Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Fun Saturday!

Today we took our bikes out to the beach to ride. As we started east on the island we got a text from a friend who told us the road to Ft. Pickens was open to bikes. The road has been closed since Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Dennis (2005) wreaked havoc on the island including the road to the fort. We quickly headed that way and started the seven mile ride to the fort. I'm including some pictures we took along the way. It was hot but a nice breeze was blowing and it was fun to be there.

The first building we came to was the old Coast Guard Station on the island. It is still in a state of disrepair from the hurricanes and is no longer being used by the Coast Guard.

Then, we saw the remains of one of the batteries.

Riding on to the actual entrance to the fort, we saw several osprey nests in the trees and if you look closely at this one you can see the mamma bird sitting on the side of the nest. She had probably just brought an unsuspecting fish to her babies.

We finally arrived at the entrance to the fort which we haven't seen in about 5 years. The only way to get there since the hurricanes has been by taking a boat to the island and we sold our boat a few years back.

Some of the buildings survived the hurricanes but there is still no electricity on that end of the island. There was the sound of generators in the buildings that are left standing. The visitor center floated off its foundation the night of the hurricane and it appeared today as if they're going to re-build it.

Here are some pictures looking across the island to the mainland. You can see the lighthouse as well as the Naval Air Station and downtown (if you look closely).

Here is a picture of some of the trees on the island. It's very evident they've endured some harsh weather conditions through the years.

We were excited to see a crane standing in one of the marshes near the road. He watched me take his picture a couple of times and then decided he didn't want his picture taken again.

As we rode back to our car we had to pass the shorebirds' nests and they were not the least bit happy about our intrusion. They screeched and swooped down to try to run us away from their nests (which we were, of course, not going to bother but they didn't know that!).

It was a fun day in the sun!! We loved visiting the fort again but I can't imagine what it was like for the soldiers back in the days that it was an active fort. It's an unforgiving climate out there in the summer!

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