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Florida Travel~Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

19 Jun

A Time to LIve

Melody Hendrix

 

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a Florida State Park located near Palm Coast, Florida, along A1A just a short distance north of Ponce Inlet .

 

 

 http://www.washingtonoaks.org/

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd.

Palm Coast, Florida 32137

(386) 446-6780

 

The park is most famous for its formal gardens.

 

It also preserves the original habitat of a northeast Florida barrier island.

 

The park has such amenities as beaches (on both the Matanzas River and Atlantic Ocean), bicycling, fishing, hiking, picnicking areas and wildlife viewing. The original residence has been converted into a visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

The Park’s eastern boundary holds  outcroppings of coquina rock , creating a picturesque boulder-strewn beach. It is full of swirling, sculptured coquina rocks piled along the beach, some sporting circular holes, others forming bowls that create tide pools for snails and anemones.

This unusual beach in Florida is a well-kept secret, hoarded by the locals who refer to it as “The Rocks”.

 

 

One quick stop just before Matanzas is Marineland. Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and reopened on March 4, 2006. In January 2011, Marineland was sold again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of Georgia Aquarium. The facility, now named Marineland Dolphin Adventure, offers several dolphins encounters, educational programs, and conducts research to help care for marine life in human care and in the wild.

The park has a nice boardwalk and restrooms. The beach is also strewn with outcroppings that appear at low tide.

 

 

A little farther north on A1A is Matanzas Inlet. 

It is a channel in Florida between barrier islands connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the south end of the Matanzas River. The inlet is not stabilized by jetties, and thus is subject to shifting.

 

The above picture shows the inlet at low tide and across it is the Matanzas Monument location. It was designated a United States National Monument on October 15, 1924.

Below is a link to the forts history

https://www.nps.gov/foma/learn/historyculture/the_massacre.htm

Hurricane Matthew caused damage. Below, shows (Sept. 6, 2014) and after (Oct. 13, 2016)  the damage hurricane Matthew did to this area. The storm cut a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River near St. Augustine, Florida, stripping away a 12-foot dune and carrying sand into the estuary and altered a part of the northeast Florida coastline.

 

Matanzas Inlet is still a beautiful place. One of the treasures that draws me to this place is the sand. With the changing of tides and blending of the swift moving bodies of water, the patterns in the sand are truly master pieces that are sculpted everyday. Tide pools trap interesting creatures to explore. Lots of birds dine on the abundant food available. This area is loved by fishermen.

 

The rocks that add to the unusual look for a Florida beah appear and disappear with the tide.

 

You must be aware of the tides on the south side of the inlet. You can be trapped by incoming tides and forced to exit through private property.

 

There is beauty in all sides of the bridge. The inlet side, and the beach side. There is also a long boardwalk and parking on both sides.

If you love beach walks, photography, birding,  beaching, hiking or just exploring, this would be an enjoyable little trip.

Please join me next week on our last northern stop along A1A to St Augustine before we head west to the Suwannee River and some visit some springs.

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Florida Travel~Ponce Inlet

13 Jun

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

http://ponceinlet.org/

Located 10 miles south of Daytona Beach in the Town of Ponce Inlet.  4931 S Peninsula Dr, Ponce Inlet, Fl 32127

Situated on the north bank of Ponce Inlet where the Halifax and Indian Rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is a must see for anyone interested in Florida, maritime, or local history.

In 1774, the British put the very first lighthouse on the north side of the Inlet. It wasn’t really a lighthouse at all! It was simply a huge bonfire that was kept burning on top of a sand dune. A real lighthouse was built in 1835 on the south side of Mosquito Inlet.

 

 

This was a round tower made of bricks, and it stood 45 feet tall. Amazingly, the lamp was never lit. Why? The governor never ordered any fuel oil for the light. Next, a storm came and damaged the foundation. Then the Seminole Indians raided it and tried to burn the tower. Finally, in April of 1836, the lighthouse toppled over into the sea. This lighthouse lasted only a year and was never even lit!

