Thursday, January 2, 2014

Westward Ho!

Live Oak Landing
Freeport, FL
January 1, 2014

December 21 was our last trip to the beach. We chose a public access in Destin... James Lee Park. Its a nice park with picnic tables, dune walkovers, a playground and restrooms.

It was a little chilly with mostly cloudy skies and a strong breeze...even a little mist.

We saw a small sampling of gulls, pigeons and plovers. 

Some of them were just as confused about the weather as we were! 

We didn't get to the beach as much as I would have liked to during our 2 months here. We had way too many cold, rainy days.

I will miss the sound of the crashing waves, the smell of the salty air, the way the sand feels, and the beautiful, entertaining  birds. Until next time...

Last Sunday, we met Barry and Millie at the Alaqua Animal Refuge. Its located on 10 acres just outside Freeport.

 The refuge was founded in 2007 when a local resident discovered that countless animals were being euthanized due to the lack of a no-kill shelter/adoption agency in the area. 

It was just like being on a farm.
Alaqua believes that every abused, neglected, and homeless animal deserves a second chance.
 Alaqua has helped over 5,000 animals find a home since 2007.
Currently, up to 100 animals are adopted per month from this unique shelter which serves as a true refuge for more than 250 animals at any given time.

Horse stable
I was not allowed to take pictures of the horses as most of the them are involved in cruelty cases and were removed from the owner.  Some of them were old and sway back and some were young...

There are 2 cat just for kittens and the other for adults...both with fans and air conditioning.
Adult cat house

The kennels for the pups were great because each pup had its own outside run with toys and feeding/water bowls and an inside spot with a bed and blanket.
Dog Kennels

 On the way home, Joe and I stopped at the H A Laird City Park. We have passed it several times before but on this day we decided to check it out.
It is a small but interesting park nestled along Four Mile Creek.  As a result of all the rain we have been experiencing, the creek was way outside its banks... picnic tables and grills scattered among the trees were almost under water.



We thought the white sandy creek bottom, partially covered with leaves showing through the translucent tannin water, was interesting.  It revealed the true color of the tannin water that makes creeks look almost black. 

Nicely constructed raised boardwalks with small nooks and benches follow the course of the winding creek providing cozy  overlook areas to sit and enjoy the birds.

We were happy to have discovered this wonderful little hidden park.

As much as I love the Florida beaches, I have to say I am excited about heading "Westward Ho" ! That's old cowboy talk for   "Lets get the wagon train moving!".  I was curious about why you use the word "Ho". It seems it originated in 1250-1300 and was used as a call to attract attention, especially after a word denoting a destination.
We can hardly wait! We pull out Sunday, January 5th. Our first stop will be in Winnie, TX to visit the Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge.  I hope we will be able to meet Judy(Travels with Emma), a fellow blogger and refuge volunteer. I  have my fingers crossed for nice weather and the possibility of seeing a curved bill Ibis. Then a stop in Houston to see friends Gary and Judy who we met last August in Maob. After that, we're off to Arizona for a rendezvous with Ron, Carol & Cooper.  We can't wait to dust off our hiking boots and hit the mountain and desert trails!


  1. Gay and Joe, I believe I can offer you a free place to overnight at the Winnie maintenance facility if you would like. 30 amp electric hookup on cement. As good as or better than anything else in Winnie. ;) Let me know if you're interested. Would you arrive on Sunday or Monday?

    1. Thanks Judy....I am so excited! We will arrive on Monday and planned for 3 nights. We have a reservation at the Winnie Inn and RV Campground. We would rather stay at the maintenance facility.....we would pay since it's for 3 nights.

  2. Gay, great post; love the volunteers who dedicate their lives to helping animals! I also read Judy's blog, great news on going there. There is a great Texas State Park called Stephen B. Austin closer to Katy, Texas! I am finding it so hot and humid here in Florida this year. Safe travels West!!! Westward Ho!!

    1. The animal refuge sure pulled at our heart strings. You and Howard sure know lots of good places to stay...will have to check out where Katy, TX is.
      I would sure welcome hot and humid. It rained all day today and tomorrow it will be a high of 49 with winds at 21mph....burr!

  3. Oh, I am so jealous!! I can hardly wait til May when we head west. Travel safely:)

    The tannin water has such a beautiful color. Looks like a neat park.

    1. It's for sure we have really missed the hikes.

  4. Darn we just arrived at Crystal River today. Well somewhere down that road our paths will cross. Next year we'll be exploring towards the other gulf states before heading west. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. I love Florida this time of year, but am also feeling a llittle jealous about your early Westward departure.

    I could not leave the animal refuge without adopting something. You have a strong resolution.

  6. Beautiful refuge. So sad that such a place is needed but so happy that it's there.Have fun on your way out here to our desert.

  7. Hey, travel safe and end enjoy.
    We spent a lots of time in that area last year and also found it kinda yukky weather for the most part.
    We be running around southern Arizona and California for a couple months,some campgrounds, some desert, maybe we can finally meet y'all.

  8. Oh, leaving already? I can't wait to see your excellent bird photography. And wow that is a long drive! from FL to TX.
    I think you are getting in some cold weather wherever you are right now.
    Drive safe and keep warm Gay and Joe.

  9. And oh I do like your favorite beach picture (header).

  10. I had been wondering why I hadn't seen any new postings from you in a while then realized the problem was at my end. For some reason your blog wasn't updating itself nor notifying me new posts. Hopefully I have it corrected now. You & Joe have safe travels driving west. I'll be looking forward to seeing new scenery through your eyes.

  11. I just found your blog after reading about your visit to see Judy. I love that camera strap and think I might just have to order one. I am not sure which one you have (had). I went to the website and found one called the "kick". Is that what you had? Does it make any difference which shoulder you put the camera on?

    I like the picture of the emerald green surf. I've always heard about the water being that color, but every time we were in the area, the water was brown.

    It's nice to see people caring for animals. I love the idea of the animal shelter. I might just need to send them a donation.