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Winter Wanderings Day #8, Fort Pickens Campground, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach, FL

When I woke, Monday morning, there was an osprey in a tree, just behind our campsite. Great way to start the day! Especially, since it was a shocking 34 degrees with gusting wind outside. I was glad to be watching it from inside our toasty van, under the down comforter. It was so cold, both puppies ended up cuddled up with me, touching one another, which rarely happens. So, it was willing to put loathing aside for warmth, cold. Yes, that cold!

I opted out of the midday hike. I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to brave the cold and wind. Wiley and the puppies hiked on the Florida Trail towards the fort, then on the Marsh Nature Trail. They returned chilly and happy to be back.

After work, it had warmed up to 50 with full sun. I was more than ready to go for a hike after being in the van all day. We hiked on the Florida Trail, past the other campground, to Battery Worth. It “became operational in 1899 as part of the Endicott System of coastal defenses. Battery Worth had eight 12ft mortars housed in two gun pits. These could lob 700-pound projectiles high into the air so that they came down onto the deck of a ship as if dropped from above. Four of the mortars were in use up until 1942”. We climbed to the top of the battery with the puppies, for great views of the Bay and Gulf. I loved the framing of taking pictures of the views through the windows from inside the battery. Nigel wouldn’t go up the metal, top tower stairs, so had to be carried. He’s scared of open metal staircases, bridges, and grates in the sidewalk. He’s a chicken. Pippa does not think anything about them. She barrels on up and across without hesitation. She is alpha for sure!

As the sun went down, we hiked back to Happy. Wiley was adamant about going to the beach to watch the sunset. The temp had dropped quickly, as the sun sunk in the sky and the wind had picked up. I again declined. I’m a bad wife…He went on his own. I stayed in the van with the puppies. I could see the sky changing colors from my bed in the van. I was glad that’s where I was watching from, rather than outside. I was totally over the cold by that point. Thankfully, the cold snap should be about over with temps in the 50’s Wednesday and 60’s Thursday in Gulf Shores, where we’re headed to Gulf State Park. It will feel like a heat wave after the last few days. I can not wait!

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