The present light station was completed on the north side of the inlet in 1887. The new tower had a lamp at the top that was fueled by kerosene. This little light could be seen for more than 18 miles out in the ocean because it was magnified by a special Fresnel (pronounced Fra-NEL) lens.

 

 

The light station had three houses for the lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as an oil storage building and other small buildings. This light station still stands today! The inlet’s name has been changed from Mosquito Inlet to Ponce De Leon Inlet.

Lighthouse Facts:

The tower is 175 feet tall

It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida

There are 213 steps to the top of the tower

The tower beacon flashes six times in 15 seconds followed by a 15 second eclipse

The light from the beacon can be seen up to 18 miles out to sea

Approximately 2.5 million bricks were used to build the Light Station

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of only 12 lighthouses in the country to have been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 Looking up from the ground floor

 

Looking out from the top

 

Staircase and lighthouse window

 

 

Lighthouse Point Park

5000 South Atlantic Avenue

Ponce Inlet, FL 32127

(386) 756-7488

Consisting of 52 acres of pristine land on the north side of Ponce DeLeon Inlet, this park features fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming, picnicking and birding.

 

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The southern tip of Ponce Inlet. The natural beauty of the undisturbed land has been preserved for all to enjoy. Dolphins frequent the shoreline, gopher tortoises can be found in sandy areas, and other wildlife. There is also a designated area for your dog.

The Ayers Davies Lens Exhibit Building houses one of the finest collections of restored Fresnel lenses in the world, including the rotating first order Fresnel lens from the Cape Canaveral lighthouse and the restored original Ponce Inlet lighthouse first order Fresnel lens.

 

 

Smyrna Dunes Park

https://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/coastal-division/coastal-parks/smyrna-dunes-park.stml

From Lighthouse Point Park, you can see Smyrna Dunes Park on the other side of the river.

 

Although only a short distance away across the inlet, it is a distance to drive from one to another. The lighthouse is entered through Port Orange/Daytona and Smyrna Dunes Park is entered through New Smyrna Beach.

The Dunes Park is also dog friendly.

It has long boardwalks to the beach and river.

 

This park is similar as the same activities available and has beautiful dunes also.

 

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Both of these parks are scenic, peaceful and great to spend the day in.

 

 

Next week we will drive north on A1A to Washington Oaks State Park and Matanzas Inlet.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Travel Series~Titusville, Florida

6 Jun

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

I am a native of Florida. I love this state and have explored most of it. Florida is so diverse in landscapes and things to do and see. Many have not been discovered.

My next series will reveal some of the unknown beauty of my favorite places in Florida seen through  my camera lens.

I will start in my own back yard in Titusville Florida. There is so much to do here especially for nature lovers.

Follow this link to all the things this area has to offer http://nbbd.com/godo/

Titusville is a sleepy, quaint town, but is in the process of growth from the commercial space programs in development now at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Titusville community was originally called Sand Point.

 

 

Henry T. Titus arrived in 1867 with the intention to build a town on land owned by his wife, Mary Hopkins Titus, daughter of a prominent planter from Darien, Georgia.

 

A promenient feature of the area is the A. Max Brewer Bridge, a 65 feet fixed high-level span on SR-406 connecting Titusville to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, opened on February 5, 2011 to replace the former swing bridge built in 1949.

Underneath the north side of the bridge is a catwalk, the Veterans Memorial Fishing Pier, for fishing and enjoyment of the Indian River Lagoon. It is known locally as the “World’s Longest Free Fishing Pier. Many a fish or shrimp dinner was caught here.

 

 

It is the gateway to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

The land was acquired by NASA in the early 1960s for the development of the Space Center and its non-operational purposes.

