Mono Lake, CA 2018

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fort Pickens Campground

Three days (four nights) is just not long enough for us to get the flavor of an area, nor explore as much as we would like, but we try.

Does Craig look like he is enjoying retirement?

I  snapped this picture of hm as we were setting out for a walk on Saturday afternoon. To my eye, he sure doesn't look like a 70 year old!

After great sleeping weather overnight, the sun warmed the day to an almost perfect temperature. I started with a jacket, but took it off after a very short time. 

Our three mile hike was through the scrub and freshwater-swampy areas of the island. There were lots of blackbirds making their squeaky hinge call that brought back memories of springtime in Wisconsin.

We have seen tall grasses before, but none that quite matched these. If I'm 5'7", the grass had to be 12' tall.

There are many trees that died from hurricanes that went through this area. Some of them support osprey nests. This one seems to have been taken over by a heron. 

Even when we don't see animals on our walks, we keep an eye out for signs like tracks in the sand and scat.  This was quite fresh and right in the center of the path.  

We wondered what critter left it. No dog would have eaten that many wild berries. It seemed way too big to have been from a  raccoon or coyote.  Could it possibly have been a bear? We know that Florida has bears in many of its parks and that the Florida black bear is much smaller than some of his northern relatives.

We asked a volunteer if there were bear in the park, but he said no. Noting that all of the mammals had been wiped out in the last hurricane. I said, perhaps a bear had come back, but he questioned where the bear would have gotten the $1 for the bridge toll!

Our day ended with a walk over to the beach to watch the sunset.  

Another good one!

Sunday was a tourist day.  In the morning we spent some time exploring the old fort. 

They are a bit hard to see on this picture, but stalactites  are forming where the water is seeping through the lime on this structure. The white on the right side is a curtain-like formation similar to what we have seen in caves.

In the afternoon we headed over to Pensacola to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. 

Blue Angels Planes

AWACS Airplane

So many great planes and stories about them.  This is a must see for anyone interested in the history of military aviation.

The Pensacola Lighthouse is just a short distance from the museum, and is open to the public. 

So of course we had to go see it and climb the 177 steps to the viewing platform just below the light.

The views were amazing on this clear warm day.

We met a few young Navy men as we climbed up and back down. They all looked so fit and were very polite. Some were there with their girlfriends. 

Climbing up wasn't as hard as I expected. There were window openings every thirty steps and each had an area that was large enough for us to sit for a few minutes and rest.

I took the two-handed approach to coming down.  Not the fastest, but I felt safer.

We ended the day by going out to dinner at a Red Lobster, using the second of our gift certificates we had gotten from our grandsons for Christmas.  Thank you boys! Grandpa Craig enjoyed a large Lobsterita, and I was the driver for the ride back to the park.

On Monday, I would have liked to have just stayed home and rested my legs that were sore from the lighthouse climb, but we hadn't yet had a chance to walk on the beach. We didn't go far, only about two miles round trip, but we enjoyed the sun and the surf.

Footprints in the sand

I know this is a long post, but I don't want to forget any of these unique and pleasant days at Fort Pickens. Since it was a National Seashore campground we got our space for half price with our senior discount pass. It had power and water, with a dump station. A great place for only $13 per night.  It is on my list of places I would like to come back to.


  1. Great days at a great place! We also had a fabulous meal there in nearby Pensacola at McGuire's Irish Pub. I think you might be right, that scat does look a bit bearish.

  2. what is that Jungle Book song that goes 'ooh ooh ooh, I wanna be like you ouu.' Well, you get the idea ;-)

  3. looks like the two of hit all the highlights of the Fort Pickens area!

  4. We enjoyed the air museum and lighthouse as well. That scat is interesting, can't imagine what produced it.

  5. I would say that retirement and full-time RVing is agreeing with both of you! What great adventures you have been having.

  6. Very nice pictures and looks like you sure did make the best of those few days!

  7. Glad that you are enjoying Fort Pickins, maybe that is armadillo scat (we did see them there!)

    1. Armadillos aren't tall enough to reach the berries that we saw.

  8. My guess is that tall grass that you are standing next to is phragmites. It's an invasive species that is taking over wetlands in the south.


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