I have been "schooled" in what constitutes a National Park...and that there are only 59 National Parks. I have been to two of them this year and am only planning on going to 8 more.(Note: since 2009 I have been to an additional four parks that I am not repeating this year.) However if you go to the National Park Service's web page you can find a plethora of other parks that fall under National Historical Sites, Scenic Trails, Heritage Areas, Seashore, Military Park, and Recreational Areas as well as others. It is from this list of National Parks that I have chosen my 52 parks in 52 weeks personal challenge.
For today's adventure I chose Fort Frederica National Monument. Today was the annual celebration of the fort. I sat down with General Oglethorpe and asked him was the weather this cold on the day of their original arrival. He told me that they actually arrived in June and that it was hot, and he wouldn't be dressed in his red coat but rather his whites. I asked him why we celebrate Fort Frederica in February and he replied that I would have to wait and ask my yet to be formed government. I thought he was very witty and funny, however my dear General I have found that you did in fact come here in February. Here is a link to a simplistic timeline of your life! And here are a couple shots of the day. Do not wait for a "family vacation" to think that you can go to a National Park (and support the National Park Service while doing so!) So grab your waterproof Timberland's and find a trail, or monument or battlefield...
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Saturday, February 09, 2013
On Thursday I visited Everglades National Park. On Friday I took off for Dry Tortugas National Park! I wore my waterproof Timberland's even though I also wore a bathing suit under my clothes. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got to the island. After all it was a little cold in Jacksonville FL when I left, I couldn't imagine that the water would be warm enough to venture into. You can only access the Dry Tortugas via boat or plane. I took the Yankee Freedom boat and I'm glad I did. My only regret was that I did not camp overnight on the island. Once I saw the "set up" for the camping, I would have fit right in with my personal tent! I plan on returning with camping gear and kayaks to visit the Dry Tortugas again. On my cruise over there was a man who told me that 15 years ago at the age of 16 he boarded a homemade raft and set sail for Miami, however a storm came and almost destroyed his raft and they were marooned on the Dry Tortugas, now he is a tax paying US Citizen! It was very touching! While at the park I decided that even though I have never snorkeled before in my life, and I do not know how to swim I was going to get a waterproof camera from the Yankee Freedom store and head out to the reef. I have not gotten my pictures from the disposable camera developed yet but when I do I will post them too. When I got back on the boat, I looked overboard while still docked and saw this guy. The park ranger said, Oh that's a harmless shark...he wouldn't hurt you." I told her that if I would have saw him while snorkeling, I would have died...because I would have had a panic attack and drowned!! *The shark was bigger than me* After snorkeling I re-boarded the Freedom, grabbed a lunch and headed for a picnic table. I saw that I still had over an hour before we were heading back to the Keys so with camera in hand I set out around the inside of the fort. In the lighthouse tower I took a series of photos that have the strangest blue light shape in them. I have seen the round "orbs" that people claim are haunting, however I get those all the time...I call them lens flares. I can not exactly explain these shapes though. In one of them you can almost envision a head, hands and feet on the blue shape! I showed them to a park ranger...he laughed and asked how long I had been in the sun! Then it was suggested that I find on Facebook someone who works in the bookstore, because he is a true believer in the haunting of Fort Jefferson!! I'll post the pictures here, and you can decide for yourself!
Last week I did not go to a national park because I knew this week I would be hitting two. Unlike my first post of two parks-in-one, this was truly two distinct parks in two days. For day one I visited Florida's Everglades National Park. All of the comments I heard were similar to: "I've been coming here for years and I have never seen this many alligators out like this before." I didn't have the heart to tell them that the gators knew I was coming today and THAT must be why they were putting on a display! The park itself is a peaceful drive through the Everglades with ample places for you to stop and take photos or begin a hike away from the crowds but it also has the "popular" mix of trail and boardwalks that do not require hiking boots. However if you DO own a pair of waterproof Timberland's the park has a "sludge" trip that you can take, guided or solo (just make sure you take or tell a friend where you are and when to expect you back;) I have 198 fantastic photos! But to save on Internet space (haha and your attention span...) here is a sample. Look for day two under my post (Still At It 2-TORTUGA!)) for my second park of the day, Dry Tortugas National Park.