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

Henry David Thoreau

Perfect Beach Day

Thursday May 9, 2013
Site 33, Fort Pickens Campground
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida


First, a note to Jana from Savannah

Don’t you just love that name??  Yesterday in a comment, Jana asked me to check into site 10 for her so I took this picture.  It’s a great  looking site and I thought I’d have chosen it had I known until the current occupant told me that the electric didn’t work but the park had not discounted the $20 price per night.  So Jana, if you were expecting electricity, be sure to call the park and ask if it is being repaired or if it will still be off when you get here.


Fort Pickens Beach 036  


Ok now for today - It’s good for me, I know it is.


Fort Pickens Beach 002

But I still don’t like running.  This morning I run down to the beach and along the Gulf shore to the end point and around to the buildings at Fort Pickens. Then I take the road back to the campground.   The weather is great and the breeze really helps but the shore line is uneven and there are times when I have to get up on the high part of the beach and run through the sand.  Slogging through loose sand in running shoes is not so much fun.

But when it is over, after a delicious scrambled breakfast with home fries and rye toast, I take my blue umbrella and my red sometimes laundry cart now beach cart (THANK YOU VERY MUCH Dan and Tricia) and go down to the water while David finishes up some telephone business. 


What a great day!


Fort Pickens Beach 001


The temperature is in the low 70’s the breeze is light and the sun warm.  This sand is nearly blinding though,  even with sunglasses on.  It is SO white.





In not too long my friend shows up.

He parades up and down the shore line as though he is beach combing and he probably is.  The waves have cut a berm in the sand and so at points all I can see when he is patrolling is his head marching first down to the right, then back to the left and again to the right.


Fort Pickens Beach 004


Fort Pickens Beach 034



The water looks like we’re in the Caribbean, it is multicolored blue. 

It is shallow quite a ways out and warm when I get in for a dip.  David isn’t here yet so no pictures but he comes soon after I get out and goes in himself.



Fort Pickens Beach 016


I walk in the warm water like my heron friend but I’m not nearly as interesting looking even if I am down in the same sloping area near the water.

Fort Pickens Beach 024



Today’s 1st  surprise comes swimming down the shoreline.


Fort Pickens Beach 031


While we are reading we look up and see these black things swimming down parallel to the beach.  They are riding the waves and coming in very close to shore.  Sometimes we see them flip their “wings” up out of the water.  They are too small for dolphins so we go out to the waters edge and see a group of stingray going up and down the shoreline riding the waves in until just before the last break and then turning and going back out.  I take a lot of pictures to get just one decent one.  They are so much fun to watch.  Surfing with no board is just what they look like they are doing. 

While I love watching them it does make me a little concerned about going into the water in case they might be sleeping in the shallows in the sand.  Shuffle your feet we are told but the sting from a stingray is very painful and can have numerous not so fun consequences.



As we leave for the day, I look back and cannot stop being amazed at the snow-white crystalline sand and the sparkling azure-colored waters.  No wonder so many wanted this protected as a National Seashore.


Fort Pickens Beach 032



The day’s 2nd surprise scurries in the brush along the campground road.

After dinner we walk over to see the sunset.  On our walk over I see this cute little Beach Mouse who stops and I’m able to get his picture.  I’ve never been too fond of field mice but this guy is really darling.


Fort Pickens Beach 037



I’m not having a great deal of luck with sunsets. 


It seems the days begin and end with heavy clouds but the skies in the middle of the day are clear and bright.  No matter, any time I get the chance to see the sun set over the dunes or the water, I’m going to take it.


Fort Pickens Beach 041



The sun is sinking into those clouds.  I hand the camera to David and start to walk down the beach in the warm water before we leave for the day.  And then, here comes the best color of the night and in a flash it’s gone and the sun is completely enveloped in the gray clouds.


A lovely end to the first fine beach day in the past week of camping near the water.


Fort Pickens Beach 048A


  1. Sounds like a perfect beach day. We've been lucky to have had two, and possibly now three, days of superb weather here at the Jersey Shore. Loving it!

    1. So glad for you Rose. I'm afraid our beach days are over. Rain is predicted for the next 36 hours here. And we leave to head inland on Sunday. Bummer...

  2. I think that was a wonderful ending shot!

    1. From the originator of the The End shot craze I take that as high praise. Thanks Judy.

  3. I love where you have yourself parked in the sand, such a beautiful view. David took a great shop of you walking into the sunset.


    1. Thanks Ruth. This is a lovely spot for sure. We're going to get to see how it looks when it rains.

  4. You have me thinking about applying for a camphost job and see where it goes. The lady that was the camphost in our loop when we were there was very nice..but a long-termer I believe :) I want to go back!

  5. You love the beach so much I'm guessing you were the inspiration for all the Beach Boys music. ;c)

    Great picture of the sting ray! And the little mouse. More wonders of nature. :c)

  6. Thank you so much Sherry for the pic and info. I will for sure be calling and getting an update on our site regarding power issue. The site looks great...not to bad from looking at a map.

    Loved your ending pic. One beautiful beach for sure.

  7. I love the turquoise water, the white sand, the sting rays, and YOU! Can't wait to spend time in this place. Sunsets seem to be a topic today for lots of us!

  8. I'm not crazy about even walking in sand and I can't imagine running in it. You must be really fit! I love to watch rays but have never seen one in the sea, just in a Sea World environment. I think they were manta rays.

  9. Sherry, I just called and we are now at site 12. They said that the 10 wasn't going to be fixed...no explanation..lol. Thank you again for your help.

  10. We lost power on site 14 the day we arrived; managed with power from site 15 since it was empty. When we queried when the power to our site might be fixed, they were honest and said ... "who knows." Glad you had at least one really good beach day before you leave. Surprised at the stingray sighting ... in our two weeks, we never once saw one ... perhaps it was too cold then.

  11. I don't know where I got the idea you LOVED to run.... but good for you that you do it even though it's not your favorite thing to do. Those sunsets are incredible! Clouds do spectacular things to sunsets sometimes.

  12. Glad you finally got sunshine for a beachy day. And your heron friend too. Plus how cool to see stingrays, even if it means being more careful. Charging full price for less services is terrible.

  13. You are way more interesting than the heron, but I love how he has become a almost a totem for your seasore visits. The water changed back to turquoise since we were there. A local told me the Gulf turns grey when the storms roll in. Hope the forecast is wrong for the weekend.

  14. Lovely! That water is amazing - gorgeous blues and greens..and the white sands - very caribeanesque. The sunset pictures are both very good. Animal sightings are so fun, aren't they? Heron, stingray and cute mouse - I'd call that day a success.

  15. I'm with Gypsy... just don't like to walk in the sand much less run innit. I just like to look at it and smell and listen... sooooo beautiful. LOVE your walking into the sunset picture! hahaaa love the Heron... whatta neck

    stingrays and other such stuff is another reason why I don't like walking into the surf. I did when I was a kid ... a crab or two brushed by me while I was jumping the waves and that ... did it. don't like jellyfish either.

  16. Wow, that sand really is bright white. And NO ONE there -- perfect!


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!