'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Preserve, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Chassahowitzka with friends…

I headed north to join my friends Betty and Linda for a hike in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge yesterday.  It is a vast, 30843 acre, of preserved wilderness area encompassing four of the coastal counties in the area I call home.  They volunteer at the Chinsegut Conservation Center and have become quite knowledgeable about the history of the area.  The point of our hike was to find an area they had been to on a guided hike a while back, wanting to see the area again without a big group of hikers.  That the hike began with us looking for the particular tree that would mark the spot to go off the trail and into the woods didn’t come as a huge surprise to me, I had faith in them that we would in fact find our way back to the cars at the end of the day.

We were in search of the ruins of a thriving community that existed here from the years 1910-1917.  It was built around a logging company, and these are the remains of the actual logging business and mill that worked the area.  In addition to this area there was a town nearby with neighborhoods populated with workers of various nationalities.  They had a small railroad to move the logs to market, plus there were houses, a post office, school, saloon, all the components of a community.  By 1917 all the usable trees in the area had been cut and the people moved on, taking as much of their building material as they could, to be reused as they rebuilt in a new area.  In the 100 years since they left Mother Nature has reasserted herself, with help, and leaving not much to mark this time in history.03-01-20woodsruins03-01-20woodsruins203-01-20woodsruins503-01-20woodsruins6Some of where we hiked yesterday had been underwater when they had been there before.  The area is spring fed and there is water just off the road in a lot of the area.  Water and the creatures who live there, such as an alligator they dubbed Nestor, who they thought was a male until she had 16 babies last year.  As we hiked I had to wonder where she and her babies might be lurking as we took pictures.03-01-20woodsruins303-01-20woodsruins4I, for one, would not want to be lost on these trails.  Once we got back to the car we did something we don’t usually do, we sat and talked at a picnic table, deciding where to go next.  We were aware of a woman who was waiting for her 84 year old friend and his Jack Russel terrier to return to his car.  She was calling his cell phone, but she suspected that he’d left his phone in the car.  He had been gone quite a while, she said, and it was now 4 PM and with only a couple of hours of daylight left we offered to drive the roads to see if we could find him while she waited by the car in case he came back.  We drove a long way, I was afraid that if he had fallen we may have driven right by him, and we all suspected that surely a man his age wouldn’t have walked that far.  But Linda said that something told her not to turn around, to keep going, because this road was not traveled by many visitors who might come across him to help.  And the story has a happy ending because sure enough, we found him.  He was fine and still walking, but boy was he happy to see us.  He had gotten lost, and the trail he was on would eventually loop back to the parking area, but not for another five or so miles.  Don’t you just love a happy ending.  I do…03-01-20woodsbuddy

His name was Kenny and he said he learned a big lesson from this experience.  Always keep your phone with you.  Good advice.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bucket list, Camping, Just do it, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

And so it begins…

Day one at Fort DeSoto campgrounds had me finally set up by 3 PM.  This is a lovely campground but the tent/pop up area has a narrow, one-way, road, with equally narrow and abrupt turn-offs in which to back your camper.  Even with two people directing me it was quite an ordeal, and it has occurred to me that getting it out of here just might be as bad, or worse.  Guess I’ll worry about that later.1-20-20woodpecker

But I was anxious to get out for pictures so I rushed up to North Beach because I could see that the sun would be setting in that direction.  On the way I stopped for the first couple of osprey nests I saw, but I soon realized that they were everywhere, and they all were occupied by at least one adult.  They certainly didn’t have any protection from the wind up there.  And the ranger had told me that there was an eagle nest on the cell tower, you can’t miss it, he said.  It wasn’t the natural setting of the eagles I’m used to seeing so I probably won’t be staking this nest out.1-20-20osprey1-20-20eaglenest

With temperatures in the 40s and a brutal wind, it was almost too much, for a Floridian at least.  And the waves crashing on the rocks were dramatic, but the tide was coming in and I began to worry that the camera would get splashed.  But it didn’t, and neither did I, and the sunset was lovely.  And I drove back to the campground never suspecting that I’d discover that when I plugged in the heater, or the charger for the computer, that the plugs weren’t going to work.  Lights yes, plugs no.  And I must have used my last gasp of propane testing that I had propane, because that heater didn’t work either.  So I’m roughing it until I figure it out, and warmer weather is coming, or so they say.1-20-20slywywithpalmtrees1-20-20sunshineskwayfeature1-20-20wavescrashing1-20-20northbeachsunset

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, friends, fun, Just do it, moments, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, simple things, special effects, unintended images

