|You start with two relatively calm older dogs and add a cute little youngster to the mix then the fun begins. This series of photos gives you a glimpse of what it was like. The little guy was so excited to see the big dogs that he was hard to contain, planting kisses on all within reach.|
|This was the best I could do, to at least get a face of each, all with their eyes open. There is nothing sweeter or nicer than a golden retriever|
A busy week followed trying to return an office which had been strewn with tax paper work to resemble a bedroom where young ladies could reside was a quite a challenge. The other bedroom was no better with Bruce building a "Super" computer for a customer in that room. My neice Amy (daughter of my Washington State brother) and three of her friends asked for a warm sunny place where four financially challenged college co-eds could to spend their Spring Break. Being the parent and step parent of only male offspring, having a full house of young females would be a new experience. The plane landed just after our cold front passed through creating a cool blustry day but to the girls it was perfect-no rain.
Their arrival on my birthday was a great gift for me. I have never gotten to spend much time with Amy because they always lived afar and she was one of only 3 girls in our whole clan.
I borrowed two more bikes, enough to go around and they hiked, biked, walked the beach and enjoyed escaping for a while the rainy season in Tacoma. Of course the weather did not cooperate for us to have the beach party birthday bash I planned that first night. We still did the traditional low country boil on my patio instead. We have Hannah and Melanie, best friends from childhood from Portland, Kayla from Montana, and Amy from Anacortes, Washington, great house guests all.
|They waited on me to take them after work on a tour of the driftwood beach or as the locals call it The Graveyard. The tide was the lowest I had seen it on my many trips out there and I think in the future I will always plan to go at dead low tide. The patterns in the low beach were especially pretty then.|
|Such a great place to explore at any age.|
|We saw a few of the Jellies and as they say when you start seeing the Jellies the Sea Turtles will not be far behind. Turtle Patrol begins in two weeks. The color in the fringe area of the Jelly is an amazing color especially the patterns. I was shocked to see when I touch the surface of the color on another one which had beached, that the color is very fragile and rubbed off with just a light touch once it had been exposed to the dry air for a little while.|
|More intricate patterns on the beach amid all the giant pieces of driftwood.|
|A little bit of horseplay and photo opting. Me thinks I would rather be the rider than the ridee.|
|Looks like a giant SeaTurtle egg hatching on the beach...oh, that is just Hannah.|
|The driftwood on this beach is so amazing for a visiting photographer. The Sun's light was great but would soon be dipping too low. One day I will be disciplined enough to get down there for a sunrise with the tide low.|
|We believe we have found our own Loch Ness monster, maybe even a pair of them.|
|This is the once-undersurface root system of a 'Live Oak' which actually did not fall, but died when the sand literally washed out from under it. This shows very well how massive an oak tree's root system can be. The roots fuse together over time, creating a base for the tree that would allow withstanding the storms of time.|
|Everywhere you look are wonderful shapes to capture. In the background is Amelia Island, just north across the Amelia Sound.|
|More great skeletal remains to interest our eyes with the light from the sun reflecting off the sand behind.|
|Have two Mermaids washed onto the roots to sun themselves???|
|The bleached and cleaned-by-mother-nature oyster shells glisten against the dark brown of this driftwood.|
|A driftwood Pheonix seems to be rising from the ashes.|
|The black rock like formations tell why the path to this place is called Blackrock Trail.|
|As Nessie the sea monster looks on a view of the other direction toward Little Talbot Isalnd shows even more of the semi-sandrock formations.|
|A fisherman makes us envious as he pulls in what he says is a Black drum, (but I'm pretty sure it is a Sheepshead), from the waters. He is very lucky to have caught it on a piece of dead shrimp. I guess this is why I see so many fisherman parked near the head of the trail leading to this point.|
|After a full day of biking and hiking the girls reject an evening listening to music at the Ritz Carlton in favor of an evening around the fire on the patio making Smores with Hannah strumming her ukelele while they sang along. My kind of girls.|
|For all you parents and grandparents I will pass this new idea along so that your kids and grandchildren will think you are cool. It is a new thing to roast over the open fire. This is not a Marshmellow but a Starburst, yes, the kind you buy in a pack at the grocery check out. Stick it above the fire on your roasting stick until it gets almost hot enough to drip, then carefully eat it without burning your mouth for a new tangy treat.|
|Most nights we cooked in but our one restaurant foray out in the commercial scene was to go to Sandy Bottoms because that is the only place on the island where you actually can sit on the beach and eat. We did opt to eat inside this once because one of our favorite groups, Instant Groove, was playing.|
|One of the problems with eating on the beach is that if you leave your table you may have uninvited dinner guests...after all this is their house. He loved the French Fries and got his fill before leaving.|
|The girls wanted to see a real live alligator out in the wild, -no zoo stuff, but the real deal. Off to the Greenway we went, on their last full day here. Sister Susan came up to hang out with us girls since it was my day off also. We found this cute little turtle. My sister almost went swimming with the gators when she tried to catch it to take it home to be with her granddaughter's turtle. Of course I knew she couldn't catch it barehanded. I have to give this city girl some training on leaving things in the wild alone.|
|A beautiful Great White Egret with his mating plumage sat regally in the snag which sits in the middle of the Greenway water. The girls had followed Sis on to the car because they encountered some bugs. I told them what they missed by being in a such hurry.|
|I finally found them a real live alligator even though it was in one of the ponds in the subdivision adjoining the Greenway. A youngster only about 4 or 5 feet long. This was my backup plan if we couldn't catch Momma Gator and her babes in the Greenway pond where they are often spotted.|
|A curious larger turtle which possibly was used to neighbors feeding him, hung out at our feet in the edge of the water. He seemed much tamer then the ones in the greenway.|
Here was a Cormorant, or as it is sometimes called, a Snake Bird, because in the water he sits so low he looks like a snake swimming was also in the pond. By then the sun was getting hot and tummies empty. We grabbed a sandwich to eat and headed to the oceanside pool some friends had generously allow us to use. We hung out all afternoon and those used to more cold waters immersed themselves in the chilly water. Those of us with more Southern habits opted for higher ground.
All in all I think they enjoyed their visit to Amelia Island and I know that Aunt Sandy & Susan loved the chance to visit with the girls. I treated them to my famous Strawberry Shortcake, just like my momma makes, plus a cooking lesson on how to prepare the dough for the short bread. We gave these Northwestern girls a taste of the South with our Low Country Boil, Shortcake, warm blue skies, and sandy beaches. I think we maybe can count on them again next year. I thank the weather maker above for making it a perfect week for them. I am also thankful that I sent them home without any serious sunburns.
Thanks for the birthday present Bro.