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Winter Wanderings Day #21 Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, FL

Sunday morning, waiting for it to warm up at Big Lagoon, I worked on the second leg of our Winter Wanderings. We begin to head north on Wednesday to be in Greenville, SC for Wiley’s meetings 2/10-12. We’ll visit with family and friends there, then go check on the house and see friends in Sapphire for a couple of days before returning south. Of course, everything in Florida is booked, because of the snowbirds. Thankfully, I put in requests on reserve.wanderinglabs.com for all the parks and dates we want. WanderingLabs has always come through in the past, so here’s hoping that trend continues. We were able to book our old standbys, Jekyll and Edisto, for the return trip. We always love both of them, but that is all we were able to book. Eek! Send good vibes!

Before lunch, we packed a picnic and set out from our campsite, #28 to catch the boardwalk, right across from us, leading to the trail system. Sweet spot! We hiked to Long Pond, where we decided to have our lunch at the covered picnic table overlooking the pond. It was sunny and 62, an absolutely perfect day. The day, I had been dreaming of since leaving the mountains 1/13. We had a lovely picnic then hit the Estuary Trail towards the observation tower and Big Lagoon. When we arrived at the shore, we saw sailboats, fishing boats, and kayakers enjoying the water. The sun was glistening off the water’s surface, like diamonds. It was so picturesque. It just took my breath away. In that moment, there was nowhere on earth, I would rather be than right there with Wiley and the puppies. My heart was so happy and grateful.

We hiked from East Beach, back on the Estuary Trail to the Amphitheater, then back to the boardwalk over Long Pond. As we crossed the pond, we saw an eagle dive into the water, grab a fish, and fly into a nearby pine. Then we saw a small 3’ gator swim across the pond to the waters edge. It was icing on an already dreamy day. Thanks, Mother Nature, for all of it!

We got back to the van and opened all the windows and big side door. We used the screen door and the baby gate to keep the puppies in, since they know how to go under the breakaway screen to escape, which we learned the hard way, thus the gate. We hung our dancing bear tapestry to keep the sun out of Wiley’s face while he worked at his desk in the front of the van. I edited pictures and wrote in the back on the bed. This is our typical set up. I had both puppies back on the bed with me, which is a fairly new development. In the past, Pippa has been in the back with me and Nigel up front in the passenger seat or in Wiley’s lap. Well, we have been having a power struggle with both my lap, while driving, and with the bed, during the day and at night. It’s bizarre. It is like Nigel turned 10 and decided, he was not going to let 8yo Pippa be alpha anymore. It’s been fascinating to watch the dynamics, but also sad for Pippa, whose world has been turned upside down. Nigel ferociously chases her off the bed or growls before she even gets up, which makes her go under the bed to “the cave”, where her dog bed and Bree’s car seat are. Don’t get me wrong, she loves the cave, but she also, wants to be near me on the bed, when she chooses, during the day, but always at night. I have been helping Pippa at night by moving Nigel from next to me to the far side of Wiley, so she can get up and under the covers on the far side of me. Why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t my puppies love each other and cuddle with one another? Geez…

In the late afternoon, it had cooled off, so we put pants and long sleeves back on, then hit the boardwalk towards the Salt Marsh and Great Lagoon. We hiked a bit then turned around as the sun set below the trees. We were hoping to see some deer, armadillos, or piggies, but no such luck. We returned to Happy, reveling in the wonderful day. What a gift. So much gratitude.

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