Lens-Artists #108: Sanctuary

This week, our guest host Xenia of Tranature has chosen Sanctuary for our challenge. She reminds us that “Sanctuary can be found and created in a garden, a park, a field of wild flowers and by the sea …… watching wildlife, listening to birdsong …… along the forest trails and in the mountains.” She has asked us to show where we find it or how we create our calm and healing.

America’s National Parks and Wildlife Refuges are national treasures and wonderful places to find sanctuary.

Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park
Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park
20180214Okefenokee-Boat-Tour-(78)
Cypress Trees in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska

Closer to home, I can find my sanctuary watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean on one of Georgia’s barrier islands (image at the top of the page), walking on the beach, or watching the birds and butterflies in my backyard butterfly garden.

20200803-Tropical-Storm-Isaias-(28)WP
Waiting for Tropical Storm Isaias

20200727-Hummingbird-(8)small

Xenia, thank you for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Sanctuary

Throwback Thursday #18 – January 30, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 5 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

After enjoying our stay in Alafia State Park, we spent a few days in Salt Springs in the Ocala National Forest before stopping at one of our all time favorite campgrounds on our way north. On this day eight years ago, January 30, 2012, we were camped at Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo, Georgia in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It was our last stop before going home.

We had camped there several times before but this stay at the park was quite different from our other visits. In 2011, a wildfire burned for days in the area and a lot of the woods were badly burned.

As we the drove the last few miles to the park entrance we were saddened to see the devastation caused by the 2011 wildfire.

20120130 Stephen C Foster (3)
Stephen C Foster State Park after 2011 wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp

The fire also destroyed part of the walkway through the nature trail.

20120130 Stephen C Foster (2)
Stephen C Foster State Park after 2011 wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp

We returned to the park several times after the fire and the area is recovering nicely. There are pictures from our 2018 visit at The Land of Trembling Earth.

It was great fun wandering around Florida that year. Except for a few cold days in the early part of the trip, most of the days were warm and sunny. We even had a few days when we could wear shorts!

We were gone for 36 days and went a total of about 3000 miles and have lots of good memories.

Throwback Thursday #17 – January 23, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 4 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

After leaving Everglades National Park we spent a couple of nights in the Big Cypress Swamp before heading north for the rest of our journey back to Georgia. On this day eight years ago, January 23, 2012, we were camped at Alafia River State Park in Lithia, Florida, east of Tampa. A quiet waterfront site on Lake Alafia (pronounced Al-a-FI) was just what we needed.

20120122Alafia-River-(2)
Alafia River State Park, Florida

20120122Alafia-River-(3)
Alafia River State Park, Florida

Would you believe there is mountain biking in the state of Florida? The state park is located on land which was once a phosphate mine. The mining company donated over 6000 acres to the state for the state park and there are several mountain bike trails on the mounds which were created by the mining. We walked along some of the trails and even saw a few mountain bikers.

20120124Alafia-River-(11)
Alafia River State Park, Florida

20120124Alafia-River-(16)
Alafia River State Park, Florida

There is also Equestrian camping in the campground and we saw several horses during our stay.

20120124Alafia-River-(4)
We met a few horseback riders in the park

Throwback Thursday #16 – January 16, 2012

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips. This January I am highlighting our January, 2012 snowbird trip to Florida.

Part 3 of our January, 2012 RV trip around Florida

On this day eight years ago, January 16, 2012, we were camped in Everglades National Park in Flamingo, Florida. This was the southern most location of our 2012 snowbird journey.

One of our favorite drives in Florida is Highway 41, a National Scenic Byway which goes  from east and west through the Everglades. We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in the Big Cypress National Preserve for a look at the alligators before continuing on to the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park.

20120116AMAlligators-at-Oasis-(7)
We stopped at the Oasis visitor center on Highway 41 to check out the alligators

Our first time camping was three years earlier (more about that stay at Throwback Thursday #13 – December 5, 2009). The big difference between our 2009 visit and this visit was they had added electricity to some of the sites. There were only a few electric sites and they were available on a first come basis so we made sure to get there early enough to score the last one! Woo hoo!

20120116Flamingo-Campground-(23)
Hawk hanging around the campground in Flamingo

The sunrise was spectacular over Florida Bay.

20120117Flamingo-(15)
Sunrise in Flamingo, Everglades National Park, Florida

The birding was also spectacular.

Flamingo is remote, natural, and wild. My kind of place.

 

Throwback Thursday #13 – December 5, 2009

We’re not traveling as much in our fifth wheel anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.

On this day ten years ago, December 5, 2009, we were camped in the Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park. We spent the day exploring the national park around Flamingo.

After entering Everglades National Park, the drive to the Flamingo Campground is another 38 miles through the park. Flamingo is the southernmost place in the mainland of the U.S. (The southernmost point in the U.S. is farther south in Key West.)

I wandered from our campsite in the morning to nearby Eco Pond where many wading birds were gathered.

20091205Flamingo-(46)
Egrets and Spoonbill at Eco Pond

20091205Flamingo-(7)
Wood Stork

20091205Flamingo-(13)
Roseate Spoonbill

Later in the day we went for a boat ride on a big pontoon boat in Florida Bay. There were some White Pelicans on a sandbar close to the boat. There were also hundreds of White Pelicans on a sand bar too far away to take pictures. As we headed back to the dock the rain started coming down.

20091205Flamingo-(75)
White Pelicans in Florida Bay

20091205Flamingo-(79)
Florida Bay on a rainy day

The Flamingo area of Everglades National Park is far from civilization and a wonderful place for bird watching and seeing other wildlife. In addition to the birds visitors can observe alligators and crocodiles in the wild. During certain times of year there may even be manatees in the water.

We enjoyed our stay so much we returned in 2012.