Goodbye Acadia National Park

Near the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Acadia National Park, Maine.

M and I are heading home tomorrow.  I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit and explore Acadia National Park and a little bit of Maine.  I’ve had this area on my list of places to visit for years.  Many thanks to the park rangers and volunteers in the park.  Everyone has been friendly and extremely helpful.

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187: Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

(Point Reyes, California.)

I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.

~ Helen Keller

This week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post is Ocean.  I love the ocean.  If I had my druthers, I’d live near the ocean.  East coast, west coast, it doesn’t really matter.  I am probably most familiar with the Atlantic Ocean, having grown up on the east coast and vacationed there frequently as a child and as an adult.  But I do love the Pacific as well.  I think the advantage of west coast living would be the proximity to mountains and desert as well as the ocean.  Just think of all those different worlds and climates to explore.

Since I obviously cannot step outside or take a short drive to gather new photos of an ocean, I decided to dive into ye olde archives and bring out some photos from a place I visited briefly and would love to return to someday.  Point Reyes, California.  M and I were given a quick tour of the area by a friend back in 2006.  Our trip west was to San Francisco and nearby areas, and it happened to be a very rainy spring that year.

It rained off and on the day we went out to Point Reyes with our friend.  Even with the rain, the clouds, and the fog, I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Point Reyes is a peninsula that was first inhabited around 5,000 years ago by the Coast Miwok Indians.  There are over 120 known village sites within Point Reyes National Seashore.  The first European explorer to land at Point Reyes was Sir Francis Drake, in 1579.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 and retired in 1975 when they went to an automated light system.  We were not able to visit the lighthouse that day because the stairs were closed.

The views from where we stood when I took these photos were incredible.  You could turn in any direction and fill your eyes and soul with beauty.

Point Reyes National Seashore is home to a wide variety of plants and animals.  The animals range from large marine mammals such as the northern elephant seal to small butterflies.  The area is characterized by Mediterranean vegetation.

We did see quite a few animals that day.  Unfortunately, most of the photos I took of the wildlife (including a number of birds, some seals, and tule elk) did not turn out well.  Those that I did capture fairly well, such as the fallow deer, turned out to be non-native species.

If I could, I’d like to spend at least a month there, exploring and hiking around the area.  I’d better start playing the lottery.  😉

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

Not much has changed.  It’s another chilly, blue-sky day with a brisk north wind.  We woke up to frost and fog, and another pretty sunrise.

I had a lovely walk today.  We had a few visitors to the pond.  The mallards, who seem to have decided to stay for a while, were swimming around. They let me get closer than usual.

We also had a great blue heron stop by for a few hours.  The swallows, of course, are swooping and swirling around, catching insects near the water.  I did not see any of the turtles today.  I wonder if the frigid nights have driven them back into hibernation?

Sunlight on a tree limb

I stayed out for a while.  I thought I should enjoy the sun and clear skies while I can.  It’s supposed to get cloudy tomorrow.  And snow on Friday.

Perhaps we put away the cross-country skis too soon.


167: Bogs boots in the tropics

This morning's sunrise

The sunrise today looked a lot like yesterday’s.  There were lots of clouds and I had to wait for the sunbeams to shoot through the clouds.  It must have rained overnight.  There were puddles on the balcony and the sand was wet.

It got windy again, although not as windy as it was those first few days.  There were some pretty big waves out there this morning.

Lizard

This is not the curlytail lizard that was sitting with me on the pool deck yesterday, but I think it is a curlytail lizard.  I spotted this guy on our way to lunch.  He was hanging out near one of those expensive-looking, gated, condos-on-the-beach.  I often wonder about those places.  I never see people there.  Maybe no one can afford them.

Curlytail lizard on the beach

This is not the guy from the pool deck either.  But I did catch this one with its tail curled.  It was kind enough to sit there long enough for me to take several shots.  I’m having similar luck with the birds around here too.  The wildlife doesn’t seem to mind people too much.

Skimboarding

Yesterday evening we watched some guys skimboarding.  A couple of them were quite good at it.  A couple of them were not but I give them lots of credit for trying no matter how many times they fell down.  It was all very entertaining and looked like fun.

I’m going to wrap this up.  I keep looking out at the ocean, my mind and spirit wanting to be outside rather than in here.  I hear winter will be welcoming us back to the Bogs when we return.  Might as well enjoy the warmth of Florida’s great outdoors while I can.

8)

Post title once again courtesy of my search engine terms.  My thanks to go out to the folks who come up with such great topics.


165: Dancing on the bar

Today's sunrise

It was (and still is) a gorgeous day here in south Florida.  Gorgeous!  The wind has finally blown itself out, the ocean was amazingly calm this morning, and shortly after sunrise the clouds on the horizon had disappeared and the sky has been nothing but clear and blue.  It’s hard to believe that, for calendar purposes, it’s winter.

Today's sunrise (2)

The difference in colors in the sunrise shots is due to a change in the white balance setting.  I took the first photo on the “open shade” setting and the second in “tungsten.”

I promised you some flowers today.  Once again, I don’t know what most of them are so we’ll have to enjoy them without their labels.  If I was good at that sort of thing, I’d make up my own names for them.

It’s day 165 of my commitment to get outdoors every day for a year.  That leaves me only 200 more days to go.  To be honest, I find it hard to believe I’ve made it this far, especially through the winter months.  Summer will likely bring the next challenge as I am not a fan of hot and humid weather except for this brief visit with it during the winter when we fly away to Florida.

