St George Island State Campground damaged by Hurricane Michael by Barbara Edwards

If your one of my followers, you know my husband and I winter on St George Island, Florida.  We volunteer at the State Campground doing general maintenance, picking up trash, painting and other tasks. Thsi year Michael hit the island with a 12 foot storm surge. The residential area is built on pilings. The damage is great.

This is the main gate entrance.

The road that extends 10 miles through the park is gone along with the dunes.

The way is impassable except for four wheel drive vehicles.

Thank God, the rangers who live on-sight evacuated and their homes which are on pillars remain. None of them were hurt.

I know many people have  worst damage. And I send them my prayers and sympathy.  But I will  miss seeing everyone this winter.

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Itchy feet and Lobster? by Barbara Edwards

Although I posted this on another blog, I wanted to share it here, too.

Coast of Maine
Coast of Maine

I’ve mentioned before that my husband gets bored when he doesn’t have anything to do. The heat wave we’ve been experiencing made it impossible to do outside chores and he already painted the living room a lovely shade of ivory.
IMG_0014He asked me if I’d like to take a ride to Maine for fresh lobster. Since it’s difficult to write with him placing through the house I agreed a lobster dinner would be terrific. The trip is about four hours from where we live in Connecticut. i assumed a drive up and back along one of the scenic routes.
Whoops. While I packed my laptop, he loaded the truck camper on our Dodge Ram. He mentioned casually that I should take a change of clothes. Thankfully I interpreted
Williams Park
Williams Park
that to mean three days.
Of we went. then he says he reserved a campsite. Okay. I sit back to enjoy the ride. For some reason the traffic past Boston and Cape Cod was light. The roadwork that seems a constant repair, slowed us for very little time.
We set up in the campground and headed out for dinner. I had this picture in my head of lobster.
IMG_0022There are lobster places all over. Lobster rolls, lobster bisque, mac and cheese with lobster on signs galore.
Here is the big but. These are your usual tourist eateries geared to handling the summer crowd. You walk in, stand in line, order over the counter, pay and wait for your tray. You take it inside in the AC or out on a patio, usually overlooking the water. I’m ready. My husband wants a restaurant. A sit-down, waiter, table with tablecloth restaurant.
He didn’t find one. Not on the first cruise through town. Not in the second town.
I’m hungry, but I know better than to ask when we’ll eat.
He’s on a quest.
He doesn’t want to eat outside in the heat. He wants what he wants. I don’t care. I just want lobster.
Today we’re stopping at a lobster pound, getting them steamed, grabbing side-dished from the supermarket and eating at the campground.
To keep me happy. He drove to the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
Beautiful park maintained by volunteers from town.
I’m glad we went. I got two thousand words done on my WIP and lobster.
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Controlled Burning by Barbara Edwards

IMG_0044There are so many things to see when you travel. We left our campsite early one morning and noticed smoke hovering over St. George Island.

Forest fires are common in Florida. Wild fires ravaged the swamps and land for centuries before the area was settled. The thick dry brush is ignited by lightning. The fires kept the brush low and allowed animals to find food and shelter. IMG_0058

The federal government decided they knew better than nature and insisted all forest fires be fought until extinguished. This national policy resulted in millions of acres being prime for huge fires. Firefighters lost their lives when the brush exploded in violent bursts. Finally the policy changed to clearing brush by cutting, and in many areas, by controlled burns.IMG_0063

IMG_0064
Park Manager

The park rangers were in the process of controlled burning of the overgrowth. This is important for the safety of the residents. St. George Island is on the North American bird migration route and the birds managed before people when the barrier island was swept by natural burning every four or five years.

IMG_0065
Ranger Melody

The rangers burn in controlled sections when the wind and humidity are right. Over the course of several years all the wild sections are burned to spurt regrowth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t want to go home by Barbara Edwards

I admit to loving the weather on St George’s Island in Florida over the winter. Its not like further south. It can get down to 30 degrees, rains a lot and has a high pollen count in the early spring. But, a very big but, it doesn’t snow. And that’s the point of going south for the winter.

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Beach at St George State Park
Beach at St George State Park
Bill and a sand castle
Bill and a sand castle
Blue Herons
Blue Herons
sunset
sunset
Blue Heron
Blue Heron
Incoming storm
Incoming storm
Shrimp boat
Shrimp boat

Winter Storm in Florida by Barbara Edwards

IMG_0005As I watch the weather report another clipper is throwing a blizzard across the country. I breath a sigh of relief that I’m in sunny Florida. Except its not so bright.

