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

Henry David Thoreau

Around Amelia Island

Friday November 28 and Saturday November 29, 2014
Fort Clinch State Park
Fernandina Beach, Florida





It’s a chilly and very windy Black Friday.  I call it Buy Nothing Day since that’s what I do in protest of the constant media barrage to “buy buy buy”.  

Someone bought these guys some cute booties.



It was far too cold and windy for any beach time or even any walks on the beach.  Here’s what happened instead.

The master re-stringer did the small shade next to the door.  We are slowly replacing these with MCD shades as the budget allows.  We’ve done the 4 most frequently used shades and the ones that have been restrung already once or twice.  He’s become really good at this.  You can tell how cold and windy it was.  He normally does this on the picnic table but elected the living room floor for warmth.   I don’t think there has been a day since we’ve been in Florida that we haven’t had our heater on.




We also hung up our bulletin board/white board, a great idea we got from Nancy and Bill.  We get a great many good ideas from them.  Thanks you two!   I’m adding to “the lists”.   Another example of how full time rving is just like any other life with those never ending lists.







FINALLY, the rains have stopped, the winds die down and we have our first nice day in many days.  We decide to head out to check out the other end of Amelia Island.  Fort Clinch is on the North end of the island and Amelia Island State Park is on the South.  We take “scenic” highway A1A from here to there.


Amelia Island Map




This is really more of a recreation area than the usual state park. It is one of the few places on the east coast where you can ride horses on the beach.  The 200 acres protect the southern tip of the island which is the northernmost of Florida’s east coast barrier islands.  Mostly this is a spot for fishermen.  There is no ranger station, no trails, no visitor center.  There are wetlands surrounding the parking lot where we spend some time watching this great egret in his many poses.





Taking offP1040245






While we are doing that, as if on cue, a horse trailer pulls into the parking lot and begins unloading.  Being a former horse owner and always horse lover,  I have to go over and say hello.  A sniff of the neck is also in order.  I just love their distinctive smell.   They’re not mine so I can’t really wrap my arms around their necks for a big hug and bury my nose.











We don’t stay around to watch them get tacked up but I hope we’ll see them out on the beach.  We are headed over there when we get distracted.







The trail brings us up over the low dune for a view of three smoke stacks across the water.




These smoke stacks look just like the ones we saw when walking the beach near the River campground in Fort Clinch.  When we get home David checks on the EPA site to find out what they are and how much toxic release they have. 



He finds there are actually 6 facilities with a total toxic release of 3M pounds per year. This is 4.5 % of  Florida’s total Toxic Release for the year.  Together with the facilities near the campground, the total amount of toxic release from one end of the island to the other is 7% of the state’s entire total.  The statistician did the math and that’s 19, 178 pounds of toxic release per day of which the overwhelming majority is air pollution.   Boy that is a lot of pollution in this small area.   Kind of makes you wonder about their claims of a pristine environment for Amelia Island.  I guess what you can’t see won’t hurt you is the Chamber of Commerce’s motto.

If you want to check the TRI (toxic release information) for the area where you are, here is the web site.  Search by zip code works best.  Google can supply it if you don’t know it.




If you look away from the stacks, there is a nicer view.




But then around the corner, on the beach are also cars.  We knew about the horses but we didn’t know that cars were allowed to drive on the beach here.  I really don’t understand why we have to be able to take our cars everywhere.  Off roading to ruin the desert and here to smash all the shells and other creatures.   I am even more convinced when we walk on down the beach and see pick up trucks just racing around tearing up the sand.





This little fella isn’t as big as his pole.  At least, this family is fishing from their car rather than joy riding around in the sand.



I don’t know much about fishing but this looks like good form to me.  Maybe he’ll grow up to use a fishing cart rather than a car on the beach.



We walk in the tire tracks.  It would be a lovelier beach if we’d just keep the cars off of it.









At the tip of the island we finally spot the no cars sign.  Those three little brown things mark the end of driving.  As you can see, the tip of the island is a very broad sandy beach but because of the cars, there are no folks out here today with their chairs, towels and toys despite the fact that it is nice and warm and not windy here.




Currently one of the three signs is actually out in the water.






There are also interior “roads” which make for even faster racing.  We take one of them back hoping to see the horses on their way out to the beach.  We do catch a glimpse of them far in the distance on another interior road.  Perhaps there are horse trails here.  We’re not sure.



On to Big Talbot State Park.



