Covid, Shmovid, We're Going CAMPING Tomorrow!

bama_ed

It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
Oh this one is going to be worth it.



I moved over to the left to get the piers out of the picture. Let's take it from there.









Best sunrise of this trip.

Surprisingly cool this morn 53F. THAT was not in the forecast before I left.

Bama Ed
 


  • NY Pirate Princess

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2014
    Loved your pictures! Our first camping trip of the year was officially cancelled 3 days ago. New York State Campgrounds remain closed through May 31st. So much for our annual wedding anniversary camp trip...
     

    4077

    I'll fly for this Mickey Mouse outfit!
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2013
    Loved your pictures! Our first camping trip of the year was officially cancelled 3 days ago. New York State Campgrounds remain closed through May 31st. So much for our annual wedding anniversary camp trip...
    Puts the squash on Memorial Day weekend, too... had hoped to maybe get away from house, but think that may be the way it is for all southern New England states as well in the end (on the other hand, maybe more people will spend more time considering and reflecting on the true meaning of Memorial Day...)

    sorry... back to the end of Ed’s report.. easy to go off on tangent...
     
  • Flametamr

    <font color=red>I never thought about doing any ot
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2007
    Hey Ed, Hope you had a great time visiting and a safe trip home. I enjoyed the lunch and fellowship time with you. Even though I just left the campground a few weeks ago I am ready to go back. But I have decided that if there's any way possible I'm going to fly to Orlando and do a day trip just to be one of the first there to reopen things. Dumb maybe but I'm sick of staying home and having to still go to work. Take care Everyone, Joe
     

    bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Well I am home after a 5.5 hr drive. I go a little out-of-my-way to make it nearly an all interstate drive rather than the two lane county highways, twists, turns, and red lights through a number of small towns that the most direct route offers. It's worth an extra 20-30 minutes to me for a low-stress drive over a very familiar route.

    Just to set up my walk this morning, let me back up and show the route on the GSP map for my walk yesterday (to the fishing pier). I put an X on the map for my site spot and used the yellow highlighter (tough to see in places) so show you where I went. Round trip to the end of the pier was 4 miles total.

    walk #1.PNG

    Down the Canal Trail, along Campground Road, along Lake Crossing, over the Pedestrian Bridge (west) and to the end of the pier.

    This morning I started in a similar direction and then turned off on a 4.5 mile walk. It was basically a loop around Middle Lake.

    walk #2.PNG

    Down Canal Trail, along the Mouse Bypass, up Rosemary Dunes, up Cross Park Trail (commonly referred to as the Power line Trail), then the Campground Trail that backs up behind some of the camping loops back to Live Oak #16.

    I'm not going to do a step-by-step commentary :scared: but have a few pix to share. It helps to understand that these particular trails were built/designed/chosen to demonstrate different ecosystems in GSP and along the coast. So you'll have a marsh boardwalk section, a scrub hammock section, a sandy/dune section, a coastal forest section, etc. (I don't know all their names). So the landscape changes quite a bit which makes it interesting (wish I knew more).

    So I laced 'em up, put on my sun glasses, and set off at about 57 degrees. Oh such a blue sky and it was perfect conditions for a walk (warm in the sun, cool in the shade). Off I went.

    Didn't see any alligators but I have in the past along this walk.



    DD was very frightened as a child of riding her bike on the trails when she was young (fewer trails back then). She thought it be like riding her bike inside the pen at Gator Land. Now she's almost graduated college but the fear hasn't gone completely away. It's been replaced by a more mature suspicion.

    We start over the Canal where some pull-through sites were put in maybe 10 years ago (only pull-throughs in the place). The blue sky and blue water were stunning.



    The first part of this walk was on a boardwalk over the marsh. We're headed toward the Pavilion behind the second crossover in the distance.



    Here is the intersection with the crossover to the Pavilion. Since the beaches are closed and parking lot blocked, they've apparently also boarded off the crossover to prevent unapproved social mingling. I press on.



    Here's a close-up of the back of the Pavilion. It's very nice to visit if that's what your looking for. During the season they have concessions, beach umbrella/chair rentals, life guards, bathrooms, picnic tables in the shade, and more.



    The Interpretive Center on the other side of the crossover is new and I haven't been in it yet. The Pavilion is also a popular location for beach weddings. Access is free for campers (Gulf started charging a daily resort fee of a few bucks - not optional - which covers "free" access for campers to the Pavilion, Pier, Pool, etc. Non-campers have to pay to access the Pavilion (when they park).

