A View of the Gulf from a Different Angle

There’s been a lot said and written in the past several years about the Gulf coast. “In the wake of Katrina” and “the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon” are phrases that now elicit a Pavlovian response in me when I hear or read them: I tense up and get ready for more bad news. Miraculously, the Gulf coast of Florida was lightly touched – at least physically – by these disasters, although the specter of oil blobs on the beach was enough to scare away a goodly number of tourists, even as far away as here in southwest Florida.

I was glad last fall to visit the “panhandle” of the state, Grayton Beach, a mere 112 miles east, as the frigatebird flies, from Mobile Bay. Sugar-sand beaches, same as I know so well, but hemmed with tall sand dunes topped with sea oats and dwarf sand oaks. Salt lakes sneaking in behind the dunes; pines taller than the buildings buffering the whole system from roads. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

Despite being with a big crowd of fabulous friends, there was a sense of solitude there that comes standard equipment with pines and dunes. As a not entirely unexpected surprise, the days were warm, which relaxed everyone and made quiet walks alone with my camera actually doable.

View looking east down the beach


View looking west up the beach


Boardwalk out to the beach


Dunes and boardwalk


Dunes topped with dwarf oaks


View across the salt lake


The road from the camping area to the beach



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