We head across the bridge from Amelia Island State Park (small pink arrow at the top of the map) to visit Big and Little Talbot Island State Parks.  Immediately there is a sign for Big Talbot and we pull in.  But it turns out to be a  parking lot for fishermen. There is a boat launch and it looks like some nice trails into salt marsh.

We are looking for Big Talbot State Park so after a couple loops around the parking areas we determine this isn’t it and we don’t stop here.

Later we learn that it is the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier.  There is actually an old bridge which was turned into a fishing pier and bike bridge.   Sounds like a place to come back and investigate in terms of biking and kayaking.

Big Talbot is described as being “located on one of the sea islands of Northern Florida. Primarily a nature preserve and a premier location for nature study, bird watching  and photography, centuries of wind and water have eroded the island creating the park’s famous “boneyard “beach” which is covered with the skeletons of live oak and cedar trees that once grew near the ocean.” 

We turn left at the next Big Talbot sign (small blue arrow marked “The Bluffs” on the map) and find ourselves in a picnic area.  No Bluffs sign here, no ranger station or visitor center.  But there is a sign saying Shoreline Access Trail so we think we’ll have lunch here. 

We take a look around and walk up to the ‘easy to access no trail required’ overlook where we see a hammock hanging below on one of the “bones” for which the beach is known.   Here’s a close up of the hammock with its residents.  Notice the shoes.  Can you find it in the more distant picture of the beach.   They are hanging out there right above the water about 4 feet I’d guess.









The information we got beforehand about the park says it has 3 trails, a boat ramp and canoe and kayak rentals.  We don’t see any of these here. We find out later that the hikes have separate parking along A1A further down.  The information also says you can “picnic on the bluffs”, which seems to be where the Shoreline access trail goes, and “visit the beach to sunbathe or stroll along the shore”.   So off we go with picnic in hand.  The trail gets narrower and narrower as we walk.  It’s a very nice woods up here on the bluff.











There aren’t any spots to picnic up here.  All the tables and benches are back around the parking lot.  We think we’ll go down on the beach and sit on some bones but we see that at this point, there is no beach.  Must be hoy toyd.





We find a little larger “cove” where we can sit on the edge in the sand and not have our feet get wet.  It becomes the picnic spot.




We’d have preferred a spot in the sun since it is not nearly as warm here as it was on the other side of the water in Amelia Island State Park where the sun is shining.  But this works just fine.  The “boneyard” reminds me of Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina although there is a much wider and deeper beach there.




On our way back to the car we spot this giant white…….what?  fungus?   I have no idea, I’ve never seen it before.  It is bigger than David’s fist.






Isn’t it interesting?   Do you know what it is??




When we return, the ranger has been around so we check to see if the hammock is still there.  It is, and it looks like the occupants are still there too.  But notice  the shoes and the shirt are gone.  Hmmmmmm    We can’t hang around to wait out this mystery and see if they spend the night there.  We have to be off to Little Talbot State Park before we run out of daylight which is shortly after 5:00 these days with this time change business.  




Little Talbot Island State Park is just a mile down the road from Big Talbot.  It’s 1872 acres and has a 5 mile long beach and 40 site campground.  It also has a ranger station where I am able to get all the stamps for my Florida Passport book for all three parks we visited today.  SCORE!   

They have what is described as a “nature trail”.  We assume this is a short interpretive thing since that’s usually what nature trail means. So we head down to the end of the road to the last of the 3 parking lots each with a couple hundred of spaces.   This place must be hoppin’ in the summer time.  We take the long boardwalk out to the beach.  The board walk actually goes most of the way out but the last section is on dry land.  Well actually not so dry today after the rains of the recent past.








This is the beach of the day.  Folks are laying out soaking up the sun.   It is really wide and flat with waves lazily rolling in from long distances away.  It’s the size beach those parking lots need.




When we turn to the right, I am surprised to see that we are very close to the Mayport Naval Base.





Looking the other way appears to be most of the 5 miles of the park’s shoreline.



We walk along enjoying the waves, the patterns in the sand, including the footprints, and the shells.  Beaches are wonderful places.  Always different, always beautiful.






As usual, we collect our favorite treasures along the way.  At the end of the hike we put them all together for a portrait.  Here is today’s grouping.