    Here I look back across the cattails and Middle Lake towards the campground. My little Aliner is out there some where.



    Next we leave the marsh area and enter a small coastal forest with a mix of scrub oaks and short pines.



    Next comes taller pines more sparsely spaced and we get perilously close to that huge condo building in Orange Beach. It's a massive thing that required an exception to the height limit of beach-side buildings (of course the exception was granted - more guests/floors mean more tax revenue for OB). Come to think of it, EVERY condo height exception request for new construction that I've read about these last many years has ALWAYS been granted by OB. And if that's the case, why bother to have a limit? That's just one of the many reasons why I feel the way I do about OB.



    We've been on the boardwalk the whole way from the campground canal and we merge in with the Rosemary Dunes paved trail. I looked back to show the intersection. The left side goes to a parking lot/access location in OB on the beach highway.



    I will say that all trail intersection have signs like these that are well done to show distance and destinations in each direction.



    I've reach my limit of 10 hosted photos in this post so let's roll onto the next one.

    Bama Ed
     
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    bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Along the Gulf trails are nice interpretive signs in places with this one as an example. Gulf is really aiming to be a serious environment/educational destination encouraging outdoor activities, less use of autos (hence more trails), and more nature activities, camps, and opportunities. That's why they didn't renew the zip line company's lease for Lake Shelby. Too commercial, too tacky (I believe the Zips went into the willing arms of The Wharf on the south end of the OB toll bridge).



    Let's continue.

    Rosemary Dunes trail (along with Power Line, Catman, and Gulf Ridge trails) have been the oldest trails in the GSP system. I've been on it many times including heading in the opposite direction a few years ago when I did the Gulf Shores Half Marathon in late January (nice but windy).



    This area is more sandy/dunes that have been pushed up here from hurricanes and storm surge. So less tall tree growth and no marsh (till we get down near the Power Line turnoff).

    I hadn't noticed this before but it's an access path to the neighborhood on the eastern edge of the park in OB. It's got a nice wooden footbridge so it must have been approved.



    After turning off onto the Power Line Trail aka Cross-Park Trail (which basically follows the high power line from Rosemary Dunes Trail all the way north through the park grounds to Canal Road on the Intra-coastal Waterway), we cross the waterway that links Middle Lake to Little Lake which sits up to the northeast of the Middle Lake and campground.



    Here's on the bridge looking back to the campground and Gulf Shores.



    Opposite view up towards Little Lake which is true to its name. One of the Gulf rangers lives in a cabin along Catman Road/Trail on Little Lake and it's the only house on the lake and it's very quiet and pretty. And you feel like it's in the middle of nowhere (which it just about is except for now the Catman Trail leave GSP's main road and cyclists and walkers go by the cabin).



    This is the direction my camera is pointed when I take the sunrise photos - right up at this channel that connects Middle Lake to Little Lake. I guess that's where the sunshine comes from... :confused3 Maybe there's a box of sunshine at the ranger's cabin that he releases every morning like there's a leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

    It's not far at all from the bridge to where Power Line Trail crosses Catman Road/Trail and beyond that the Campground Trail pulls off to the left.



    I remember standing at that intersection with tiggerdad, southalabama5er, and maybe Teamubr too on one Saturday morning at a DISMeet when Bert and Kris (garneska) signed up for a footrace that went through this part of the trail. We were the cheering section that morning. I remember it was very warm and humid that May morning.

    The first part of the campground trail is sort of in that wide open sandy dunes environment with few sparsely spaced short young pine trees. But it's not far to the back end of the campground and you transition to a more lush environment almost immediately at that point. I welcomed the shade.



    The natural growth and fauna is thick in this section. These berries aren't ripe yet but I'll be back next month at Gulf to check on them.



    A few campsites have informal access to the Campground Trail but not many. The Trail has formal access points (paved) to the campground in places along here.



    Almost done - one last roll.

    Bama Ed
     
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    bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Finishing up on Campground Trail, there is a very long, nearly straight boardwalk section that I remember them building. It took forever to finish. You could walk up the partially finished boardwalk then had to stop and turn around and go back to the nearest access point. Sort of like going around some construction in the middle of your route.



    Some lovely ferns along the way.



    That's all the pix I have of the walk. Spent 45 minutes packing up and pulled out a little before 10am. I needed gas so I stopped at Buc-ees (the dude is taking this Covid safety stuff seriously).



