Tag Archives: Nature Photoblogger

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

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 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.

Mingus Mill

28 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mingus Creek Trail, Cherokee, NC

A half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center is Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this historic grist mill uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. Located at its original site, Mingus Mill stands as a tribute to the test of time.

The fairly large building is powered by the water that rushes into the “millrace” from a diversion upstream.  The path leads all the way to where this diversion occurs.  As you walk up the millrace you’ll notice how the wooden planks that makeup the siding have remained firmly in place over the years. Although it was rehabilitated in 1968 by the National Park service, it is still an impressive sight to see.

Ride the Wave You’re Given

21 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Sometimes you have to ride the wave you’re given. Unknown
Life is like riding a wave. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Eric Carlson
Life is like the sea, it’s rough and rigid, or calm and still, but in the end, it’s always beautiful. Unknown
The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.    Wyland
Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea and drink the wild air. Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a revelation of God in creation Psalm 19

14 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

There is a revelation of God in creation. His gospel is written in everything. As far back as I remember, I have been deeply connected to nature and the outdoors. As a child and even as an adult, stepping outside in nature was like arriving on an amazing planet. I am filled with awe and wonderment of the beauty and mystery before me. I run to explore everything great and small within my reach. I feel the presence of my Creator filling my soul with every breath. I almost hear His footsteps running with open arms to greet me. My spirit wide awake open to every morsel of knowledge and beauty I can possibly soak up. All my senses are alive with the sight, smell, sound and touch of God’s Holy presence.  A combination of inner peace and excitement comes over me. I fearlessly start exploring and unfolding the mysteries of all that surrounds me. When something catches my attention, I open my eyes, not only to see the common, but to see beyond that, to understand its role in the perfect workings of nature. What is its life story? Where does it fit in for the human race?

I believe everything we need to live, heal and survive, God has put on this earth for us. He gave us a mind to figure out the purpose of each entity and how to use it for good and not evil. Instead of treading on nature and destroying everything beneath our feet with no regard for it’s real worth, we must understand that it is Holy and is needed to sustain us. And some things are even simply for our pleasure.  We live like we have another planet to go to after we trash this one. I plead that we honor our Father’s precious gifts of earth and sky. Please don’t let our Godly gift be packaged and artificial as it seems to be transforming into. I pray our natural resources will not be traded for money or poisoned by greed. And I pray our future generations can look away from their electronics and know what is real.

God’s Precious Gift….Time

7 Mar
A Life to Live
Melody Hendrix
Melody
Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.  Margaret Peters
The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot. Michael Altshuler
You have thousands of thoughts a day. Don’t waste them on negative things. Unknown
Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you. 
Carl Sandburg
At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought but what we built; not what we got but what we shared; not our competence but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love. 
Author unknown
It’s really nice to wake up in the morning realizing that God has given me another day to live. unknown
time-2

Just be Happy and Live

28 Feb

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Teach us delight in simple things. Rudyard Kipling
Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you. Deepak Chopra
When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Relax, stop worrying, let go and just live.  unknown
zen

 

 

 

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

You’re Still Growing

21 Feb

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Melody

Quotes authors unknown
Something will GROW from all you are going through. And it will be YOU.
A seed alone in the dirt with no light begins to rot and fall apart. From that very dis-integration a life force sprouts, reaches for the light and in its own time, blossoms.
When life is hard don’t wish it were easier, decide to be stronger.
Where ever God has planted you, bloom with Grace.
bleeding-heart
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