and the forecast is cold, cold, cold, yet again…it might heat up to 30 today, but we’re also supposed to have wind gusts of 40 mph.

delightful!

so, back to sunny and warmer gulf shores…

monday night, i asked kevin to wake me up on tuesday morning.  after tuesday it was supposed to get colder, so i decided i wanted to see the sunrise on tuesday.

i took this at 6:40 a.m.  which is a very early time for me, personally, as you may know.

as we sat there a couple of pelicans flew by, and because we were on the 17th floor, they swooped right past us.  nice.

it was pretty spectacular, and i really wish i could make myself get up early and see the sun rise all the time.  doubtful that that’ll ever happen.

i wish you could see the full effect of this shot; if i had a fancy camera with a huge lens, you could.  this person walking on the beach cast the longest shadow down there, so early in the morning.

after spending some time trying to wake up sufficiently, kevin and i headed to the bon secour national wildlife refuge, which was maybe 20 minutes from the condo.  we drove past the condos and the many, many, many tourist shops, and out of town on a little road lined with trees.  it’s funny how quickly we went from smack dab in the middle of so much commercial yuckiness to the bucolic ruralness.

there was maybe one other car in the parking lot when we got there.  there were a few different trails, and kevin and i set out on one of them.  there were lots of palm fronds everywhere and lots of pine trees. there were also lots of little signs explaining things, and we stopped to read most of them.

i love this tree that kevin is standing in front of, but i don’t know what it is.  it looked to me like that stuff hanging off it was part of the tree, but kevin thought it was some kind of invasive vine.  i guess we’ll never know, unless maybe jim happenes to read this and informs me about it.

we climbe a tower with a nice lookout, over what was called “gator lake,” but we saw no gators anywhere.  clearly they were hiding and lurking, but we didn’t look tasty to them, thank goodness.

me, down below.

i stopped a passing hiker and got them to take our picture.  i wanted documentation of us in our matching t-shirts.  i thought this was pretty funny.  we did see some old people in matching outfits, not there on the trail, but near the condo – one couple was wearing matching sweatshirts and hats.  so we were just blending in with the other old folks!

i sent the photo to bev, who wrote back, “what’s montelle?”  and of course i had no idea what she was talking about, but kevin reminded me that our t-shirts said “montelle” on them.  it was a winery we’d visited somewhere in missouri a while ago.  the winery was kind of nice, but the t-shirts were great.

this path led all the way down to the beach on the gulf of mexico.

the sand seemed whiter here, and it was almost completely empty.  beautiful.

of cours i took millions more pictures of the funny little birds scurrying around.

what a nice day.

we hung out on the beach for a while, even sat down on a towel and had a snack of tuna and crackers.  the gulls lurked around so we threw them a cracker with tuna, and the gull was only interested in the cracker! the tuna was hickory smoked, so maybe that wasn’t a flavor the gull cared for.  here he is, eating the cracker.

we walked on the beach for a while and i started picking up shells, which made me want to pick up more and more.  there was a pretty good selection on this uncrowded beach; on the beach in front our our condo, people were constantly collecting the shells, so it was a little more challenging to find good ones.

i could have stayed there for hours, but we finally walked back.  near the end of the trail we stopped and saw this stuff.

it had this accompanying sign, which we thought was interesting.

here’s a closeup of the deer moss.

do you see the tracks in the sand?  we think it was from a stroller.  this was definitely not the place for a stroller.  i’d read about the trail on trip advisor, and i remembered that some people complained bitterly about how difficult it was to walk on, and how hard it was to push a stroller.  so clearly this person hadn’t read the reviews.

here’s a picture that kevin took of the sunset on sunday night.

tuesday evening we went to yet another divey place and listened to more live music.  this was a two-man band, and they were very cheerful and drank a lot, and the aged, drunk and very cheerful crowd requested everything from dolly parton’s “9 to 5” to jim croce to jimmy buffet.  the guys cheerfully played it all, and the crowd sang along.

two older women in particular stuck out; one was very tan, had an expensive haircut and blonde, streaked hair, had a nose job, and wore very sparkly clothes with lots of flashy jewelry.  she was there with a guy who didn’t seem as happy to be there, but the woman mostly talked to her friend, a thin woman, not so flashy, who kept WHISTLING at the songs.  she was able to whistle reallly loudly, one of those loud whistles that people do with their fingers to their lips, but she didn’t need her fingers.  i was fascinated, and would love to be able to do that.

the whistling did get a little old after a while.

we left at the band was taking a break and we stopped to talk to one of the band members.  the whistler was leaving, too, and the band guy told us that she was 84!

so that’s very inspiring.  i hope i’m in a bar whistling at a band when i’m 84.

there’s always something to aspire to.

ok then,

mrs. friday morning hughes.