Travels with Betty…

I tagged along with my friend Betty yesterday, on a trip out to enjoy one of her interests.  We left early so that we could stop at this little park which I’d never been to before.  We were in Citrus county, the heart of the nature coast I think.  Yes, the day was overcast, but rain wasn’t expected until long past sunset, so off we went.  Betty loves her details, not so much the landscapes I tend to like to photograph.  Knowing that influenced the day.12-22frencfry12-22thepark12-22thegang12-22msgrackleSquirrels eating French fries are photo worthy, to me at least.  And the park itself was pretty.  There were plenty of male grackles, calling and preening, and just basically showing off their flashy blue-black selves.  The lovely red female grackle did not seem impressed in the least.12-22betty'sheron12-22heron1Along the inlet we had a great view of a pair of Yellow-crowned Night Herons, neither of which were bothered by the boat traffic as people returned to their homes.  They are usually much harder to spot, and photograph, than this pair were.12-22lonelyfishermanA lone fisherman was on the pier, but it was getting late in the day and we were about to move on.  We both had noticed a fishing line hanging from the roof of this pier, and it’s always a shame to see such things as dangling line because it poses a risk to the birds of the area.  Betty was the first to take a picture though, and when she looked at what she had in her camera we were both amazed.  The fishing line was blowing in the breeze which made it appear more like a ribbon than just a string.  So of course we both took a lot of pictures of that fishing line.  I wonder if the fisherman noticed us, and if he did he probably thought we were nuts.  I was sure I wasn’t getting that same effect, I couldn’t see it in the camera itself, but I took pictures anyhow.  And I got a nice surprise when I looked at the pictures in the computer.  It doesn’t take much to make a couple of photographers happy.12-22ribbon212-22ribbon312-22ribbon4

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Just do it, leap of faith, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Warner-Boyce Salt Springs, the annex…

Almost immediately outside the gates to my home park is this little nature trail, which I had walked down before with friends.  But the other day I was by myself.  It’s part of a bigger park that’s a few miles down the road, but this part is small, and quiet.  It was sunny, which is why I was out in the first place, but I was surprised that my car was the only one in the parking lot.  But I started down the path anyhow, hoping to see, I don’t know exactly, I guess I was ready to be surprised.11-18saltsprings3

The surprise proved to be how different the whole experience was when you are hiking by yourself.  The path was narrow, and as I walked it got shadier, and darker.  And I began to notice that there was water along side the trail.  And I got to wondering what creatures were lurking in the water, or on the path just around the bend.  From my previous trip I knew that the path made a loop, and just as I began to question the wisdom of the solitary journey the trail be gan to get damp.  No, muddy.  And the mud began to pull at my shoes as I took each step.  By this time I wasn’t sure if I would get back to the car more quickly if I turned around or kept going.  So I stayed the course.11-18saltsprings2I began to wonder if I was more worried about four legged predators or two legged predators.  I wondered if it’s legal to carry mace in Florida?  But the reality was the only creature I did startle on the path was a partridge, or maybe it was a wild turkey.  It disappeared into the thick bush too quickly for a photo.  And I walked some more and began to hear traffic noises.11-18saltsprings4

And I was back in the sunshine at the parking lot.  It was an adventure but all the excitement took place in my own mind.  I’m grateful for that…

 

friends, fun, Just do it, learning, old dogs new tricks, photography, weather

At the vineyard…

When a friend mentioned a Christmas craft class which included wine tasting I didn’t even ask what we were making, I just declared that I was in.  It turned out to be a fun way to spend a gray, dreary day, and in a vineyard to boot.  There was even a grape stomping competition, we have no idea who won.

The surprise came when I was working on the pictures and out of the blue I remembered something from my childhood.  It was the bell that did it.  A phrase from an old TV show came to mind, something like ring your magic clanger Mr. Froggie”, but googling it brought up “Plunk your magic twanger Froggie”.  Now instead of working on pictures I’d taken I was watching You Tube videos of the Andy Devine Show.  Is your whole childhood running on a loop in your brain, just waiting for something to spark a memory?  I think it may be.

11-18roadtonowhere.jpg11-18bellvintage.jpg11-18bell.jpg11-18grapestomping.jpg11-18grapes.jpg11-18vineyard.jpg11-18bottlelight.jpg

And the solar powered wine bottle light was a fun project to do.

a second look, fantasy images, finding my way, fun, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, photography, silliness, simple things, special effects, technology, Waterlogue

Amusing myself…

It wasn’t the longest plane ride I’ve ever endured, but I didn’t feel like reading and was at loose ends.  Enter Waterlogue.  So I began to look for photos that seemed to me to be candidates for this app.  Not all that I tried looked great, and some that I thought were dubious did in fact turn out really good.  I told myself that one day when I hadn’t been out for photos for a while and didn’t have anything else to say I’d use them on the blog.  Maybe.  And here we are.  It’s been overcast and raining for days.  The photo shoot I’d signed on for has just been cancelled for the second time in three days.  I will be at a winery later on today so there is hope for me yet.  But for now this is the best I can do.IMG_0407IMG_0401IMG_0402IMG_0403IMG_0404IMG_0405Painted in WaterlogueI’m looking at these on the screen of the desktop right now and they don’t look nearly as good as they did on my phone.  Oops.