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
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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.

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Waiting for Tropical Storm Isaias

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

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.

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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!

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Hawk hanging around the campground in Flamingo

The sunrise was spectacular over Florida Bay.

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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.

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Egrets and Spoonbill at Eco Pond

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Wood Stork

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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.

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White Pelicans in Florida Bay

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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.

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Florida

State 7:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states we have visited alphabetically. If you are looking for Connecticut or Delaware, we’ve never been to either of those states (except to drive through the Delmarva Peninsula without stopping) so the next state is

Florida

Florida became the 27th state on March 3, 1845. The capital is Tallahassee.

We started vacationing in Florida back in the 70’s and have traveled all around the state both before and after our RV travels began. For many years we traveled to the Florida Keys at least once a year. We’ve traveled all along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf Coast, to small towns and big cities, gone scuba diving and snorkeling in the beautiful coral reefs, caught many fish, boated to remote islands, visited museums and lighthouses, attended sporting events, tasted amazing seafood and key lime pie, explored two national parks and a national seashore, observed graceful birds and other wildlife, kayaked and canoed in the rivers, swam in the springs, watched many sunsets, and walked on some of America’s most beautiful beaches.

Florida is famous for it’s beautiful beaches  and theme parks.

Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Micky welcomes us to the Magic Kingdom
Mickey welcomes everyone to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World

There’s so much more to the Sunshine State than it’s beaches and theme parks.

With it’s many birds, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes, Everglades National Park is one of my favorite national parks.

Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park
Pa-Hay-Otee Overlook in Everglades National Park

The only way to get to Dry Tortugas National Park is to take a boat ride or seaplane trip from Key West.

Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park
Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park

Explore Fort Pickens and walk on miles of sugar white sand beaches in Gulf Islands National Seashore .

One of the cannons atop Fort Pickens
One of the cannons atop Fort Pickens

There are many small islands accessible only by boat. Picnic Island in the lower keys was one of our favorites.

Popular boating destination in the lower Florida Keys
Popular boating destination in the lower Florida Keys

Cedar Key is one of the small waterfront towns we love to visit.

Honeymoon Cottage, Cedar Key, Florida
Honeymoon Cottage, Cedar Key, Florida

I loved the  Art Deco buildings in South Beach Miami.

South Beach, Miami, Florida
South Beach, Miami, Florida

It’s always fun to stroll along the waterfronts.

Shrimp boats on the Appalachacola Waterfront
Shrimp boats on the Appalachacola Waterfront

There are interesting structures to discover. The Perky Bat Tower on Sugarloaf Key was built in 1929 to house bats to help control the mosquito population. Unfortunately, the bats flew away and never returned.

The Bat Tower, Sugarloaf Key
The Perky Bat Tower, Sugarloaf Key was built in 1929

The Spring House in White Springs on the Suwanee River was a huge tourist destination in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Spring House at White Springs, Florida
Spring House at White Springs, Florida

There’s a famous headstone in the Key West Cemetery.

Famous headstone in the Key West Cemetery
Famous headstone in the Key West Cemetery

U.S. Highway 1 goes from Fort Kent, Maine to Key West and we’ve been to both ends. The Southernmost Point in the continental United States is also in Key West.

Mile Marker Zero
Mile Marker Zero in Key West

The variety of birds never ceases to amaze me.

White Pelicans and Cormorants around Cedar Key
White Pelicans and Cormorants around Cedar Key

Green Heron with fish in mouth Everglades National Park
Green Heron with fish in mouth Everglades National Park

Red Shouldered Hawg Big Cypress Preserve
Red Shouldered Hawk Big Cypress Preserve

Tiny key deer, endangered gopher tortoise, manatees, and of course alligators are some of the wildlife to be found.

Key Deer
The Key Deer located around Big Pine Key are just a little bit bigger than a Labrador Retriever

Gopher Tortoise at our campsite Silver River State Park
Gopher Tortoise at our campsite Silver River State Park

Aligators along the Anhinga Trial, Everglades National Park 2012
Alligators along the Anhinga Trial, Everglades National Park 2012

Manatee in Homossassa Springs
Manatee eating a carrot in Homossassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Florida is home to beautiful springs and rivers.

Salt Springs
Salt Springs

Hillsborough River
Hillsborough River

Big Shoals on the Suwanee River
Big Shoals on the Suwanee River

Don’t forget the lighthouses.

Cape Florida Lighthouse
Cape Florida Lighthouse

Nothing better than freshly caught fish for dinner! We cooked up this grouper after one of our most memorable fishing trips many years ago.

Henry with the biggest catch of the day!
Henry with the biggest catch of the day!

Many Major League Baseball teams play their spring training games in Florida.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney's Wide World of Sports
Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports

The historic Fort Gates Ferry carries people and vehicles across the St. Johns River.

Waiting to cross the St. John's River on the Fort Gates Ferry
Waiting to cross the St. John’s River on the Fort Gates Ferry

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California     Colorado