Archive for December, 2019


Memorial day weekend of 2017. Sarah and I took a packpacking trip into the wilderness of St. Joseph Penisula. The peninsula is in the Gulf of mexico just south of Mexico Beach. It is about 20 miles long and eleven of the most northeastern are part of the state park. The seven miles of the tip are Wilderness.  A wilderness has no mechanical machinery,  you can’t even ride a bike.


I had done a one night hike in the Wildernes during one of our camping trips at the State Park. I  also had done a two night backpacking trip the first of January of 2017 into the wilderness. You can read about the first trip in my other article on St Joseph State Park.


The trip in January was exciting.  I hiked 3 miles up the sand road that runs up the center of the peninsula to the campering area that I had chosen with the rangers at the check in station. The location didn’t look that good. It was right on the road. There was lots of sand, no shade, looked as if a fire came through the area not to long ago. FB_IMG_1577648177122  There was also a trail here that bisected the peninsula, running from Gulf to the bay. I took a right and headed to the gulf. A hundred yards or so and just as the sand dunes started, I saw a campsite in the low maritimes  forest of Live Oaks. The Oak limbs were all bent and contoured.  The area had been used by campers before but was clean. There was an almost secret trail that lead to a oasis in the trees. The sand dunes blocked the sea breeze and the trees blocked the sun. It was a very cool campsite.


The next day I spent the day hiking the 4 miles up the beach to the tip of the peninsula.  I believe I was new year’s day . I decided to take a polar plunge. There was part of a dock that had washed up, so I used as an area to strip. I hadn’t seen any one since I entered the Wilderness and I could see up and down the beach.  There was no one for miles. I got up to my chest but did not go under. After getting dressed, I keep heading up the beach.


This part of the beach doesn’t see a lot of visitors  and there is a lot of debris washed up on shore. There are shoes, sunglasses, logs, lumber and at one point I found a orange.  It looked in good shape so it pealed it. The inside looked good so I ate it.


At the tip of the peninsula the landscape is much different.  It’s all sand dunes and marsh. I explored the area. On the bay side there are several boats beached and families are out for the day exploring too. Some have dogs running around.


I took the beach back down to the campsit. Then I tried to do some fishing with a net / trap that I had brought with me. I took it out to the bay side of the peninsula during low tied and put a long rope on it. I did have any luck but it was fun trying.


The next day I took my time walking the beach back to my truck.


Sarah Tibbitts and I went to St. Joseph Peninsula state park and camped in the Wilderness for three nights. Instead of hiking the three mile in like I had done in January,  we paddled 4 miles to the trail that bisects the peninsula.


It was late when we arrived at the park. We drove to an area where we had launched kayaks into the bay before.  We had the canoe that we maned with gear and we towed Sarah’s Kayak loaded with gear.


I didn’t have a map. Only my memory of the area from my January trip and a spot I picked out on a goggle map that I had on my phone. We set out at 7:30 in Hope’s of finding our camping spot. The trip out was fun and we saw a lot of sea life as the sun set.


The last 30 or 40 minutes we were paddling in the dark.Using the Goggle map and Dead reckoning,  we were able to find the trail head with little difficulty. We made landfall at 9 PM.


We secured the seats to a tree with a lock and cable.  I didn’t think anyone would take them but I wanted to make sure we had a way home. It was a 10 minute walk to the same campsite I had in January.  It took two trips to haul all the gear. We left some of the water at the boat. That was one of the biggest difficulties, was having enough fresh water.


We spent a little time on the beach in the dark moonless night looking at a starfilled sky. The beach is magical at night. We then set up camp and was in bed at midnight.


We spent two days on our private beach. We only saw 6 different people on the beach for very short periods. Maybe each person for only 5 minutes.


We had a lot of down time. At one point, I had fallen asleep on the beach and Sarah took a walk. She left me a note in the sand.


The sand dunes on St Joseph peninsula are the largest ones in Florida.  We had to cross over three sets of them to get to the Gulf from out campsite.  It was an effort to climb them. You could see where different animals had crossed. We had a opossum living near our camp.



We saw dolphins feeding in the waves and where a sea turtle had come up in the night to lay eggs. We also kayaked around some in the bay. The water was as warm as a bath tub.



We sailed with the tide on Monday morning at 9 and was back at the truck by 10:30 for the drive home.




The Weeping Widow

FB_IMG_1524529853811It was Christmas time 2017. I was recently divorced from Wendy. I was at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery for the Wreaths Across America event.  It was my second year participating. I had gotten there a little late for the speeches so I was hanging out near the cannon with men from my Son’s of Confederate Veterans camp. The party that had gathered for the speech at the bottom of the hill made their way up to where the boxes of Wreaths were set out. That is when I noticed a lady who was dressed in a 1860s widow morning gown. She was vailed in black from top to bottom.  She took two wreaths and in a southern voice like that of Kattie O’Hara and for all to hear, said she must put a wreath on the Georgia boys monument. I thought to myself that this would be interesting and preceded to follow in hope of getting a good photo to rival the one I took the year before of the Cannon. That photo was spread across different Facebook pages. She was most animated in her posing and many were there taking her photo. With here face vailed, you could not tell on thing about her. I walked away, leaving the photographers to their subjects as I saught out new intreste.  The Lady in black then called out to me in her southern draw. She asked my name and as I tured to give it, it was as if I had been transported to the 1860s as was talking to a widowed Confederate bride. Even face to face I could not see beyond the Vail. I knew not the Southern bell who was behind the Vail. She told me her name and that she was the Mariett Confederate Cemetery Weeping Widow. She asked that I give her copies of the photos I took of her and gave me her cell  phone number to forward them to her. We parted and I wend on over to the national cemetery for more photo opportunities.  They were just starting to lay Wreaths when I got there. Afterwards I ate lunch  and started to text over the photos I took of the Lady in Black. As I was driving home she text back asking who was texting her. I explained who I was and that we just met.  She again told me her name and thanked me for the photos. I had several photos so it took some time to send them all. She would compliment me on a photo and I would tell her that with a beautiful subject as her it was easy to take great photos.  We text several times.  Then became friends on Facebook.  It was several days of texting and flirting before I called her. I was living in the camper at the time. Once we did call we talked for several hours. We had so much common intreste.  We both enjoyed anstey,  history, cemeteries, Confederate history, travel and on and on. We met again in person,  this time with out the vail. I was in luck, the Sothern Bell I had fallen in love with, with out seeing her was a beautiful woman, Ms Kathleen Boucher, soon to be Mrs Tibbits.

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