good idea at all. But on this new day by lunch time the sun felt great, and some nice grouper outside was enticing. And delicious. Up on a nearby pole I saw an osprey eating a fish and wondered it he also was enjoying grouper. And as I sat there I half expected an osprey to swoop down and steal my lunch. The sky was full of them. But I didn’t have to share and it was great.
While I was at the Gulf Pier I had noticed an empty dog crate, and the posted information with it was all about what to do if you catch a bird with a fish hook, and how to take care of it so that it can be rescued and recover from any wounds. I didn’t expect to see this situation in action so quickly, but I had moved on to the Bay Pier just in time to see a rescuer leaving the pier with a wounded pelican. She said that the pelican had caught a fish and hook as the fisherman reeled it in, just as I recently saw happen back home in Aripeka, but in this case the fisherman got the hook out and the bird just needed to have it’s wound heal. And to be fattened up. She said that the young pelicans are starving because these cold temperatures have driven the fish into deeper waters and food hasn’t been as plentiful for them. I was glad to see this pelican have a chance for a good outcome from his adventures.
I love a happy ending, and didn’t know that there was one in store for me too. A chance conversation with fellow campers not only got my electrical issue fixed, but I was also assured that when I leave on Friday I will be able to make the turn onto the one-way road with the trailer in tow and it would would clear the surrounding trees just fine. Yes, happy endings all around!