Last Day at West Point Lake

This is the section where we camped in the Aliner on a previous trip here.  It's steep and difficult to back into -- but beautiful!

This is the section where we camped in the Aliner on a previous trip here. It’s steep and difficult to back into — but nicely private.

We had expected thunderstorms today.  But a cloudy morning turned into a beautiful, warm, partly sunny afternoon.  What a wonderful last day of camping before going home.

Baby leaves

Baby leaves

Keeping Sheba penned and Sunny leashed seems to work best at keeping both dogs happy.  And happy dogs make us happy campers!  🙂

Rather than a wordy post tonight, I’ll just post some of the photos I took today.  Hope you enjoy them.

Beargrass (yucca) flower stalks emerging

Beargrass (yucca) flower stalks emerging

Carpet of flowers at one of the campsites

Carpet of flowers at one of the campsites

Entrance to upper loop

Entrance to upper loop

Flowers in a flower.  I'm guessing the large outer petals are actually sepals.

Flowers in a flower. I’m guessing the large outer petals are actually sepals.

The goose family I also photographed yesterday

The goose family I also photographed yesterday

I was eating ripe blackberries in Florida last week.  Here they are still immature.

I was eating ripe blackberries in Florida last week. Here they are still immature.

Little flower gems

Little flower gems

I think this is Chinese privet

I think this is Chinese privet

I don't know what these are, but they are beautiful.

I don’t know what these are, but they are beautiful.

A good book... one of camping's greatest pleasures.

A good book… one of camping’s greatest pleasures.

Thistle flowers.

Thistle flowers. Beautiful!

The Casita that was here yesterday left this morning, so we didn't get to meet the owners.

The Casita that was here yesterday left this morning, so we didn’t get to meet the owners.

Yellow clover

Yellow clover

Day's end

Day’s end. Not a stunning sunset, but nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still on West Point Lake

Our view with the weekend campers gone

Our view with the weekend campers gone

The campground almost emptied today.  It’s such a different atmosphere when the weekenders leave.

Another Casita in the next loop

Another Casita in the next loop

The thunderstorms that we expected weren’t nearly as bad as predicted.  There was occasional thunder and sporadic light showers.  But we still had plenty of time to get out for nice walks with the dogs.

While we were out, we spotted another Casita and walked over to their loop to say hello.  Their door was open, but no one was outside, so we didn’t bother them.  Maybe we can meet them tomorrow.

The tent sites are empty now

The tent sites are empty now

I did enjoy photographing a robin who was apparently having good luck hunting worms that the rain brought to the surface.

Due to the on and off rain, I spent much of the day inside reading.  I really appreciate this chance to just veg out for a couple of days because when we get home, we have our work cut out for us.  The yard is a disaster from all the limbs

Blackbirds at the lake's edge

Blackbirds at the lake’s edge

that blew down over the winter.  And there’s a lot of other sprucing up that needs to be done.

Robin

Robin

robin3

Geese family

Geese family

Ron with Sheba and Sunny

Ron with Sheba and Sunny

 

Last Day at Lake Seminole

Late afternoon sun shining through Spanish moss

Late afternoon sun shining through Spanish moss

Yesterday, as predicted, was rainy, chilly and gusty. So, as planned, we hibernated indoors and read and worked crosswords… and took nice naps without guilt!

It was almost too late in the day to photograph this family of geese.

It was almost too late in the day to photograph this family of geese.

This afternoon reached the low 70’s with a steady breeze that made wearing long sleeves feel good.  But the sky was a clear, deep blue and I marveled at our freedom to tow our little Casita to such gorgeous places and claim them as our own for days at a time.

I loved seeing families and friends enjoying picnics, fishing, and and groups of people having a good time together.  There were a lot of people here this weekend, but the campground stayed quiet.  Even the music the large group was playing was so soft that we could only hear it when we walked directly in front of  the campsite they had all gathered at.

More geese

More geese

I hope we can return here again some day.  🙂

We plan to head to Ft. Pickens tomorrow.   I am excited about the prospect of camping near salt water again.