 

 

 

The refuge is a natural buffer for NASA and provides a range of habitats, from saltwater estuaries and freshwater impoundments and marshes, to dunes, hardwood hammocks, and scrub. It contains over 1000 species of plants, 117 species of fish, 68 amphibians and reptiles, 330 birds, and 31 mammal species. It is a haven for birders, photographers, fishermen and nature lovers.

 

The refuge provides hiking and driving trails for visitors, with opportunities for observing wildlife without causing disturbance. Some popular driving trails are Black Point Dr, Bio Lab Rd and Gator Rd.

 

Also within the Refuge is Playalinda Beach. A quiet beach loved by fisherman.

 

Stop by the visitors information center for maps, regulations and info. Located east on SR406 (Garden Street) just over Max Brewer Causeway Bridge on the right.

Next week we will explore Ponce Inlet.

 

This will be one of several stops along A1A north to St Augustine and beyond.

 

 

 

Melody

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

God and Nature

30 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

By simply pondering the heavens, our eyes may be opened to the reality of God. And it is then that we will see His hand, His presence, in all aspects of nature!
God the Father/Creator is the Source of Nature, its power and grandeur.
God the Son/John 1:1  is the rational form of Nature, it’s beauty and goodness.
God the Holy Spirit/Love  is the Meaning and Purpose of Nature as the power and form come together to provide a magnificent and excellent Habitat for humanity and the rest of flora and fauna.
God is not only Power, but God is Powerful. God is not only Knowledge, but God is Wise. God is not only Love, but God is Good.
God is One and Three.  Power, Wisdom and Love.
Humans are One and Three, Body, Mind, and Spirit.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~The Final Episode

23 May

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

I hope you have enjoyed sharing this journey with Melody on the Amazon River. I certainly have-Onisha

Sights of the Rainforest

For the last post of the Amazon series, I have included some random sights of the rainforest and land excursions and a little more information about this extrodinary place. Unfortunately, I only have a handful of the wildlife pictures here. We could only view from afar unless they were domesticated.

Behaviourally, Oropendolas are very interesting birds. They make long hanging nests which may provide protection from snakes.

 

 

The birds feel their hanging nests aren’t enough to protect their young, as they often nest around highly dangerous wasps. The wasps offer protection from parasitic species such as cowbirds, which lay their eggs in the nests of others. These parasitic birds often kill the nestlings and force the host-bird to care for their young.

 

 

Below, the Hoatzin (stink bird) is an herbivore, eating leaves and fruits, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter.The alternative name of “stinkbird” is derived from the bird’s foul odour, which is caused by the fermentation of food in its digestive system.

 

 

This is a noisy species, with a variety of hoarse calls, including groans, croaks, hisses and grunts. These calls are often associated with body movements, such as wing spreading.

 

 

Water buffalo have been introduced, especially in the flood plains because they can thrive in a wet environment where cattle cannot.

This buffalo was in the water but quickly approached  me to find out what that strange noise was coming from. It was the camera clicking. It was a little nerve racking, but I came out alive.

Below, many sloths were pointed out to us as we explored along the river by boat, but all were a distance away. There is one sloth hanging in this picture.

Sloths are actually lazy with very low metabolisms.

 

 

Sloths sleep from 15 to 18 hours each day! Some even stay in the same tree their entire life. They spend most of their lives upside down.

Sloths are amazing swimmers. They are known to sometimes simply let go from their tree branch and drop into water below for a quick swim. They can move three times faster in water than they can on land.

Capybaras.

 

A constant source of water is important to capybaras, who retreat into murky waters to escape from predators. People eat capybara meat and produce leather from their skin. We often saw them in the villages along the Amazon.

Back to Lima where we spent our first and last day, I walked around a bit to record some of the life in Lima. Quite a large city. This was our hotel view.

 

 

 

Using every bit of space possible, rooftop living is common.

The city was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. He called it ‘La Ciudad de los Reyes’ (the City of the Kings). It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. And after the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru.

 

 

The buildings are adorned with great history and art.

