Day 40 – Spanish Fort

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Yesterday was a treat! I woke up after sleeping like a rock in my little tent, stayed dry when it rained and no furry or scaly creatures got into my tent or my food, which I had hung up high in a tree. I felt so well rested that the lack of coffee didn’t even bother me. It was just break down camp, wishing all the while I had a way to stow the garbage that others had left there, gear up the canoe, and go. Pretty simple.

It was a beautiful paddle down the river systems to the Blue Gill Restaurant on the causeway. There I plannedΒ to meet Justine and KC of the Mobile Baykeeper. I had met them at the amazing River Rally and just fell in love with them, Mobile, and the rivers and the river folk of this area. I actually had good service all the way through this section-from Mount Vernon to the Blue Gill-and if you love cypress trees, palmettos, Spanish Moss dripping from trees and the lushness of the wild southern rivers, this area is definitely the place for you. The bird life, the plants, it is paradise. I saw lots of alligator gars, am pretty sure I heard alligators in the night, and for sure there were plenty of fish jumping.

As I paddled south the rise of land that is the area of Spanish Fort came into view-it’s also where a Civil War era fort is. This area is another “must visit” spot. The history and natural beauty plus the people that make Alabama a hidden gem, and this area has a unique beauty all its own. I do believe it’s as much an underrated state as NJ is, maybe even more so.

As I was unloading my canoe full of gear, my phone rang and who was on the other line but Brent! He had made it down with a small pack of his furry friends to meet me and the folks from Mobile Baykeeper. He had gone to one of their events a bunch of years ago and wanted to get reconnected, plus he is always up for an adventure it seems, so he decided to make the trip.

It was great to see him and his pack again-I am very enamored, too, of his little rat terriers. They are little bundles of personality. Heisenberg did manage to escape but Brent located him-it was a little tense as we both knew that alligators were in the area and that they do love dog. He got Heisenberg back but then as I was talking to the ladies working at the front desk of the restaurant, out of the corner of my eye I saw Heisenberg and JoJo shooting across the parking lot. Fortunately Brent nabbed JoJo and we were able to herd Heisenberg back to the truck as well. Crazy little dogs! They love to hunt squirrels and things.

We had a great time at lunch, making me so happy I had opted to sleep in my tent the night before rather than push on and getting to the Blue Gill later and in the dark. Now I’ve been rested and have the energy for the final week of paddling.

At this moment I’m at Justine’s place here in Mobile. It is simply lovely. I think her home is what Linda Vice was describing as a typical design for homes down here. Justine’s home, like mine, was built around 1928/1929. Her home, though, was built to last- mine is a log cabin originally meant for vacationers. In Justine’s home you walk into a large hall with bedrooms off to one side and the common rooms to another. High ceilings, beautiful porch, it really is a sweet little place, and I’m super excited to be staying here another night! I’ll paddle into a yacht club on the Mobile side of the bay, keeping it a relatively short day because of the storms. Tomorrow I’ll either make Coden or Pascagoula. I’m leaning to Coden because of weather and the load on my canoe, but we shall see! Still lining up places to stay so that might be the determining factor as well.

Now we’re gonna get ready to have breakfast at Justine’s sister & brother-in-law’s house. I’m so looking forward to it and this day. And I’ll be back in salt water! I really am looking forward to retracing my steps, the path I took in ’09 when I paddled this way, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita but before the BP oil spill. I would love to meet up with the folks I met before. I often think of them, especially how they are doing post-BP. Living down here is definitely not for sissies. You gotta be tough to deal with not only what Mother Nature dishes up for you, but what people do as well. BP was a disaster many have not ever, particularly all those that committed suicide after being ruined, will ever recover from.

Oh-just a note-about flood victims and things-I am working on locating a reputable charity to promote that is helping the recent flood victims in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana. Will definitely be promoting that as well for the rest of the journey and for as long as it takes in my blog and on social media.

And also-please don’t forget the Care2 petition for clean water! Β (It’s right on the tab on the homepage.)

Thank you!

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