My outdoor time here is so much different from at home.  And yet, in some ways, it is very much the same.  The differences include the weather (of course), the sand, the ocean, the air (salty, humid), and the people.  The similarities include water, seeing something new every time I go out even though I’m walking pretty much the same paths, and the walking itself.

The gathering

The biggest difference of all right now is the amount of time I spend in the water.  We were finally able to spend some quality time in Mother Ocean today.  The water was wonderful.  I’m not sure what the water temp is but it’s certainly as warm as (if not warmer) than the ocean temps at the Jersey shore in August (which is where I spent a few weeks every summer when I was a child, and M and I have occasionally vacationed there in late summer once or twice in the last decade or so).

We went swimming this morning during high tide, staying out for an hour or so.  And then again this afternoon (for a long while) at low tide.  The cool thing, during both tides, are the sand bars.  I had to do a little dance while I was (way) out there just so I could say I danced on the bar.

I’ve also been in the pool once or twice and had some quality hot tub time twice today, too.  I’m turning into a water baby.  Or a fish.

The beach was the most crowded I’ve seen it this year or last year.  Today was perfect.  You couldn’t ask for a better day and if you did, you’d either be greedy or impossible to satisfy.

When we walked over to the square for lunch today we saw a flock of wild parrots.  Or parrot-like birds.  The only other time I’ve seen wild parrots was in San Francisco.  I don’t think I managed to get any good shots of them (or they would be on the blog), but do have this post regarding the movie, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Well, the sun will be setting soon.  That means it’s time for M and I to find some dinner.  Since we had a big lunch, we’ll probably pick up some salads tonight and eat them here, on the balcony.  It’s a great evening for sitting outside and listening to the ocean.


163: Beach watching

Sunrise this morning was lovely.  The winds were still blowing and gusting like crazy, and there were a few times when I thought I might get blown away, but it’s still wonderful to be near the ocean and watch as the sun appears to rise from the water.

(Fake sky, real palm trees.)

Today was moving day for us.  You see, the resort where we stayed last year and moved to today rents apartments/condos on a weekly basis only.  We decided we would add two extra days to our stay this year since a one-week stay means two of those days are taken up by travel.  We wanted a full week to enjoy the beach.  So we had to book two nights at another place.  Nothing is terribly cheap here, especially if you have an ocean view.  But we didn’t do too badly.  The room was small, but served its purpose.

Now that we’re settled into an apartment, we can do a little less eating out.  That’s a good thing.  Although we’re getting plenty of exercise, I’m not sure it makes up for the calories of all the food we get served in a restaurant.  Not that I belong to the clean plate club anymore.  Still, sometimes it’s hard to resist the food I intended to leave behind or take home, especially when the waiter or waitress takes their time about clearing the plates.  The longer it sits there, the more likely I am to eat it.  I suppose that’s why the diet gurus recommend asking for a take-home box and halving the food as soon as it is served.

We did have to spend a few hours waiting to get into the apartment.  Check out time at our hotel was 11:00am and check in at the apartment was 3:00pm.  So we sat on the deck, watching the surfers, the waves, the people on the beach, and the storm clouds as they approached.  It rained like crazy for a little while.  I hear Florida really needs the rain (and there are some wildfires south of here) so I’m not complaining.  Mother Earth will do as she wills.

I enjoy watching the surfers so I am doubly not complaining about the wind and big waves.  It brought the surfers out today.  It has also brought out the kite surfers.  I have more than a few photos of kite surfers, too, but haven’t gotten around to uploading them yet.

I decided I would much rather show you this guy, skiing on the beach.  The first time he went by, I was so surprised and so busy watching him that I didn’t grab the camera in time (I had it tucked away in case of rain).  I almost missed him on the way back, too.  It was just starting to rain when he passed by again.  Under his hood, by the way, is a thick winter hat.

I looked it up and apparently there are people who miss winter so much that they are sand skiing.  Who’d have thunk it?

(Man ‘o War)

M and I have not spent much time in the ocean yet.  That is partially due to the roughness of the waves and the riptides.  The other part of the blame goes to the jellyfish.  That’s not exactly true.  It’s due to the Man ‘o War, which is not a true jellyfish.  There were many washed up on the beach our first day here and I’ve been giving them a wide berth during our walks on the beach.

I’m not going to get around to finishing up the story of our tour of the Intracoastal Waterway.  Unless we have a day that’s too stormy to get out and about, it’s unlikely I’ll find the time.

I feel spoiled.  As I sit here typing I can watch the waves and clouds (another storm is coming) roll in.  The water is an amazing shade of turquoise, and not nearly as rough and choppy as it has been.

Life is really good.  🙂


Favorite Photo

(Point Reyes, CA. Photo by Robin. 2006)

The last of the photo challenges came from Sock Girl who asked to see my favourite photo. Talk about a tough challenge!!

Almost every photo of friends and loved ones (especially my granddaughter) is a favorite so I thought I’d continue to avoid photos that are peopled with people.

Some of my favorite photos are from our trip to San Francisco and Yosemite. The Yosemite photos have a dark and mysterious look to them due to the weather at the time (snow, rain, and fog). In San Francisco, I marvelled at the colors. The surrounding area reminded me (a lot) of Scotland for some reason. I fell in love with Scotland years ago during our first visit so anything that reminds me of Scotland has got to be good.

One of the places we got to visit on our trip to San Francisco was Point Reyes. What a wild and lovely area! We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time there as I would’ve liked (that was true of the entire trip). The photo above is a small sampling of the many beautiful things we saw during our visit to Point Reyes. It was very difficult to pick just one, but I think this is most representative of the area.

That should wrap up the photo meme challenge for now. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!