Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to the National Seashore

Yesterday, after donating blood, I was told to not do anything strenuous for at least 24 hours.  That pretty much eliminated any plans I could have made for my one day off. After a little nap, I just couldn't find it in myself to stay around my place any longer, so I put on my shoes and headed out.  It was a supremely beautiful day, so I decided to head down to the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park, or at least our little section of it.  This is a pretty unique aspect to our little town of Ocean Springs.  We have a national park right in the middle of town!  

I started out, after parking my truck, by the trail head to the Davis Bayou Trail.  I always make the detour across the road to see if the alligator is visible on any given day.  I lucked out this time!

We have alligators all over this town, but this one is probably the most consistent viewing opportunity.  My dad had one living in the storm drain at his store one time.  They kept feeding it so it didn't leave until animal control finally dragged it off.  The biggest gators i've ever seen have been out on the barrier islands.  They are a little more free to do their own thing out there so they tend to get pretty big.

After visiting with the gator I headed onto the trail.  I've spent quite a bit of time on this little trail.  At 1/2 mile it doesn't take long to get around.  The appeal to me is that it's close and quiet.  I came out here when I was training for my trip to the Grand Canyon.  I would walk lap after lap with my weight vest on.  It paid off in the end.  I did something a little different this time.  I took my time!  I even grabbed one of the visitors guides and followed the points of interest.  In all the years i've been coming out here this is something i've never done.  It was a good little guide.  Plenty of info on the flora and fauna of the area and even some info about the ancient sand dunes that created the elevation changes in this area.  That explains the sandy trailbed!  I could have done without all the Hurricane Katrina references though.  

The trail is really nice and maintained.  Lots of great cover and I sure do love walking below all the Magnolias.  I'm looking forward to the bloom season.  That will add good smells the the benefits of heading out there.  

The Magnolia Cover

Fallen trees have led to some interesting rest opportunities.

After finishing this trail I followed the road around the old CCC camp trail.  This trail leads the the former site of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) headquarters from 1938-41.  I've always been fascinated by history and especially the history of the gulf coast.  The old roadbed is still visible in places off the side of the trail.  Then you come out to the overlook of the bayou at the foundations of their former dining hall.  It's a little visited point in the park and is definitely worth the short walk.

Three trees growing out of a single stump or three
trees that have grown together over time?  I'm not
sure but it's interesting either way.

View across Davis Bayou.

If you ever need to get away for a few hours, this is definitely the place to go.  It's small enough that it can all be seen in that amount of time and if you aren't from around here it's a great opportunity to learn about our coastal ecosystem.  I feel like i'm starting to sound like the Ocean Springs tourism board or something.  Come visit our town!  I guess i'm just proud of this little place and proud to have grown up here.  Again, if you're ever in town send me an email and i'll point you in the right direction.

Until Next Time, 

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