Friday, May 22, 2009

Ft. Pickens Road reopens!

It was a great day for everyone who loves Pensacola Beach! After more than four years, we can finally make the drive to the western tip of the island! Just look how beautiful it is.

You may find it a bit unnerving, especially if you're making the drive during high tide, to see how flat the island is in places.

From the road it almost appears that you are slightly below sea level and if you make the drive around high tide and during times of high surf such as this weekend you will notice how close the water runs up to the road in places.

Dunes still stand fairly tall in some areas, cut like old canyon walls by high winds.

So good to see the old fort again - one hundred and seventy-five years old. Unbelievable. The Visitor's Center is open and they have a great selection of books. They also have working restrooms at the center.

When you visit and drive around the loop inside Ft. Pickens, notice how much the island has shifted west past the old sea wall since 1834. If you click HERE you can see a sketch of the fort published in Harper's Weekly in 1861 which shows the water hitting against the seawall.

Damage from the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 is still very evident by the remains of trees killed by salt water and storm surge. Slowly they are decaying and being reclaimed by the land. Ospreys are still able to use some of them for nesting.

There must have been quite a line of campers waiting to get in the park this morning. I got there around 9:30 a.m. and there were already people staking their spots.

The campers above must be fairly experienced, considering the way they suspended their cooler to protect it from raccoons (surely not bears!).

Is this an old Airstream?

Beautiful lagoons and bayous near the observation tower.
How wonderful to have Ft. Pickens open again!


Anonymous said...

Hi DJ, Driving the Fort Pickens Road all the way to the Fort was always a pleasure. I especially like to walk the sea wall all the way around from the Fort Entrance to the New Pier. Is the Pier still standing? It is also a fun place to watch the Blue Angels Practice.
See you next week.
Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend


Barrier Island Girl said...

Scottie, the pier at the old fort was being taken full advantage of today. There were probably 25 or so people fishing from it and having a great time. I doubt they were catching much since the Sound was rough.

Hey, that's a great idea about watching the Blue Angels practice from there! Thanks!!!

I may not get photos of tents and decorations at Park East this weekend as I had planned. The weather is not good and it will probably get worse. In fact I may get drenched on my 'dawn patrol' of Ft. Pickens on Sunday morning, but sea turtles don't care if it's raining! ;-)

See ya soon.

Give The Dougal a hug for me.


Anonymous said...

Do they have both A & B campgrounds open or just the old one (A)? Hoping to get down there in Sept.


Barrier Island Girl said...

Patty, both campgrounds are open, but they do not yet have running water and flushing toilets, so you may have to bring in water unless you have a self-contained camper/motorhome. They are working on it though and very possibly will have both electricity and water available by September.


Tiki Island said...

It's been way too long for such a beautiful place. Hope everyone takes advantage of this. What beautiful scenery Mother Nature has given us!!

Unknown said...

It's wonderful to see Ft Pickens again. It's been closed everytime I'm there. I will be back in July and I'm hoping it's not flooded again so that I can get some photos.

Debbie said...

GREAT blog! So good to find it after a search on Ft. Pickens!

My Mom lives in Pensacola, and my brother is in the Navy so we are down here a lot.

I am going to subscribe to your blog now. Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

The little cream trailer that looks like an Airstream is called an Argosy. They were made by Airstream, but were a different line, kind of like a test model. They were very cool, but no longer made.