Beach Rats & Mourning Doves

Beach rat

Beach rat

I spent most of the morning under the awning or inside surfing and cleaning the trailer trying to  hide from the sun.  I didn’t want my bad sunburn to get any worse.

Another view of the beach rat

Another view of the beach rat

By afternoon I couldn’t stand the inactivity any longer, so took off on the trail toward the Fort.  That part of the island is a lot prettier than the nature walk area, I think.  Also, I didn’t want to leave without seeing the beach on the Bay side.

I was underwhelmed with the Bay after seeing the spectacular turquoise Gulf.  There was a big oil slick (at least I think that’s what it was) that made the water look dirty.  So I didn’t stay there long.

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

On the trail I met a guy who was just finishing up a hike of the entire Florida Trail.  I was thrilled at his accomplishment, but I can’t say I didn’t feel a twinge of envy.  🙂

When I got back from my walk, I settled down in the shade and started working a crossword.  I looked up and saw two mourning doves strolling through our campsite.  After I had gotten several photos, I glimpsed something dark out of the corner of my eye.   When I turned to look,  I saw FOUR rat-like creatures just a few feet behind my chair.  I was too curious to be afraid.

Mourning dove

Mourning dove

Three of the rats disappeared into the underbrush, but one busied himself eating leaves a few feet from my chair.  Then the doves ambled over toward the same area.   They got within two or three feet of the rat, totally ignoring him… and the rat ignored them right back.

I wasn’t sure if they were really rats or not, so I showed a couple walking past our site the header photo and asked them if they knew what it was.  The guy said, “I think it’s a rat.”  Other campers had told us that since the rain the other day the rats had come out in force.  So Ron walked over to the camp host’s site and asked him what they were.

Another dove photo

Another dove photo

He said, “They’re beach rats.  They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.  But if you mess with them, they will bite.”

The armadillos are so brave, they will venture within a few feet of Sheba, and only run away when she starts barking at them.  None of the animals here show any fear at all.

I ended up cooking chicken tenders this evening.  Sorry, Wayne… we’ll have to catch Jo Patties next time!

Pair of doves

Pair of doves

We leave tomorrow for parts unknown.  Friday is a bad time to leave without reservations, but we’re not sure how far we’ll feel like going, so we’ll find someplace to stay.  If all else fails, there is always Walmart.  🙂

Rat and doves together

Rat and doves together

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food

Last Day at Ocean Pond

campground road

Main campground road

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

Rarely have I felt such a profound sense of peace as at this campground.  Many campgrounds are quiet and peaceful, but this one outdoes them all.  Our loop is full of weekend campers, but I just stepped outside at 9:45 p.m., and the only sounds are the night sounds of –maybe cicadas?  Tree frogs?  (Last night’s noisy campers left early this morning.)

There are no street lights here so it feels almost like we have the forest to ourselves.  This is the only place I’ve stayed that I haven’t gotten antsy to move in a week.  In fact, I almost regretted that we are leaving tomorrow.  I think this is a place I could happily spend the winter.

Cypress tree

Cypress tree

At least, I felt that way until Ron got the truck packed this evening, and I finished my shower and turned the water heater off.   Now all we have to do is unhook the water and electric and make the beds in the morning and we’ll be ready to go.

We were considering boondocking in one of the Ocala National Forest campgrounds that don’t have hookups.  But then I remembered that big rigs will be running generators there.  So we’ve decided to head for Salt Springs instead.  They have full hookups for $16.00 a night with our senior pass.  And hookups mean no generator noise.

Florida Trail sign

Florida Trail sign

We are going to have to head back home in 9 or 10 days.  Ron’s temporary driver license is expiring.  We had our mail forwarded to Mom’s house this trip so we could pick up the permanent license as soon as it arrived in the mail.  But we didn’t realize they won’t forward driver licenses.  So a trip back home is mandatory.

Ron considered leaving me here and driving back home and taking care of business, then coming back.  But that would leave me without a vehicle.  And I need to see my doctor anyway, so we’ll just cut the trip short.  Then, maybe after we get done with taxes, we can head back down here.

Picture of the trail.  See, I really was there!  :D

Picture of the trail. See, I really was there!

We decided to check out one of the trails here this afternoon.  I had heard that there was a short trail that we could easily manage.  So we headed toward the trail sign and discovered that it was actually part of the scenic 1400 mile long Florida Trail! We walked a short distance just so I could say I hiked on the Florida Trail.  😀

Really cute tent

Really cute tent

Cute little Aliner

Cute little Aliner

Miniature garden growing in stump

Miniature garden growing in stump

Finally!  A mushroom sighting.  But I don't know what it is.  It looks similar to a Northern Tooth, but the books say they don't grow south of Tennessee.

Finally! A mushroom sighting. But I don’t know what it is. It looks similar to a Northern Tooth, but the books say they don’t grow south of Tennessee. (on edit – A member of my wild mushrooms forums has identified it as Spongipellis pachydon.)

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