    I paid $1.55 for the gas at Buc-ees which was not the cheapest I passed on the way there ($1.53 at some of the Foley gas stations along the Beach Express). And for me taking the route I did, just a little bit further up in Bay Minette before I-65 it was $1.44 (Bay Minette typically has the cheapest gas in Baldwin County on my route to the beach). And I saw $1.41 at a Walmart next to the highway close to home.

    It was a nice trip - I missed DW and DD but it was a beautiful time to be there weather- and fly-wise. I paid an average of about $61 a night with site cost, resort fee, and tax considered (the Live Oak section is the most costly). For the record the sites all have power, water, and sewer. WIFI is present but with very little bandwidth so don't count on it. No tv. The rates for the other sections are a little less costly but not much which is why I shoot for Live Oak.

    We'll be back at Gulf next month around Memorial Day then have a reservation for an extended weekend in November and another week in site #16 at the end of April (same time as right now). I counted up in my camping journal that I keep in the trailer (dates, locations, and brief list of activities) and we've camped at Gulf SP 18 times in our popups (and a handful of tent times before that). The Fort comes in at 15 times if I counted correctly. So Gulf is our favorite.

    Thanks for reading along and commenting. I hope everyone can get out and go camping soon and I'll read about YOUR trips. popcorn::

    Bama Ed
     
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  • bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Hey Ed, Hope you had a great time visiting and a safe trip home. I enjoyed the lunch and fellowship time with you. Even though I just left the campground a few weeks ago I am ready to go back. But I have decided that if there's any way possible I'm going to fly to Orlando and do a day trip just to be one of the first there to reopen things. Dumb maybe but I'm sick of staying home and having to still go to work. Take care Everyone, Joe
    Well you might need to fly standby, Flametamr, and be ready to go whenever Disney announces reopening plans.

    Oh and we would require a photo in the park of you as evidence of the visit (and no old pictures from a photo archive). :rolleyes:

    But at least I'm grateful you left the house Friday to come over for lunch.

    Ed
     

    2goofycampers

    Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2008
    Thanks for the great TR and pics. They were much needed right about now.
     

    rocketmom

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2012
    Thank you for the great trip report and the wonderful pictures. I enjoyed following along. All my spring camping trips have been cancelled and I'm just a little sad right now, so your trip report was a bright spot for the last few days. Thanks again!
     

    4077

    I'll fly for this Mickey Mouse outfit!
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2013
    Thank you for this beautiful and scenic bit of “normality”, Ed... I hope we can all be out enjoying some camping in this beautiful country soon!
     

    garneska

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2003
    Ah power line trail. i tried to hit it early in the run otherwise the sun is up quick and once up beats on you at the end of May.

    @bama_ed the important question, how are the yellow flies at the end of April? I love GSP, I hate the yellow flies worse than the humidity.
     

    bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Ah power line trail. i tried to hit it early in the run otherwise the sun is up quick and once up beats on you at the end of May.

    @bama_ed the important question, how are the yellow flies at the end of April? I love GSP, I hate the yellow flies worse than the humidity.
    What flies, Kris? :confused3 and I have no bites on my legs to prove it.

    Book now. We have #16 April 25-May 1, 2021. Awesome time to go.

    Bama Ed

    PS - I think back in post #1 I said I camped at Gulf SP in April about 15 years ago and that's true. And there is a story to that (naturally).

    In Alabama, spring break is usually 2nd-3rd week of March. You can TRY to head to the beach then but 450 of the 500 campsites at GSP are held for snowbirds (30 day reservations only Nov-Mar). So every family in a state school system competing for the remaining 50 sites doesn't happen. It simply doesn't. So we never went then. (We went to Fort Wilderness instead).

    But one year when DS#1 and DS#2 were both in Cub Scouts (and I their pushy Eagle Scout dad their Den Leader), our Cub Scout Pack scheduled a sleep over on the USS Alabama Battleship which is now a floating museum in Mobile Bay along the Causeway.



    It was a one-night trip. The Scouts and leaders boarded the ship in the last operating hour on Friday night before closing and could stay on board to roam the ship, sleep in the crew bunk rooms overnight, and then leave the ship one hour before it opened on Saturday morning. We had the run of the place the whole night (no fires, no surprise combustions, don't destroy the place, I-don't-want-to-know-what-you-guys-did). That kind of thing.

    And the issue was that once we burned out late Friday night and climbed into the crew bunk rooms (4-5 bunks high) you learned two things about your fellow Cubs and dads:



    1. Whose kid had a small bladder (they stepped on you climbing up and down the bunk in the dark if they were on top) on their way to/from the bathroom.

