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Jockey's Ridge State Park 6/27/2009

There are no sand dunes in Miami, so Lou does not have the same happy childhood memories as Karen about playing in the sand dunes at Horseneck Beach.

We got to Jockey's Ridge State Park about 9:30AM trying to beat the heat, but it was already hot. We carried water with us and kept our sneakers on even though they filled with sand.  The park web site warned that the sand would be 20 degrees hotter than the air and that you should think about that before going in barefoot.

We picked up the Nature Trail brochure near the entrance and headed off into the dunes. We were following a family group, one kid and a lot of adults. Almost immediately, there was a big hill and all the ladies bailed out. Dad and son kept going for a little while, but then they bailed too.

Having them bail out made us more determined to go the distance.

At first there were a lot of footprints in the sand, and then as we got farther along the trail, the footprints grew sparse.

We saw lots of animal footprints too!

The brochure contained sketches of various types of prints that we might see including the Grey Fox, Six-Lined Racerunner (lizard), Opossum, Sanderling (bird), Gull, and Deer.

In this picture, you can see a white post which is one of the markers along the nature trail. There are 14 stations to visit. We saw them all!

This was a particularly tough hill.  You can't tell, but it was a more than 45 degree slope that we had to climb up. It was like being on a stair stepper at the YMCA! Every step, your feet sank and you didn't seem to get anywhere at all. Halfway up, Karen dropped to all fours and crawled.  It was great to stand at the top and look back.

We had to empty our shoes of sand twice -- once while we were in the dunes and then again when we finally got out onto pavement.

The nature trail took us to the water's edge, where they are working on marsh restoration and have the marshy coastline all roped off.

Here's Karen wandering off ahead of Lou, oblivious to the fact that he has been taking pictures of her.

After the nature trail ended, we went up some BIG dunes to look at the kites.  That was fun!  But Karen does not have the best sense of direction and we ended up not being able to find our way back to the car.

We wandered through the dunes for what seemed an eternity. Eventually we popped out into a neighborhood!  We were so glad to be off the sand.  We talked to some folks in a car and they told us that if we followed this road out to the main road, and then turned right, we would get back to the park's parking lot.  (Karen would have sworn that we needed to turn left!)

So the people drove off and left us!  But there was no room in the car, and so we started walking out to the main road.  But then the guy came back!  He dumped everyone at the beach and came back to save us!  It was mighty hot by now. Turned out that they had vacationed in Seattle the year before.

What a great way to spend a morning!


Good thing we had a bottle of water with us.



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