Day 7 Panhandle Trace Hike 2013

Day 7 Panhandle Trace Hike 2013

Panhandle Trace Hike #10, 2013Click image for Google map of planned starting locations. This day's hike was canceled due to prediction of stormy weather. Some might have hiked portions with good weather, but generally the portion of the hike missed was from Opal Beach to Pensacola Beach. It would have been sandy shore or road walk along beautiful dunes. Someday, I would really like to do it. It is a beautiful drive, always less than 35 mph and often 15 mph.

4/04/2013 Staying at the Comfort Inn motel, I'm awake at 5a.m. Legs hurt. Stomach is bloated. Whole body energy is zilch. More descriptive is low. I don't feel like I'll ever be back. Yesterday I did make a plan with Peggy to meet her at Fort Pickens beach and get the campsite set for us. Me and Marjorie I think. She called and said I had to pay to get into the park and to meet her at 2p.m.

I slept to 7:30, got maybe 9 hours sleep. Still off and on headaches, neckaches, woozy weariness. I'm too old for just about everything. More later. Gotta go. Love ya.

Timed myself precisely to the minute leaving at 10:59. Wow, another minute and I'd be charged for another day. Had a wonderful morning packing up, doing yoga, getting breakfast which had boiled eggs and yogurt. Had muffin with cream cheese, milk, bran flakes. Got full anyway.

When got to East River bridge, I found the boat ramp. Got pictures of the meeting place for hikes. At the corner of Gulf Rd. and Navarre Bridge Rd. saw the chance to get some ice. Also bought a pint of ice cream for lunch. Enjoyed driving all the way to Fort Pickens, which took a long time because it is 15 mph in some places, most 20 and all less than 35. Plus I had to photo and record stuff.

Peggy and I met about the same time at her campsite. Not a good pick, out in the open, but doesn't make that much difference. Thought about Peggy's act some while driving. How I would never dream of trying to lead such an event because of the complexities. I do think she's a success partially because of not caring, not taking things too seriously, and not worrying about small stuff.

Thom and Gordy are right across the way and I've talked to them a lot during dinner etc. Nice friends. We agree about things often.

I got my tent up because there still was threat of rain. Then thought I'd wander around. Started following the Florida Trail and found it kept going. Got excited about the Battery Worth fort, thinking it looked a lot like Palenque. Fun to climb up and get way high. Went all the way to the top. Shot a pano in 16 shots around. The best part was finding deer lichen that looked as if it might be perforated as in Cladonia perforata. I have seen leporina though that looked something like that, so am not sure. It was healthy and dominated an 8x10' area at least. No little red tips like most leporina is showing now. So that was very exciting. Zoomify image.

From there a sign said Florida Trail .7 miles to Fort Pickens. On the way, to the left over a lot of dead or bare trees I saw an osprey, then a couple flying, then a nest. That was pretty exciting but just the start of the best wildlife viewing experience I've had. A bird watcher came up and verified they were osprey and said also on the campground Loop A are blue heron nests. She had seen blue birds, indigo bunting, scarlet tanager and such birds. Later I saw the indigo buntings by the end of the Florida Trail and the main Fort Pickens' buildings.

On my computer in my tent, I went through several scenarios and logistics of how to spend the last two days of the Trace Hike. It had been so scrambled with changes and my problems following them.

This campground is so fubar. People next to me shine lights into my tent, many kids do all their playing on the road right by me. The restroom lights are blaring blazing bright. Everyone is burning wood and it hurts my eyes and burns my throat. I can see that evenings here are awful. I sat here with half the fly up blocking the west wind. But at 9p.m. I put the whole fly down for privacy and to keep the lights out. The stars are overcast anyway. I do hope to open up to dawn in the morning though.

Back to intro and links to Meetup sites: FTA Panhandle Trace Hike 2013.

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