Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

What to Do When It’s Windy? Go Hiking!

Sunday & Monday                                                              Most Recent Posts:
November 27 & 28, 2016                                                    Flagler Beach – Recovering From Matthew
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area                                 Thanksgiving at the Beach
Flagler Beach, Florida




It is very windy here as in 14 and 15mph with gusts of 20 and up.  So what to do when there is so much wind?  That much wind means no kayaking and limited beach sitting time. So we’ve done some biking and a lot of hiking both on the beach and off of it.


On Sunday we bike down A1A to the Northern Peninsula State Park which I mentioned as another park with a beach just south of Gamble Rogers.  Northern Peninsula is a day use park and like Gamble Rogers, extends on both sides of A1A.  It has more than two miles of unspoiled beach and 522 acres of diverse terrain.

We bike down A1A to the High Beach Road where there is parking and facilities on both sides.  The South side is called Smith Creek Landing where visitors can crab, fish or picnic.  It also has a boat launch into the Inland Waterway.  Gamble Rogers does too but Northern Peninsula is free both to use the beach and the boat launch.  Probably because they have no campsites to support.



On the other side, the North side of High Beach Road is where we are going in order to hike the 2 mile Coastal Strand trail.  This park has been a huge reclamation project trying to bring back the wetlands that were once here before canals.  In the 1930’s and 40’s the dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway impacted the salt marsh along Smith Creek.  More than 30 acres of spoil site from those dredging activities were restored to natural tidal marsh conditions here on the northwest section of the park.

Last time we were here and came down to hike the Coastal Strand Trail, it was closed due to some sort of restoration activity.  But today happily it is open.

We park our bikes and there again is the bicycle service station.  Now I really do wonder if all the county and state parks here have these really wonderful facilities.  You can see the two pieces, an air pump and tools,  in the picture above.





The trail starts out going along the water.



And then moves into the maritime forest and over a boardwalk through the marsh..




Seems like this would be a swamp as I understand it because it can support woody plants and trees.  A marsh supports a variety of reeds and grasses.






At this point we move out of the maritime forest and into the Coastal Strand area.





Coastal Strand occurs on deep, wind-deposited sands which have been wind sorted and wave washed.  It is stabilized, wind-deposited coastal dunes that are vegetated with a dense thicket of salt tolerant shrubs.  Coastal Strand dunes are generally quite stable but are susceptible to severe damage if the vegetation is disturbed.  Thus Coastal Strand is probably the most rapidly disappearing community in Florida. 

Coastal Strand is very important in protecting inland communities from storms.  Typical plants here are the saw palmetto, sand live oak, myrtle oak, yaupon, and bay cedar. 

In the picture above, David is walking down an fairly steep dune.  Somehow, in photographs,  things never look as steep as they are.  He is in the Coastal Strand area.  To his left is the Maritime Forest rising above.



We’ve reached the end of the loop trail and are heading back.  Now the Coastal Strand is on the left and the forest on the right.  The trail is between them both. 

The maritime forest occurs on old coastal dunes that have been stabilized long enough for the growth of a forest.  It is characterized as a narrow band of hardwood forest lying just inland of the coastal Strand community.  Live oak, cabbage palm and red bay combine to form a dense wind pruned canopy whose streamlined profile deflects winds and generally prevents hurricanes from uprooting the trees. 

In areas where these natural communities have been destroyed, hurricane damage is much more severe.  We must learn that Nature knows best and not build our homes in these areas and thus destroy the natural protection of the land.

I’m really happy the county has spent the time and money to restore this coastal marsh and to protect these two valuable communities.   I think this guy is too.  We see him and several others like him in the newly restored marsh area as we near the end of our hike back where we began.




Riding to and from the trail head you do have to share a road with no shoulder with cars but the traffic on this day was not great and we had no trouble. 



When we get to A1A, we head back on the safe sidewalk and watch the ocean waves on our right.  I just love that the view is open and not blocked by homes and businesses.  Hats off to the State of Florida and Flagler County for these two nearly adjacent State Parks.



Back home, I never tire of the view out my front window.




Monday morning dawns cloudy and windy again.  Nice waves though.  



After yesterday’s success on the bikes in the wind, we think we can bike the few miles into town and to the library and hike the Betty Steflik Trail through the marsh and over to the Inland Waterway.




Based on the flora and fauna around me this too is a marsh maritime forest community.







At the end of this trail is the main boat launch of Flagler Beach into the Inland waterway.  This great blue heron is standing watch across from the boat dock.






We find that if we put in and paddle around and under one of the bridges we could paddle in this marsh.  IF we could keep from getting lost.  Can anyone recommend a good GPS to use on the water that would enable us to see a map of this area and allow us to map where we go so we can be sure we can follow our bread crumbs back?   Normally we just try to pay attention to which way we have turned but this area is more complicated than others we’ve done outside of the Everglades which have marked trails.  This area has no marked trails.




Sure looks like it would be a great paddle.





After our hike we head over to the Flagler Regional Libray.  Love its simple style.



But, the sign on the door says it is closed on Mondays which we didn’t know. 



On the door, in additon to the library’s hours, is this notice.  I’m very glad the county has been able to do so much restoration and hope they will soon have the library open again.  It’s been 6 weeks now since the storm.   I’d call this hidden hurricane damage, not as noticable to the usual tourist as the main road damage.  But it’s damage for the community.