The red flag means no boating, dangerous conditions. The waves are up to eleven feet and hitting the edge of the boardwalk
IMG_0015 IMG_0020here on St George Island. Despite the rain and wind, I expect sunshine to return before the snow melts back home.

Stay safe. Keep warm. Drive carefully,

Love, Barbara

IMG_0012

Turtle Release on St George’s Island, Florida

I had the exciting experience of releasing a sea turtle into the warm Gulf water off of St George’s Island in Florida.

IMG_0017
Barbara Edwards releasing sea turtle
IMG_0018
Barbara Edwards releasing turtle into the Gulf of Mexico

IMG_0022 IMG_0007 IMG_0008 IMG_0005 IMG_0010 IMG_0011 IMG_0012 IMG_0013 IMG_0014 IMG_0006 IMG_0009 IMG_0015 IMG_0019 IMG_0020 IMG_0016 IMG_0010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not exactly what I thought to be doing as a campground volunteer.

I didn’t know what to expect when the Ranger told us to be at the turtle release today.

When we arrived at the beach, they explained twenty-two turtles were being released. There was a crowd listening to the brief lecture.

Sea turtles are warm water lifeforms. When a cold snap happens that chills the water they can go into a type of hibernation and are vulnerable.

These were carried here in plastic boxes and are about the size of a dinner plate.

 

 

 

They are about ten to fifteen years old and won’t be back to lay eggs until they’re twenty-five years old.

 

 

The Greens were taken from St. Joseph’s Island in Florida and the others from Boston Harbor in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Many rescue centers take them in, nurse them back to health and rerelease them into the wild.

We released eleven Green Sea turtles and eleven Kemp-Ripler Turtles.

The Greens will return to this area, The others will scatter up the Atlantic coast.

 

 

I was nervous to handle these wild creatures but the one I held was placid. It was surprisingly light for its size.

 

 

I waded into the water and let it go. within seconds it swam into deep water and was gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My heart fluttered with a mixture of joy and trepidation. I won’t be here in ten to twenty years, but someone will. To see the eggs hatch. To know life goes on.

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At the Arctic Circle by Barbara Edwards

Are we going to the Arctic Circle today? Maybe. We’ve checked the weather reports and it is partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon.

Dalton Highway
Dalton Highway

It’s a 200 mile drive. Not much distance on a normal day, but the road to Prudhoe Bay is not your normal road.

It’s made for trucks and the winter has damaged it. Heaves, mud, potholes and loose gravel are a few of the hazards. Trucks have the right-of-way always.

And you can’t drive to the Arctic Ocean. It is fenced off. You must take a bus and get security

clearance before you can go. That takes time and we didn’t know, so that part of the trip is out.

So we’ll drive up to the Dalton Highway and see what it looks like from there. How far we get depends on a number of factors.

Alaska Pipeline
Alaska Pipeline

The Alaskan pipeline is right outside town. It’s not like I pictured. It’s a shiny pipe about four feet wide on stilts. It doesn’t look controversial.

The Elliot highway is rough as the ocean. Up and down over frost heaves. The landscape is changing. Scrub pine, birch and alder crowd the road. Fewer and fewer mail boxes. The mountains are rounded but high. Not much traffic right now. I keep feeling like we’ve dropped into another space. It feels empty,  not abandoned, but without human prescence.

There’s mosquitos swarming whenever we slow, but patches of snow remain along the road. And we’re not to the Dalton Highway yet.

Alaska
Alaska

At the Dalton highway, the road is no longer paved. It is a mixture of gravel and clay that sticks to the vehicle with the poer of superglue. It is a mud brown, of course and we are covered with it.

The pipeline runs along the road or vise-versa. I stare at the stunted black spruce and then the 120,000 acre burn that occured two years ago. Cause by lightning, it jumped from place to place. The traffic is almost non-existent. Mostly big rigs and a few tour buses. I’m impressed by the bridge over the Yukon River made of wood. Heck, I’m impressed by the Yukon River. All those stories of prospectors and miners heading North repeat in my mind.

Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle

We stop at Finger Rock for a photo, then proceed.

The 200 miles takes us seven hours. With a posted speed limit of 50mph, we crept along at 35 mph because of the slick mud and potholes. Not a ride for the faint-hearted.

When we reach the Arctic Circle, Bill looks around “Is this it?” he asks. I take a couple photos and laugh.

Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle

There’s nothing but scrub and distant mountains. We debate starting the drive back, but Bill is tired. We are equipped to dry camp. And I don’t want him risking injury.

We’ll return tomorrow and spend a few hours removing the mud. Luckily, the campground  has an area to wash the vehicles. We’re not the first to drive out here.

Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle

 

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