This dad and his family were catching catfish.

This dad and his family were catching catfish.

A family affair

A family affair

The sun setting over the water

The sun setting over the water

Sunset through the trees

Sunset through the trees

 

 

 

 

 

Walter F. George Reservoir Campgrounds

View from Pine Island campground

Today we checked out all three campgrounds here at Walter F. George lake.  They are all spectacular in different ways.

Pine Island

The big expanse of water I was looking for is visible from both the Pine Island campground and some of the sites in the Old Mill Road campground.

The Pine Island campground has a large swimming beach, while the Old Mill Road campground at the other end of the lake has all kinds of convoluted little inlets and gator warning signs!

Our campground, Marina View, has the least shade of the three.  And several of the big rig pull through sites here have a view of only a canal that connects to the lake. However, a lot of boaters like them because there is also parking for their boats.  And a couple of fishermen simply leave their boats in the water.

The swimming beach at Pine Island campground

We saw tenters also in the Old Mill Road loop.

Today, since Sheba chewed Sunny’s eye drops bottle, I had to have my vet at home call in a prescription to a vet in Blakely, about 25 miles from here.  Sunny can’t do without his medication for even a couple of days without the artery in his eye enlarging and turning his pupil bright red, and the rest of his eyes looking like hamburger.  I was so grateful we were able to get the prescription filled locally without having to pay an expensive vet bill.

Crystal clear water

We also had a visitor today who looked at the Casita and exclaimed, “That is the cutest little camper I’ve ever seen!  Is it new?”  He was pretty surprised when I told him it was a 2005.  I asked him if he would like to see the inside, and he was thrilled.

We passed his campsite later while walking the dogs and he enthusiastically told his neighbors, “These are the people in that cute little camper down there!”

View from Old Mill Road campground

Sheba is also getting a lot of fawning attention from the other campers.  Unfortunately she goes into her hyper emotionally out of control puppy mode when she meets strangers.  She just loves everyone–and can really be pretty obnoxious about wanting to jump all over them.  I am surprised at how much energy it takes to camp with a puppy.  She is so good all day, staying in her pen most of the time.

Wide view from Old Mill Road campground

Every time we take her for a walk, we end it with letting her jump in the lake–leashed – after carefully scanning the area for gators.    So by the time she gets in the trailer at night, she has burned off most of her excess energy.

Then she only does minor things — like pulling paper towels out of the trash and chewing them to pieces.

I will REALLY be glad when she gets a little older and calms down a bit!

Gator habitat at Old Mill Road loop

We are really enjoying our stay here.  We have full hookups for only $12 a night with our senior pass!

Old Mill Road has several gator warning signs

Cypress trees by the boat launch area

Geese

The geese casually paraded within 5 feet of where I was standing

The marina from Old Mill Road campground

Afterglow

We’re home now, tired, but relaxed and basking in the afterglow of a beautiful week.

Little coots

We enjoyed foggy days shrouded in mist as well as days with sparkling sunshine on clear blue waters.  The little coots’ antics delighted us.  The honking of geese was thrilling.

Our long walks in the fresh air invigorated and refreshed us.  Campfires warmed and cheered us.

And the people we met enriched our lives.

 

Just Camping

View of our campground from the fishing pier

Another laid-back day soaking in the tranquility of Lake Blackshear.

We had wanted to go fishing today, but it was extremely breezy all day until late afternoon.  And by then, we were out of the mood, so I settled for just taking photos.

When I got to the fishing pier, a huge blue heron (I think) was sitting on the railing.  He let me get closer and closer without moving.  But finally he had enough, and with a loud, raucous RAAAACCCCKKKKKKK!!!!! he flapped his wings heavily and took off.

I think this is a blue heron. I am terrible with bird identification.

I took several photos of him, and one after he took to the air, but I was facing into the sun and he was almost the same color as the gray wood of the pier, so the photos didn’t turn out.