We think we have just enough time to do the nature trail and get back before sunset.  But when we stop in the ranger station to find out exactly where it is, she tells us it is 4.5 miles long.  Opps!  Never ASSUME!!   Well now we have a couple of reasons to return to the Talbots.  There seems to be biking, kayaking and a 4.5 mile trail we need to do.  Not sure we have enough time left for all of that.  We’ve lost quite a bit to weather.


When we return for dinner things are hopping in the sites next to us.   A 38+ foot motorhome with temporary tags has moved in and set up their outdoor football watching which extends into the night and after dark.  Here’s the view out our dining room window.  I can’t quite tell who’s playing but I can hear the play by play with no trouble.




They are part of the group that has occupied the two sites down from us since Wednesday.  This group includes about a dozen kids and 4 golf carts.  You can see Winnona there on the far left.   They have pretty much taken over this end of the campground.



They even have a “patio” set up complete with chairs and a cooler on their trailer parked in overflow parking across from their sites.



The park street is full of scooters, bikes, golf carts.





Sunday is tomorrow and I’m betting the gang will be gone.

The sun sets on us all at the end of another day.  Aren’t we lucky to see it! 



  1. looks like a beautiful place to be. . .minus all the traffic of course.

    I'm always confused when there are discussions of DST this time of year. . .because we are actually on Standard Time right now. . .so if we didn't have DST, we would just think it getting dark at 5P was the norm. . .am I correct about this. . .or am I still confused? Because I feel very confused about it right now. . .maybe it's just me? ? ? ? What is the purpose of DST anyway? Perhaps we should just change our schedules instead of changing the times. . .oh well. . .never gonna win that one. . .LOL!

  2. LOL^ at Janice, because I agree. And am confused.

  3. Did I say DST? I thought I just said the time change business. It is Standard time now and therefore sunset is at 5 rather than 6. But of course sunrise is at 7 rather than 8. I just wish we'd pick one, DST or DT I don't care. I just don't want to keep switching. What is the purpose? I ask that every single time we jump back and forth. There's a blog rant every time. LOL The traffic here is not bad at all luckily.

  4. Beautiful shots... it's the sight of the navy ships that really stand out to me.

  5. I hate to say this, but, for me, sometimes your posts have so much in them that I forget what I wanted to comment on. Okay, now I remember... I really like that photo of the great heron taking off. :)

  6. I like to see all that an area has to offer and am often disappointed when I can't see and do it all do to time constraints or weather or any of the myriads of reasons that I feel compelled to move on. Since I mostly travel without reservations, I can only imagine that having your reservations end adds to the pressure to 'hurry up'. I hope that you get back to check on the hammock.... I love a good mystery.

  7. Not touching that DST/EST business - one foolish hot potato there. Wish I knew the identity of those two beautiful orange butterflies. Glad to see the EPI requires disclosure of toxic release data. Love visiting here, but would not want to live here with the high level of air pollution. I have to wonder about those cocooners. How could that possibly be comfortable in there for hours on end? I assume they know how to get out to the tree because during the time we were there, they retrieved a shirt and shoes, so it is not like they are trapped by the tide as I originally thought. Despite the crowd, I do like to see kids playing outside all day with gusto, never tiring and never going in to watch TV or play with their electronic toys.

  8. I hate beaches where cars are allowed to drive almost as much as I hate it getting dark at 5 o'clock!

  9. I sure do like the looks of sugar white Florida sand! The hammock scene is funny, hope they didn't lose their shoes and shirt to the water! It's so nice when Sunday rolls around and the families go back to work!

  10. Gorgeous beach and ocean photos, minus the car tracks! Love the great egret reflection while taking off. What a great shot:) Florida isn't as warm as many people think it is. We like to stay south of Tampa until Feb so it will be warmer. The Tampa region is great Feb/Mar. Northern FL and the panhandle don't get warm til April. By warm I mean you can wear shorts and short sleeves and enjoy the beach without freezing. One year we went to Key West for Dec and came north as it warmed. But then again anywhere in FL is better than the north:)

    Boy, you can tell it was a holiday with all those families and children! Good to see them outside but maybe not near us:) Our park really cleared out this morning:)

  11. That Egret shot is awesome. Nice to get a little horsey fix. Love your beach walks and glad you found areas where No vehicles are allowed. Down fall of parks on weekends are the crowds. Hope the partiers didn't keep you up too late.

  12. I agree too, I can't understand why they let cars drive on the beach. People don't get enough exercise as it is! It would do them good to get some walking in, and look at all the beautiful treasures that they are missing out on.

