Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Gulf Shores, 11/6/2015

When I stepped out of my room at 5:45 a.m. to go to the beach, I encountered really thick fog and decided that I'd skip trying to get there in time to greet the sun at 6:08. Visibility at 6:30 was not a great deal better, but I was eager to get on over to Gulf State Park. For park info see

(larger views may be available for some photos by clicking on them)

Pretty clear by 7:00, but the condos and hotels down the beach were still wearing a blanket of fog. 

Obviously, the fishing pier is a great place to fish, but it is also a great spot for making photos. It is 1540 feet long, extending out into the Gulf for more than a quarter of a mile, and according to the website, is the second longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico. More info here: 

A shot from the pier looking out to sea.

And looking toward shore. 

My gear is ready to be hauled down to the beach. I'm traveling as light as possible and don't want to make multiple trips back and forth, so I only take the bare necessities.  I do not tan well, so the ever-present sunscreen and a source of shade, my celestial print umbrella, are a must.  

My nest for the day will require reconfiguring as the sun moves across the sky.

Sun. Warm weather. No crowds. Very nice. Good for several hours.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Short trip to the beach

I took myself down to Gulf Shores a few weeks ago (November 5-7). There was a break in the rainy weather, so I decided to head down there. I have missed our frequent trips to the Gulf and it has been three years since I'd been. The favorable weather forecast was a sure sign that it was time to hurry down before it started raining again. It looked like I'd have two good days at the beach. My goal was to spend time at Gulf State Park where there is plenty of beachfront to explore, an excellent fishing pier with various accommodations that include clean restrooms, and nature trails and points of interest on the areas of the park around Lake Shelby.

One thing I hoped to do while I was there was get some photos of sunrise over the Gulf. However, I awoke to heavy fog both days and decided to wait to go to the park until about 6:30 each morning. Wait a minute! This trip is supposed to be for relaxation and I'm actually thinking of heading to the beach before sunrise every day?? I guess I'm finding out the lengths to which I'm willing to go in order to get a photograph. 

Here's a shot of the sunrise through the fog at about 6:30 Friday morning.
(larger views may be available for some photos by clicking on them)

The state park is a couple of miles from the hotel where I stayed, requiring that I drive down to the pier. Even the closest hotel is probably a mile from the park entrance, making it necessary to drive if you are planning to take much gear. I had a folding camp chair, beach umbrella, a backpack stuffed with all my smaller necessities, and one of my two trekking poles to assist with walking because of my gimpy hip. There used to be a nice lodge on the beach at the park, but it was the victim of at least one hurricane a few years ago. There are plans to rebuild, but it seems that bureaucracy and funding issues have the project on hold. 

 The fog was lifting a bit when I got to the pier parking lot around 6:40 and I got this nice shot. 

By the time I got my gear together and got down to the beach, it was about 7:00. I took numerous shots of the sun a few degrees above the horizon. 

The day turned out to be beautiful and warm with few people on the beach. There was lots of fishing activity at the pier and early in the day there were fishermen on the beach as well. Going to the beach at this time of year is so different from the summer visits. Of course, the beach areas at the hotels and condos have much more activity, but the state park area is considerably less crowded. It is one of my favorite places to go. 

What a warm and beautiful day. I really enjoyed my brief time there. It has been much too long since I've been down to the Gulf. I should definitely consider doing this again, weather permitting.