 

 

Artisans line the streets with their talents.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Peru and the Amazon. Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River Part 6

16 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Nazca Lines

For our next adventure and one I have been looking forward to is a flight over the Nazca lines. We began at the Lima (capital of Peru) airport where we boarded a small but comfortable plane. We were going to hop to another airport where they would take us to see the lines.

 

 

It was an amazing sight already flying over the Andes mountains. For the most part just a bare landscape of sand and rock . There were structures that made you wonder, possibly to store or extract water from underground.

Arriving at our next airport was a shocker. All I could see was mountians of sand and an extreme primitive control tower that looked like a tropical hut.

 

Inside the airport however was a beautiful place to relax, eat and even see some wildlife. There was a sacred condor  (Kuntur).

 

 

The Condor teaches the ability of fly and freedom. It is one of the most sacred animals because it lives on the heights and rules the skies, like the master of the wind, the clouds and the sky.

They soon called us to board the plane. Oh dear….. I had a feeling this might be a little rough. It was a tight fit in a warm plane, but we were still excited about what we were about to see.

 

We arrived and the pilot wanted to make sure we could all see each of the lines by lowering one wing, then the other. The motion soon got to me. I was able to click only a couple of pictures.

 

 

There were several trapezoids. Some believe they are landing strips for aliens, others believe they are roads that lead to gatherings of water rituals.

There are a few different birds that look similar. This one is believed to be a condor.

This one is called the owl man. Some believe it is an astronaut.

And some believe it to be a fisherman holding a fish and net.

This graph I found online shows many of the geoglyphs and what they are.

 

 

Some 700 geoglyphs (Nazca lines) are thought to have been drawn by the ancient Nazca people who flourished from around 100 BC to 800 AD. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.

Many of the images also appeared on pottery and textiles of the region.

Other drawings represent flowers, plants, and trees.

Archaeological surveys have found wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines, which support the theory the ancient people used simple tools and surveying equipment to construct the lines.

Most of the lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth of between four inches and six inches, made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert and exposing the light-coloured earth beneath.

The largest geoglyph is a 935ft-long of a pelican.

The purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Ancient Nazca culture was prehistoric, which means they left no written records.

One idea is that they are linked to the heavens with some of the lines representing constellations in the night sky. Another idea is that the lines play a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.

Anthony Aveni, a former National Geographic grantee, agrees, “Our discoveries clearly showed that the straight lines and trapezoids are related to water … but not used to find water, but rather used in connection with rituals.”

“The rituals were likely involved with the ancient need to propitiate or pay a debt to the gods…probably to plead for water.”

Anthropologists, archaeologists, and astronomers have all studied the lines, but have not found conclusive evidence for any of the theories.

Please join me next week for some wildlife and landscapes of the Amazon. Hanging Oropendola bird nests below.

Peru and Amazon River~Part 5

9 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

Huacachina, an oasis Huacachina

 

 

Our next adventure took us to a real live oasis. Just like in the movies. As we traveled there to see it, we passed mostly very poor living conditions and such a harsh environment. It was for the most part, sand, heat and dry.

 

We arrived and were greeted with locals renting four wheelers to have a blast riding in the sand. We passed on that.

 

 

Huacachina is a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes.

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According to local legends the water and mud of the area is supposed to have curative powers and both locals and tourists often bath in the waters or plaster themselves with the mud in an attempt to cure ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and bronchitis.

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Water stopped seeping into the lake in the 1980s and this has now started to become a threat to the lagoon. Recently, private landowners near the oasis have installed wells, which has reduced the level of water in the oasis. To compensate for this water loss, and preserve the oasis as an aesthetically pleasing destination for tourists, a group of ten businessmen devised a plan to pump water from a nearby farm into the lagoon.

 

 

The actual process of artificially pumping water into the oasis began on April 2, 2015 and since then more than 73,000 cubic meters of water has been pumped into the lagoon raising the height of the water by as much as 3 meters. The governor of the region was highly appreciative of the effort. It was announced in 2016 that the Peruvian scientist Marino Morikawa, who created a nanobubble system to decontaminate lake El Cascajo, will be given the project of restoring the Huacachina lagoon.

