Friday October 30, 2015 Most Recent Post:
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park Moving to the Ocean Side
Flagler Beach, Florida
There has been rain overnight and the humidity is at 100% when we wake up. Our front windows are soaked on the inside and the outside. Still piglet is up close to the window with his hands raised up in salute to the sun.
From our step the color looks better but this is about forty minutes before sunrise.
By the time I walk on down to the water, the pinks and orange show up. I love the way the colors reflect in the sand along the shore.
The colors are gathering in to the spot where the sun will rise as the time grows closer.
And then here it comes.
Morning has broken. Another wonderful day has begun.
First thing on our agenda is breakfast. Chocolate chip spelt oatmeal pancakes with a mixed fruit topping.
The windows clear up. LOVE that view.
Heading away from the advancing sun, we peddle out of the park the Farmer’s Market in Flagler Beach.
Highway A1A is a nice road but there really isn’t room on the edge for much of a bike lane so we ride on the sidewalk.
There are a number of brightly colored and interesting houses facing the water along the way. Here’s one of my favorites. I’d love to meet the people who own it. I get there first and run over across the road to take a picture of David peddling by.
Here are some close ups of the crew.
From left to right.
The market is held on the main square of town and is filled with produce. The problem for me is that in most of the stalls this appears this may well be the same thing you buy in the grocery store. It doesn’t appear to be from local farms.
And when it is local, it says so.
I certainly wouldn’t be too worried about non organic pumpkins which look very right for this time of year although it’s warmer here than the pumpkin days of my past.
But from my own experience as a grower in humid climates, I know that it’s pretty much impossible to grow peaches without spraying and the skins of peaches are so thin that they are one of the very worst fruits to eat unless they are organic. We tried for years to grow organic peaches and we lost 6 for every one we harvested. With tomatoes the villain is the green tomato worm. It’s either spray or pick them off by hand. I doubt anyone has been working by hand these quantities all ready at the same time.
We have enough cancer without risking any more. Still they are lovely to look at. And I wish our agriculture hadn’t gotten so far away from the old ways.
From there we bicycle over to 7th street and down to Flagler Avenue where we find the Betty Steflik Memorial preserve.
Those of you who have been following will remember my friend Sharon who came from Knoxville to Shenandoah for several days to go hiking with us. She sent me an email just recently and said we must not miss this. And though we are only here for two days this time, we move it up on our list.
The information boards at one of the other entrances which we visited on this hike talked about who Betty was but they were so damaged by the sun that they were unreadable. I was also unable to find anything on her on line but my guess is that this woman somehow was responsible for donating or making sure this 200+ acres of mangroves, mud flats, salt marsh and coastal scrub was protected from development.
We begin on a boardwalk through the mangrove estuary.
Osprey are fishing overhead
There appears to be no map since you cannot get lost but when we come to a right hand turn we decide to continue straight on and hope to come back and take the turn.
Sure enough the boardwalk ends at a nice spot for viewing the Intracoastal waterway and the houses fronting it.
Our approach is being watched. We are introduced to the labradoodle by her people who have moved to Flagler Beach from Northern Virginia.
From there we do go back and take the now left hand boardwalk turn and eventually come to paths into the coastal scrub. the paths go both ways. We try first the right hand turn which leads us into a circle around to a parking lot and the unreadable kiosk. Continuing on we find ourselves back on the board walk coming toward the paths from the opposite direction.
This time we take the other path which leads us in a short way to the marina and boat launch. It appears boats of all sizes can launch into the Intracoastal waterway here and that you can also launch a canoe or kayak and go into the sanctuary. We’d like to do that on another visit.
We walk on up to the parking lot to see how we might get Ruby here to use the boat ramps and behind the county sign we find what is clearly a memorial. So many candles, many still burning and flowers not yet wilted testify that this event took place not long ago.
From the boat launch we retrace our trail back to the board walk. While crossing a long section, I say something to David and out from under the boardwalk flies a Great Blue Heron. To say he startled me is putting it mildly. He doesn’t go far though and for a while we’re able to watch him stalking and striking for his prey until he carefully wanders out of sight.
Can you even see him in the middle of this first picture which is where he landed after shocking me?
Around a corner and further down I spot this Great Egret in a dead tree above the mangrove.
The only people we have seen all afternoon were the ones with the dog and a few at the boat dock. It has been a quiet and lovely walk through this estuary.
David spots our final wildlife of the day. For his type, he’s a big one. Do you see him on the second board?
I think it’s Jimminy Cricket.
I tell him about Winnie the Pooh and Eyore and Piglet and Tigger back at the rig but he doesn’t seem interested.
I think he’s pretty interesting though, look at those eyes and that mouth.
As I’m taking these pictures, he moves one of his antenna and puts his front foot on it. Then he actually leans to the side and over to examine it. Not sure David would want to stay as long as I could to just watch what he is doing. I need a collapsible back pack stool or something to just sit down and watch wherever I am.
Some final shots of his interesting wings and markings and I agree to move on. Nature really is amazing. The detail on each plant and tree and creature is just marvelous.
When we arrive back at the bikes, I want to go across the parking lot to visit the Flagler Beach Library. After water, libraries are my favorite places and I try to visit each one in the towns we are staying near. Unfortunately I can’t take out any books since I don’t have a permanent residence here but I still love the atmosphere and like to see how libraries are arranged and which ones still have comfy chairs or unique displays. I do wish there was a national library card so you could do something like netflix and borrow books to return by mail.
The little mailbox type thing by the bench is the “free books” section. Give one/take one.
I have to say that the lady behind the desk was delightful just like nearly every person working in a library I have ever met. But I am very surprised at the cold and rather unfriendly attitude of the woman who is obviously the head of the library. I don’t take her picture. She might throw me out.
When we return in March this will definitely be my spot on a rainy day, right there in that comfy chair. I LOVE the old card catalog. Somehow the books were much more interesting when alphabetized in there as opposed to be brought up on a computer.
On the ride back to Gamble Rogers, I stop to take a picture of the really nice mural painted on the cinder block retaining wall in front of one of the nice homes on A1A.
Some close ups of it. I think it is really beautiful.
It’s back to the beach for me when we return. David takes Ruby for a spin to CVS to pick up another refill of one medication he takes or another. This is my goodbye to this spot for about 5 months. It’s really been delightful.
One of the things in the Riverside campground where we were for our first two nights at the park was that the boat launch, which is the best spot for watching the sunset, would be even closer. But for both the days we were there, it rained and there was no sunset to enjoy. So today we head over there on our bikes. The skies look perfect and they are.
I couldn’t decide which one of these two I liked better so I have used them both. Hope you like sunset pictures as much as I do.
I zoom in just a bit to get the last of the ball of fire dropping behind the trees after coloring the skies and the water its brilliant orange.
And then came the pastel afterglow colors which reflected in the water are just magnificent. It started out subtle and got more powerful as it got darker and then faded away and we didn’t even stay to the very very end.
From sunrise to sunset this has been another grand day! It’s always a shame we have to leave one wonderful place to move on to another. I’d like to be able to stay until I’m actually ready to go. I think Shenandoah National Park this summer was the first time I have done that.