Today being on the cooler side 16C/61F but sunny and dry was a perfect day to check out the “Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve” that had been on our list of places to visit. It is part of a national network of coastal reserves along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The location is on the southside of U.S. Highway 98 and about 20 minutes drive west from Foley. You can find their website here.
We were warmly greeted at the Interpretive Visitor’s Center by one of their volunteers who showed us some of the preserved native plants and animals on display. Wow, this place is better than any museum and you can acquire a wealth of information here. As an example: Many of the fascinating plants and animals incl. snakes, gators and spiders that make their home in the “Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog” are found nowhere else on Earth. There are trails through wetlands, marshes, a pitcher plant bog and a nature trail through the forest. Because we had our dogs with us we could not take them onto the boardwalk into the bog, but opted to take them into the nature trail where they were allowed.
Throughout the forest we found signs describing various plants, trees or habitats. For a while I tried chasing some unusual looking butterflies except I never managed to capture them on film. Perhaps if we had stood still, but that is impossible with a couple of Dachshunds. :))
Now that we have located this park, it is our hope to go back and to take the boardwalk through the “Pitcher Plant Bog.” The volunteer at the center said it would now only be a short time until the (Carnivorous) Pitcher Plants would start to emerge and that is truly worth another trip.
For any of you that are curious to know what a “Bog” is, here a little info I obtained through reading material:
Bogs are not as wet as other wetland habitats. The water must be free from salt and nutrients, and the water table must only come up to, or very near to the surface. If the water table is much higher there will be standing water and the habitat will then become a marsh or swamp. The soil in the bog is sandy and porous, and it contains very little organic material. Iron compounds cause the sandy soil to be gray in color, and coastal bog soils are highly acidic and poor in nutrients. Because of these conditions there are specialized plant species that live in bogs and to survive they have developed interesting and unusual ways to obtain necessary nutrients.
Back home, sitting at our dining table, I spotted this drone in the air and quickly took a picture of it from the inside. The RV neighbor on our backside was outside giving his “Mavic Pro” drone some exercise above the campground. Benno didn’t finish his dinner and went out the door in lightening speed to watch our neighbor operating his technical marvel. This baby costs about a grand and works in combination with his Samsung smartphone. Quite the neat toy to have. I have to slow my husband's interest down marvelling at all these flying machines, otherwise he is going to build a drone where we both can sit on to fly into the sunset. :))
On another but tragic subject: yesterday morning we were unruly awakened while it was still dark outside by the continuous wailing of sirens from police and emergency vehicles racing by the road to our RV Park. A tour bus that had been carrying high school students from Disney World to Texas had careened off Interstate 10 and plunged into a 50-foot ravine. The driver lost his life and many passengers ended up in various hospitals. The accident happened on mile marker 57 and the exit off the highway to our park is at mile marker 53, which is only 5 minutes from here. The I-10 interstate was closed to traffic east and west for 7 hours. Later in the early afternoon, after some shopping in Pensacola, we took the westbound lane of the I-10 interstate home, which had just been opened up to traffic at 12.30 hr. Noticed at the accident site that the heavy damaged tour bus was just in the process of being hoisted out of the ravine between two bridges at a river crossing when we passed by.
Hoping everyone had a nice day and that you will drop by again.