 

 

I wish him well. It is an amazing place, I was in total amazment that such a place could really be possible. As far as you could see were hills and beautiful hills of sand. Just sand.

 

 

Follow me next week. Our adventure will take us to the Nazca lines. A mystery to this day.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~Part 4

2 May

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Yagua Village’s Rum distillery and sugar cane fields

 

 

 

Our next adventure was to see one of the Amazons distilleries. This one produces rum from sugar cane, but others in the rainforest offer a variety of products including ethanol a biofuel made from sugar cane and other crops, which are a cleaner source of fuel, but still has a huge negative impact on the rainforest .

 

 

This was truly a primitive distillery. We all tasted four types of the rum. The pure sugar cane rum is called agua gente meaning burning water.

 

 

 

We also tasted rum mixed with molasses, rum mixed with molasses & ginger. This is often used for medicinal purposes. The natives often mix different medicinal or healing herbs with the rum. One mixture of rum and seven root is called jungle Viagra or underwear breaker. They use the molasses on cake or bread. This distillery makes about 1200 liters a year.

 

Next week, we will be going to Huacachina, an unbelievable oasis in the middle of the desert.

Peru and Amazon River~Part 3

25 Apr

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Shaman of the Amazon rainforest

After waking and eating another delicious breakfasts on the boat that always included delightful papya and bananas, we were off on our walk through the rainforest to meet the Shaman.

 

 

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We sat in an open hut in a circle. We were all given a personal blessing. The Shaman would walk among us saying prayers in his native tongue and blow smoke on us as he chanted. We spent about an hour there. The experience was quite interesting. He had eyes full of knowledge and concern. His head dress was of meaningful feathers and his apprentices head dress was made of seeds and forest elements.

 

 

To some, the term “Shaman” may conjure up images of tricksters more than healers.

 

But authentic Shamans are masters of a sacred craft, living repositories of centuries of therapeutic wisdom.

The depth of shamans’ knowledge on preventive medicine and diagnostics has astonished even physicians who have studied their approach.

Shaman know the forest and medicinal treasures better than we do. And better than we ever will.

 

They will tell you that many human afflictions and diseases are from the heart, mind and spirit. Western medicine can’t touch them. He cures them.

Most medicine men and women and shamans remaining in the Amazon Rainforest are 70 years old or more.

Most of the shamans today do not have apprentices. So when a shaman dies, thousands of years of accumulated knowledge come completely and irreversibly to an end.

On our walk back we stopped in a location that had been logged. Each of us had an opportunity to give back to nature and plant a brand new tree.

 

Back on the boat and we will be stopping at our next excursion to a village that makes distilled rum from sugar cane. Please join me next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~Part 2

18 Apr

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Amazon River Commerce

As we traveled to our next location on the live a board, we saw several rafts along the way. They are going to a market to sell their goods.

They would build live aboard rafts with everything sellable even the balsa wood that makes the raft. They would live in them for days or weeks until reaching their destination where they could sell the goods. Then take a water service back home.

 

 

There are no bridges that cross the Amazon, mostly because there is no need, the majority of the Amazon River runs through rainforests rather than roads or cities.

The river is the principal path of transportation for people and produce in the regions, with transport ranging from balsa rafts and dugout canoes to hand built wooden river craft and modern steel hulled craft.

 

 

 

The river markets are busy. This is their grocery, pharmacy, household supplies and gathering place. They can buy many things including natural medicines for healing from the rainforest.

 

 

 

Some goods are brought to street markets in other locations. We were able to walk around here, but the guide would not allow us to bring money or cameras because of the pick pockets. A small distance away was a tent village full of the extremely poor.

 

Back on the boat, we docked at our next location where we will take a walk in the rainforest and visit the Shaman.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody
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