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Winter Wanderings Day #12, Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL.

Well, Friday was the day I had been hoping for, sunny, and 64 at lunchtime. Hallelujah! We hiked on the Campground Trail, to the Armadillo Trail, to the Middle Lake Overlook. The lake was gorgeous with the sun glistening, like diamonds, on the surface. Wiley and I sat at the overlook picnic table with the puppies lying on the dock, all basking in the glorious sunlight, soaking the warmth in after weeks of cold. It was just what the doctor ordered!

On the hike back, there were several people gathered around a small waterway in the campground. They were looking at a gator sunning itself on the far bank. I got a little to bold for Wiley’s liking and went to the closer bank’s water’s edge to snap a picture. Wiley asked, that I please not get “gatored” and get away from there, so I obliged, but only after I got my shot. Yea gator!

After work, we loaded up and drove to the “Dog Pond” dog park. Since the weather was so nice, there were lots of big dogs in the big dog section. They were all running and jumping into the water, after a ball, one of the owners was hurling with a thrower. They were having a blast. Pippa and Nigel had the under 30lb smaller area all to themselves. Pippa watched the big dogs for a bit, which was cute, then got down to the business of hunting at the shoreline. Nigel played fetch with Wiley then came to the shore to see what Pippa had found. He could not resist and jumped in the water, which Pippa would never do, unless she saw a fish. She looked at him, like he was crazy. The “Dog Pond at Lake Shelby” was such fun! We’re big fans of a state park that provides an off-leash dog park. Way to go Alabama State Parks!

After playing, we drove across the road by the Gulf State Park Lodge by Hilton with conference center and restaurants to go to the park pier. We had to leave the puppies in the van, because they were not allowed on the pier. We had camper passes, the park had given us, so did not have to pay to enter the pier. It was a massive structure with a tiki bar, tackle & souvenir shop, bathrooms, and fish cleaning stations. There were tons of people fishing and sightseeing. We had a great view of the, ocean, beach and the impressive park Lodge and conference center. We never did make it over there to check it out, but it’s new, right on the beach, and super nice from what we saw. On the beach next to the pier was a wooden shark box that read “Need a toy-take a toy, Have a toy-leave a toy”. My friend from Greenville, Lisa had posted on Facebook, about it, being such a super idea, just this week when we happened to be here. Crazy coincidence!

We Yelped to decide where to eat dinner. The Lodge restaurant, The Perch, #2 on Yelp, was right there, but a little fancier than we were looking for, so we chose the #1 recommended, Flying Harpoon. When we got there it appeared to be a real local hangout with very little seating, all taken, plus, super crowded with a huge bar crowd, not really what we were looking for. So, we drove over to #3, Bahama Bob’s, instead. It turned out to be the perfect choice. We sat inside, rather than the porch, because the temps had dropped quickly after the sun went down. We had gumbo, 1/2lb of fried crab claws, the Fried Captain’s Platter, and a lactose free, if you can believe, strawberry milkshake. It was all fabulous! Plus, we had leftovers a plenty. Bahama Bobs delivered!

Returned to the campsite, happy as a clam with the much needed warm and wonderful day and nice evening with my sweetie. So grateful!