To close our day, we didn’t have an exceptional sunset but we did have some great silhouettes.

Up on what I assume was intended to be an osprey nesting platform is one silhouette and down in the water is the other.












The color back at Winnona when we returned from the sunset was actually more beautiful than the sunset had been. 




We only have two more days here in this gorgeous spot.  Hope the winds die down so I can have some time on the beach with the water, the waves and the birds.

Flagler Beach-Recovering from Matthew

Friday – Saturday                                                                                            Most Recent Posts:
November 25-26, 2016                                                                            Thanksgiving at the Beach
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area                                       My Favorite Ocean Front Spot – Gamble Rogers
Flagler Beach, Florida



It’s another beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic this morning and a few of us are out to enjoy it.




My regular pals are here.







And a new fisherwoman is catching bait.









Falgler oct 8a

This morning I decide to walk the 3.2 miles up the beach to the Farmer’s Market in the center of town. I talked about the market in my last post, the blue link above, so I’m not going to talk about the market this time but about what I saw of the hurricane damage on my walk.

Flagler Beach was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew in early October as these pictures from local and state news organizations show.


These are pictures of highway A1A that goes right by the park.  The picture on the left shows damage  just down from the Island Grille where we had Thanksgiving Dinner.




This is of another spot between the town and Gamble Rogers.

Flagler Oct 8


You can see the Flagler pier in this picture.  The damage went quite a long way down the road and it was closed for over a month.  Actually I think the county or state or whoever is responsible for these repairs in what I consider to be a very short period of time, deserves a huge amount of credit.


Flagler Oct8b


We noticed damage and repairs under way on our bike ride yesterday to and from the buffet.  But that was from the view from the street.

Today I walk so I can see the situation from the water side.   Flagler Beach is a lovely wide beach and beyond the state park it is lined on one side by the water and on the other by A1A and the nice mix of homes and businesses that face the road.  I can see them all as I walk along on the sloping sand.




I hope it is clear from this picture how much erosion was created by the sea.  Many of the stairs down to the water were washed completely out.  Those that remain are undermined in many cases.






An amazing amount of restoration work has already been done in the 7 weeks since the storm but there is still work going on.   This picture makes the house look like it is right on the edge of the dune but it really isn’t.  The highway is between the sand and the house but barely.  I’m not sure what they will do to save A1A after the next storm or two.  There just isn’t much land between the sand and the houses.  And of course with sea levels rising the situation is only becoming more severe.




This appears to be the current plan.   The road is now lined on the water side for several miles with giant boulders that we think are granite.



Still working on getting all the boulders in place.



Not sure why they aren’t using the local coquina which enabled the fort in St. Augustine to withstand canon balls, but perhaps it would be too difficult.   The pieces of it I find as I walk are a bit small for this purpose but they litter the beach and are individually beautiful.







All different shades, all beautiful.  I really wanted to bring this first one home.  Looks like a cave to me.










I was so happy to see that my favorite house on the walk to town wasn’t damaged.




I’d love to meet the owners of this house.  “Yo-Ho-Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me”



The lack of steps isn’t stopping folks from accessing the beach.  Rock climbing any one?


As you could see from the newspaper photos, the road was seriously damaged and in this spot, they had to build what sort of looks like a bridge under the land.



The famous Flagler Beach Pier is closed for now.  It wasn’t destroyed but it was damaged and shortened.




As I near the pier, I take some redone steps up to the concrete boardwalk.  Perhaps they tired of replacing the wooden one.



The fishermen may be disappointed at the pier being closed but all around it in the water, the surfers were in the water.





Other folks were swimming and playing.  Flagler Beach isn’t fully recovered but it’s come a long way in a short time.   Well done I say!





Hope you aren’t getting sick of sunrises because on Saturday I had the joy of experiencing the most beautiful sunrise of any day in the two weeks we were here.  Yes I did see them all.  This one was fantatic.  Wish I could show all the pictures I took with the subtle nuances in the sky and water but here are a few.

First the dawn color which was really the show.  It occurs about 30 minutes before sunrise give or take.










The closer it gets to sunrise, the lighter the colors become and the more the clouds try to push them down to the horizon line.




Off to the north, the colors are pinks not oranges and the clouds lighter not dark.



Friends are out to share the sunrise with me. 







Here it comes, fighting its way through the clouds at the horizon that look like little mountains.







Shortly it becomes a big blaze in the sky, the clouds and the sky lighten up as I look down the long uninhabited beach.




David misses the show but comes out later for a walk.  We happen upon a group containing Terns this morning.  They always make me laugh.  Not sure what is so funny about them but they are to me.








We walk south today down past the water tower to Northern Peninsula State Park.  The beach south of Gamble Rogers has only a small section of condos around the water tower area before the next protected state park beach begins.  It’s really very nice.  You can walk for miles without overwhelming commercial development.



We spend another day on the ocean front.  Weather says the winds are going to be difficult for the end of our stay here.  So we’re enjoying the relative calm and the waves while we can.



What to do when it’s too windy to sit on the beach or to kayak?  That’s our challenge.  Coming up next.