Hike at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Today was supposed to be a fun day…but when the phone rang early Connie discovered she had an issue with one of her students; which meant that by the time she got it sorted out it was almost lunch. Undeterred; we fixed us up a couple of wraps, added some chips, grabbed a bottle of water and the cameras and headed out for a hike at the Pine Beach Trail at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

The NWR is spread out in several sections located along the barrier island that forms Gulf Shores. Heading west from Gulf Shores all the way to the end of the island you get to Fort Morgan which is one of the two Civil War era forts that guards the entrance to Mobile Bay; Fort Jefferson is located in the eastern end of the barrier island on the west side of the bay. The two forts are about 3 or 4 miles apart and were designed to menace any shipping trying to enter Mobile Bay. We didn’t go all the way out to the end of the island but only about 2/3 of the way…arriving about 1030 or so and heading off on our 4 mile round trip hike. It’s about a mile through the pine forest to Gator Lake then another mile across the sand dunes to the beach proper…which meant that 2 of our 4 miles we were slogging through sand…and Gulf coast sand is really, really fine and hard to walk on, particularly up and down the dunes.

Our first stop was the watchtower at Gator Lake where we grabbed a picture of the lake itself


and then as we headed down the causeway between Gator Lake and Little Lagoon we spotted a Ruddy Duck out in the Lagoon.


Continuing on a bit we got into the dunes where we spotted this abandoned and hurricane destroyed house; it looked to be most of 100 years old although we really didn’t have much of an idea.


Finally we got down the the beach itself; this is looking to the East back towards Gulf Shores.


The beach itself is probably 250 yards wide and composed of really white, fine sand. Looking the other way here’s a shot of Connie getting her View of the Day picture for her Twitter account.


After taking those we hiked back across the beach and dunes; then returned across the causeway to the tower and sat for awhile having lunch. While we were there Neil grabbed some bracketed sequences to do these two HDR shots of Gator Lake.





That’s Gator Lake on the right in the bottom picture and Little Lagoon at the left side. The first picture is Gator Lake looking a little farther right.

Heading home after that we sat out in the sun awhile then Neil fixed some beef stir fry for dinner. It was pretty good although we should have made up some fresh wasabi instead of using the leftover stuff from a week or so ago…it had lost all of it’s heat. Still pretty tasty though. Tomorrow is more work; Connie is starting to get her next class of students organized…and she sure hopes the next class isn’t as needy as the current one has been.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to Hike at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Cynthia says:

    I love the clouds in the last two photos. Thanks for sharing. Keep enjoying your travels.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Yes, isn’t it wonderful how the HDR process I described a few posts back really makes skies and clouds look much more like they were when you were looking at it. I’m still learning how to best utilize the process to improve the photo without going all the way to cartoonish levels of color saturation; the effect is easy to overdue. On the other hand; the program does offer a lot of opportunity to make the photo less of a snapshot and turn it a more into an arty vision. I’m certainly no artist but with semi-automated software even I can make the photos look better. In this case I think I slightly overdid the effect so will work on dialing it back a skosh next time.

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