But later, as I was walking back to the campground, I saw him perched near the edge of the lake.  This time he didn’t wait nearly as long to take off, but I did manage to get a shot of him.

Geese

We have also seen ducks, egrets and geese here.  And many squirrels.  But no other wildlife — except for the fish that jump and tease us with their presence in the lake.

I am really enjoying our second autumn here.  At home most of the leaves have fallen, and the ones that remain are all brown.  Here there are still patches of brilliant color.

More autumn in December. 🙂

I thought I’d share a couple of small mods I’ve done to the Casita.  One is a fold-out towel rack in the kitchen that holds 5 dish cloths and towels.  It keeps them out of my way in the tiny kitchen, and also allows them to dry.  I had it in the Aliner, and it’s one thing I made sure I kept, since I’m not sure I could find another one.

The other mod was copied from Andy Baird’s Travels with Gertie website.  I put clear epoxy around the outside holes of the

Fold out towel rack

Modified shower head

shower head, leaving only the center holes open.  Now instead of a broad, soft wash of water, we get a nice, high pressure stream with no additional water usage.

Talladega National Forest

our Aliner campsite

Our campsite

We just got back from a week at Coleman Lake Campground in the Talladega National Forest in the Alabama hills.

The sites are spaced pretty far apart in a heavily wooded setting, so we felt like we had our own little hideaway in the woods.  A short trail led to the lake’s fishing, swimming, and trail areas.

The plant diversity is astounding.  I took

primeval looking forest

Primeval looking forest carpeted with bracken fern

hundreds of photos of plants suited to many different environments… from low,  almost primeval looking fern swamps to steep, hilly hardwood and pine forests.

A small swimming beach was usually host to children and young people early in the day.  Later, when the people left, Canada geese brought their families out for leisurely paddling around the lake.

A few people rowed out on the lake to fish while we were there.   And one couple went

hilly trail

Trail through the hills

frog gigging and came back with seventeen bullfrogs.  Ron chatted with them as they were skinning and cleaning the frog legs.

Can’t say that’s my cup of tea, but it is nice that there is an area where those who enjoy such things can pursue their interests.

Past the swimming beach on the lakeside trail, we took a side trail and stumbled upon a beautiful little hidden grotto complete with small waterfall.  Screened by rock walls and a profusion of tall flowering shrubs and trees, we felt as though we had stumbled upon a secret hideaway.

hidden grotto with small waterfall

Hidden grotto with small waterfall

Coleman Lake swimming beach

Coleman Lake swimming beach

For the first time ever, we had camping equipment stolen this trip.  Saturday night (with the campground full of weekend campers) our Weber Baby Q gas grill disappeared.  We went into town Sunday to replace it, but couldn’t afford another Baby Q, and I didn’t like the cheap, flimsy model that Walmart had available.  So we returned to the campground without one.

Then Sunday evening the camp host stopped by our site carrying our grill!

“Bet you’re glad to see this!” they announced.

They had found it abandoned against a tree in the overflow parking area.  Another camper told them ours had been stolen, so they knew who it belonged to.

I had been pretty sick the first few days we were out, and the frequent rain was starting to wear on my nerves.  But I bounced back and felt a lot better so I could enjoy hiking.

And…. we found a huge amount of chanterelles!  And they wouldn’t have sprouted without all that rain.

I’ll save the chanterelle pictures for the next post.

pipsissewa

Sweet little pipsissewa (medicinal) was blooming all over the forest.

tiny islands

Little micro islands are forming on a submerged log in the lake

unknown showy white flowers

These strikingly beautiful shrubs with large, showy flowerheads were all over in the lower areas. I later identified them as Alabama's state wildflower, the oak leaf hydrangea. They are gorgeous!

common milkweed

Common milkweed were in full bloom. We only found one unopened flowerhead with the mild, broccoli flavored buds.

water arum

Water arum - wild calla

white bell flowers

Another small tree that I was not familiar with. The flowers are like small white bells. I later identified it as a sourwood tree.

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