Monday, February 15, 2016

Day Trip

Saturday I got a case wanderlust. We had already woken up late and we were playing some Twilight Princess but I suggested we take a mini trip down to the St Marks Lighthouse. While hubby found the last key in the dungeon I put on some make-up and got dressed then we headed out to the wildlife refuge. Along the way we stopped at a roadside stand and grabbed a couple of bags of Cajun spiced boiled peanuts. When we arrived at Lighthouse Rd we noticed quite a bit of smoke, it turns out the area was doing a prescribed burn. We were fearful that the refuge might be closed but a leader truck lead us down the long road.
 It was very cool driving with flames licking up along the side of the road. At points along the way there was only a few feet of visibility.

It reminded me of many years ago when my family was driving in the mountains outside Leavenworth, WA during a wild fire. We were on a narrow road crawling along watching the helicopters dump fire retardants on trees. The elevation of the roads were so high the helicopters were flying right next to the vehicles on the road. 

Luckily this was only prescribed, which helps lower the risk of an actual forest fire, along with promoting fresh growth. 
 Only the photos of the small flames came out, there were some as tall as our car.

Once we passed the burn area the smoke lessened but was still noticeable along the landscape.
Once we entered the park we pulled over to pay but the fee was waved for the day (I assume because of the burn).
 We stopped at the visitor center for a pit stop and for me to buy a few postcards. We hadn't visited since the park removed the light from the lighthouse so we took a few moments to admire it's beauty. The team that is restoring it also did another lighthouse we are very familiar with, Ponce Inlet.
 Outside the visitor center we spotted our first gator. Hubby saw him swim across the pond and when I came out to join him the gator had just crawled up on land to sun.

A White Tailed Deer track in the mud
 On our drive to the lighthouse we stopped at many of the pools along the way to take photos of the smoke from the burn and to spot gators. The water was way down, I don't think I've ever seen it so low. 


If I hadn't have taken this photo I would have guessed there was an oncoming storm rather than smoke.

A male cardinal
We saw so many beautiful birds while exploring, I even spotted a bald eagle and a kestrel. Once again I forgot to bring my telephoto, if I had remembered it I probably could have gotten even more beautiful bird photos although the ones I did get I rather like.
A female grackle
A male grackle
Can you spot the female grackle? She was rather shy and didn't like me taking her photo.

It was hard sorting though all the pictures I took that day, I think the total was about 250. While I trimmed the number to share down quite a bit I still am going to have to split this into at least two posts.

Some Bunny Loves You!