    2. Which dad was the snoring dad. (It wasn't me). 💤 But the steel walls and ceilings, noise reverberations (it's a WW2 battleship for goodness' sake - no MemoryFoam on board), etc. very little sleep was had by ANYBODY that night. Well BEFORE the hour before opening we were ready to leave and packed up. (unlock the doors and let us OUT of here!)

    Since that would put us down on the coast on a Saturday morning, I had reserved a site at Gulf SP Saturday night (I could get that one night in April) and had brought our tent/sleeping bags. No whiny women folk, just us big/little guys leaving a REAL battleship and camping in tents at the beach campground like real men. So leaving the USS Alabama, we headed to Gulf SP, checked in (me and my two boys), and hit the beach.

    What a day! And we slept like rocks that night. And then we loaded up and came home Sunday.

    DW took one look at us when we came in the door and shrieked "What have you DONE"? <wut? I said> :confused3

    Turns out I had neglected to put any sunscreen on me or the boys that entire day on the beach in April. And with sunburn, it doesn't really set in until the next day (when we got home).

    The three of us all looked like Rock Lobsters.



    Yep about that color.

    So it was nice to be back at Gulf SP in April with much less drama this trip.

    Bama Ed
     
    Last edited:

    4077

    I'll fly for this Mickey Mouse outfit!
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2013
    What flies, Kris? :confused3 and I have no bites on my legs to prove it.

    Book now. We have #16 April 25-May 1, 2021. Awesome time to go.

    Bama Ed

    PS - I think back in post #1 I said I camped at Gulf SP in April about 15 years ago and that's true. And there is a story to that (naturally).

    In Alabama, spring break is usually 2nd-3rd week of March. You can TRY to head to the beach then but 450 of the 500 campsites at GSP are held for snowbirds (30 day reservations only Nov-Mar). So every family in a state school system competing for the remaining 50 sites doesn't happen. It simply doesn't. So we never went then. (We went to Fort Wilderness instead).

    But one year when DS#1 and DS#2 were both in Cub Scouts (and I their pushy Eagle Scout dad their Den Leader), our Cub Scout Pack scheduled a sleep over on the USS Alabama Battleship which is now a floating museum in Mobile Bay along the Causeway.



    It was a one-night trip. The Scouts and leaders boarded the ship in the last operating hour on Friday night before closing and could stay on board to roam the ship, sleep in the crew bunk rooms overnight, and then leave the ship one hour before it opened on Saturday morning. We had the run of the place the whole night (no fires, no surprise combustions, don't destroy the place, I-don't-want-to-know-what-you-guys-did). That kind of thing.

    And the issue was that once we burned out late Friday night and climbed into the crew bunk rooms (4-5 bunks high) you learned two things about your fellow Cubs and dads:



    1. Whose kid had a small bladder (they stepped on you climbing up and down the bunk in the dark if they were on top) on their way to/from the bathroom.

    2. Which dad was the snoring dad. (It wasn't me). 💤 But the steel walls and ceilings, noise reverberations (it's a WW2 battleship for goodness' sake - no MemoryFoam on board), etc. very little sleep was had by ANYBODY that night. Well BEFORE the hour before opening we were ready to leave and packed up. (unlock the doors and let us OUT of here!)

    Since that would put us down on the coast on a Saturday morning, I had reserved a site at Gulf SP Saturday night (I could get that one night) and had brought our tent/sleeping bags. No whiny women folk, just us big/little guys leaving a REAL battleship and camping in tents at the beach campground like real men. So leaving the USS Alabama, we headed to Gulf SP, checked in (me and my two boys), and hit the beach.

    What a day! And we slept like rocks that night. And then we loaded up and came home Sunday.

    DW took one look at us when we came in the door and shrieked "What have you DONE"? <wut? I said> :confused3

    Turns out I had neglected to put any sunscreen on me or the boys that entire day on the beach in April. And with sunburn, it doesn't really set in until the next day (when we got home).

    The three of us all looked like Rock Lobsters.



    Yep about that color.

    So it was nice to be back at Gulf SP in April with much less drama this trip.

    Bama Ed
    :rotfl:
     

    WDWNerd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2013
    Great pics!
    We’re headed to Gulf State Park in a couple of weeks. We are always at the beach when we’re there, so even if the beach is still closed there will be plenty to explore!
    We were at Wind Creek in the “new” section but left early, thank goodness, bc the weather got bad that night.
    I’m so thankful we can still camp in AL. The change of scenery is so nice!!
     





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