    Hope you neighbours move on tomorrow so you can have some peace and quiet again.


  13. Kills me when I see little ol dawgs in booties .. HAHaaaa

    You can tell you don’t have pets or g’kids … WHITE carpet and furniture? have I ever seen the inside of Winona? holy moly … beautiful carpet … but…

    The toxic results are staggering … it’s a wonder we’re not all dead or teenage mutant turtles…. hate it! great picture of you … they allow cars on the beach????? that hammock is hilarious! I gotta share that, Sherry with my little ol travel group … I’ll give you credit, ok? love it

  14. Missing the beach when reading your posts. I may have to drive down to the Gulf.

  15. So the NextGen power plant looks scary on a cool dry day eh? It is a clean coal power plant. The skinny tower on the left is the smoke stack and that is water vapor you see from the Wet Lime Scrubber that removes the SO2 from the flue gas before it leaves. The two fat towers on the right are evaporation cooling towers to condense the soggy wet steam back into feed water for use in the boiler again. The white cloud is water vapor from heat being removed by regular drinking water. No pollution from those at all, they are used anywhere river or ocean water is not available for condensing. So for this plant anyway, the exhaust is cleaner than the air it sucks in. There is more CO2, but it the same as for a natural gas power plant.
    The EPA site shows the paper mill and box plant and some other place, misleading for sure.
    Clean coal is not an evil thing, Liquid Metal Cooled Breeder Reactors would be better, but The big 3 killed that great program.

    Enjoyed the Egret pics.

    1. Well Tom you and I could clearly have a quite a discussion on this topic. I think "clean coal" is an oxymoron when considered from start to finish. Our only possibility for truly "clean" energy from cradle to grave is in that giant power plant in the sky. If we'd only put enough R&D time and money into making the components for solar environmentally neutral and affordable. Of course we could do it if we had the will. I am also aware that the toxic release, in the main, is what is reported by our corporate entities which have less than a stellar reputation for total honesty. Glad you liked the egret.

  16. It really irks me to see cars or trucks on the beach. When we were in Oregon on those beautiful beaches were even RVs! What a shame :(

  17. Glad to see you got out to explore the rest of Amelia Island. We had hoped to spend more time at the George Grady Fishing Pier, but you know how the weather didn't cooperate. Hope your weather allows you to kayak before you leave the area!! Oh, we so love making lists and then checking things off ;o)))

  18. Looks like a fun place to explore. We don't like the driving on the beach either.

  19. I think a TV set outdoors in a campground is obnoxious.

    My dog (black lab, Smoky) thought dog booties were obnoxious. I bought them before we hiked on the Appalachian Trail thinking he could get snow and ice between his paws. When I tried them on him it was so funny to watch him shake a leg to try to get it off. I don't think I could ever get all four on him at once.

  20. We stayed at Little Talbot SP a couple of years ago and loved it! So glad you discovered it, too. We kayaked, hiked, and biked to our heart's content, and the birding was fabulous. I'm all for live and let live, but why in the world do people feel like they need to drive on the beach? Or go camping with an outdoor big screen TV? Such a disconnect from nature.

  21. Oh, and I meant to say that your mystery fungus looks like a Lion's Mane -- it's a choice edible. http://themushroomforager.com/2010/09/29/lions-mane-a-foolproof-fungus/

  22. What a beautiful picture of the egret rising off the water! The butterflies are beautiful too and the shells. Looks like a great place to hike. Love the water and the beach - minus the truck tracks. I'm glad it got warmer so you could go investigating; definitely sounds like Little Talbot has more for you to explore...next time :)

  23. Fungus looks like a Bearded Tooth to me, but I'm certainly no expert. I smiled when I saw your plea for help. People seldom answer when I ask for help, I need to get me some more followers! ;)

  24. I really like the use of the boardwalks. They save the land from people trampling all over the place and spoiling natures best.

  25. Our vet recommended we get Tessa booties when we hit the road, pointing out that torn or cut paw pads are hard to heal. We'll see what she thinks about that! Finally getting caught up here, and loving the beach. Love the egret and butterfly. The second pic of the hammock makes me wonder if high tide took the shoes
    :-( Too much tv makes me wonder if they were still alive...... The outdoor tv and the multiple wheeled toys remind me of many years of family camping - but we were out in the middle of the desert without neighbors to annoy. I suspect my "natural zen" will be challenged in those situations, and I will attempt to focus on how great it is they are all together having fun.


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