Friday, March 7, 2008

With a Banjo On My Knee

The last two days of the Alabama vacation were as great as the first two. I spent a couple of more hours on Wednesday on the Pine Beach Trail, yet another part of the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge. This was a four-mile out and back and it went through a lot of different kinds of landscape. Maritime forest, scrubby something or other, a lagoon sort of thing and then some dunes...until ta-da, the gulf. It was a good hike but I got a little bit sunburned.

Later in the day, Chicago Meg and I tried to go get pizza but since everything in Gulf Shores closes at like 1pm in the low season, we were foiled at every turn. So we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for the Project Runway finale. We were definitely both Team Christian and we are both completely stymied by Jillian's apparent non-Jewishness.

Thursday I packed up the car and then I took Madeline out on the beach and she did her usual thing when I let her off the leash where she sort of runs around deaf and nuts and the fuh-reaks out when she can't find me. Then we piled into Loretta and took the Ft. Morgan ferry across the mouth of Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island. Now don't try and get all fancy and pronounce Dauphin in the French manner; pronounce it in the bottle-nosed manner, like "dolphin" without the L. Anyway, this bay is where David Farragut (another famous D.G., by the way, as his middle name was Glasgow) yiyapped about not firing until you see the whites of their eyes. Which I could totally see, as Madeline's eyes nearly popped out of her head when the ferry engine started. She calmed down eventually but one thing I noticed was that of the 18 cars on the ferry, at least eight of them had dogs. That seemed high. Anyway, you could see lots of oil platforms from the ferry, both in the bay and in the Gulf. I wonder if you can visit them? Or is it all super-secret?
So anyway, I hopped onto I-65 and made my way to Splinter Hill Bog Preserve, which is another area heavy on pitcher plants. None were in bloom but you could see all the dried up ones and that must be something else in the summertime. It was one of those trails where they post little informational things along the way and on one of them it said something like "there are eight million venomous snakes in this one square acre" which frankly is something they should say at the BEGINNING of the trail if you ask me, BUT THEY DIDN'T ASK ME so then Madeline and I turned around to get the hell out of there and that's when we saw another little sign that said WATCH OUT FOR ALABAMA BLACK BEARS and suddenly this Splinter Hill Bog trail was PISSING ME OFF. Then I remembered Chicago Meg telling me a story about how when she was in the Peace Corps (Togo!) one of the things they taught her was how to kill a snake with a rock. She said if you see a snake in Africa, don't bother with your ethics; just kill the damned thing. With a rock. So I picked up a rock for protection. I figured the mechanics of it were pretty straightforward. She didn't give me any advice on taking out a bear; I guess they didn't teach her that in Togo.

We walked back to the car and began the long drive up 65. It was almost eighty degrees when I left Snake Bog. It was thirty in Nashville when I got out of the car and we are expecting four inches of snow tonight. Sigh. Chicago Meg says she's gonna do the Gulf Shores thing again next year and I can't wait to go.

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