Coleman Lake, the Pinhoti & the Beach

There are several trails in the  area including hiking and horse trails.

There are several trails in the area including hiking and horse trails.

We plan to leave for Coleman Lake tomorrow.  Since there is no cell service there, I thought I’d post a preview, and will update the blog when we are back in civilization again.

The main activities in the area are birding, camping, hiking and horseback riding.  There’s a primitive horse camp not far from the Coleman Lake campground.  I’m not sure about the fishing.  But when we were there a few years back, one family went frog gigging and harvested 17 big frogs that night.

Coleman Lake swimming beach

Coleman Lake swimming beach

For me, the main attraction is mushroom hunting.  There’s a tremendous variety of habitats from dry hardwood hills to primeval-looking swamps covered in fern.  I’m sure I won’t be able to identify most of the ones I find, but I sure will have fun trying!

For long distance hikers, the close proximity of the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail should be of interest.  It ties in with the Benton McKaye and Appalachian Trails and is part of the Eastern Continental and the Great Eastern Trails.

Gulf State Park right on the Gulf.

Gulf State Park right on the Gulf.

After that, we’re planning to head for the beach the latter part of April.  I changed my mind about the Mississippi beaches when I read that the water is brown and muddy like it is at Galveston.  So now the plan is to go to Gulf State Park in Alabama.

It has excellent reviews.  The water won’t be as clear as it was at Ft. Pickens, but it should still be nice there.  And I’m pretty sure our dogs will be allowed to walk on the beach with us.

So it looks like I will finally, finally, break free of the winter-weary cabin fever blues and go camping!

Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Pickens

Osprey on nest

Osprey on nest

This place is indescribably beautiful.  I took 229 photos today and will do my best to share only the ones I think you would most enjoy.

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

I grew up on the Atlantic coast and am used to beige sand and murky greenish ocean water.  I am always enthralled by the difference on the Gulf side of Florida.  The sand is pure white, and the water a beautiful, clear turquoise.

It’s been hot, but with the constant ocean breezes, it is chilly in the shade.  We’ve worn windbreakers with our shorts several times today.  We haven’t run the air conditioner at all.  We just open all the windows and bask in perfect temperatures.  It gets chilly at night, so we do close them at night.  Except mine stays cracked open.  I like to sleep cooler than Ron.  🙂

More of that incredibly turquoise water

More of that incredibly turquoise water

The beach goes on forever.

The beach goes on forever.

In addition to the glorious beach, I’ve found beautiful flowers blooming here in the most inhospitable places.  I’ve also found lots of wild edible plants, but since they are everywhere, I’ll skip them today.

We did have a scare this morning.  Sunny woke up sick, in pain and lethargtic.  So we spent the morning at the Gulf Island Animal Hospital.  They aren’t sure what’s wrong with him, but gave him a shot for pain and inflammation, more meds to help settle his stomach and relax him, and special food to eat for a week.  He is doing a lot better this afternoon, so I think he will be okay until we can get to our vet at home.

Wild lantana at our campground

Wild lantana at our campground

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop.

More beautiful wildflowers

More beautiful wildflowers

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

Rugged dune life

Rugged dune life

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

There are many birds here.  Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure.  This photo shows two of them in one tree.

There are many birds here. Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure. This photo shows two of them in one tree.

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba's food.  Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off.  I don't know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba’s food. Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off. I don’t know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

Since Sunny wasn't feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk.  Here he is welcoming us back home.

Since Sunny wasn’t feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk. Here he is welcoming us back home.

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