Quick Trip Back to the Beach

Quick Trip Back to the Beach

It had been about three months since I had made a beach visit. And that’s way too long.

Because it’s been difficult — as well as risky, of course — to get to the shore, I’ve been eager to get some sand in my shoes again. And to get some good photos as well.

We got back Wednesday evening. The “explosion” of beach-goers we had been worrying about turned out not to be a thing at all. Well, especially since we timed our arrival for about 7 pm. Not too much danger of being being pressed together with a gaggle of other nature-lovers when the parking area was only about 1/3 full.

We knew that because Memorial Day was right around corner that if we wanted to get to the beach, our window of opportunity would not be open for very long.

So we arrived fashionably late, stayed for a bit less than an hour and had a good time.

Something that we did not expect: we saw first-hand how cruise ships are handling being idle while we’re all dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. We saw six cruise ships trolling around three or four miles offshore, basically just marking time.

Here’s a visual about that, though this photo caught only two of the six:

This seemed a bit odd at first but then I realized that I had actually read about how this is working out in the cruise industry. Because there are no cruises happening — and I mean none at all — there isn’t room in port for all of them at any one time. So we witnessed what must now be business as usual; six cruise ships a few miles out, doing absolutely nothing.

We were perfectly happy after and about an hour or so. I got a few decent pics, we both had some sand in our shoes and we were content to find some hot coffee and begin to head for home.

We will not be venturing out at all in the next three days or so. We’re certain that the Memorial Day weekend will have everything — including pretty much all of our favorite outdoor spots — completely covered up with visitors.

I’m not passing judgement on folks who may be crowding together in a thousand different spaces and places over the Memorial Day weekend. I just don’t feel comfortable being among them.

Best wishes to you and yours over the holiday weekend. I hope you have some memorable and life-enriching times.

And — above all — I hope you stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Serenity is a Full Moon

Serenity is a Full Moon

Like all of you, I’ve been a bit stressed in the last month or so. And I was really looking for something that would help me banish the stress-monster for a moment or two.

About 30 minutes ago, I noticed that a beautiful full moon had just popped over the neighbor’s house. So I grabbed my trusty Canon and took the pic that’s now living at the top of this post.

I hope you’re feeling alright on this lovely night. I’m not exactly a paragon of serenity, but I’m feeling better than I was a little while ago.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

“Moondog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

You Can’t Go to the Zoo Today

Going to zoos is — without a doubt — one of my most favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

But, as you know well, it’s something we just can’t do today.

Fortunately, I’ve been to zoos many, many times and have some good photos of those visits.

Today’s banner photo is a pic from a 2017 trip to the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a pic I like a lot.

I’m delighted to be able to say that I went on four different outdoor adventures in the last three months, while we could do such things without fear of compromising our own or others’ health.

And, yes, I’ve got plenty of photos!

So I will be posting about said adventures soon.

So the fine foto of my feathered friend above is the latest pic from one of my nature excursions.

And it most certainly will not be the last even if it takes me a while to escape the confines of my home!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Return to Moss Park

Return to Moss Park

A couple of months ago I spent a very pleasant part of a winter’s day at Moss Park.

This gem is about 4 miles from Orlando Int’l Airport and features amazing scenery and camping, among other things.

I always love making a trip and taking in all the sights. I have camped there twice and have made two other day visits to grill and take photos.

And, yes, I got some really good photos on this trip.

My companion and I enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch and then I started roaming around with camera in hand.

The banner photo is one that I especially like. The vistas in this part of the park–situated very close to the park’s entrance–are always breathtaking.

The one you see below is from that same part of the park. I always know that pix taken in those last couple of hours before sunset often turn out fabulously. On this visit, I was not disappointed.

Both our lunch and the photo expedition were wonderful. You can be sure that there will be another return to this fine outdoor spot very soon.

And when I go back, I’ll undoubtedly capture many memories and plenty of photos to go with them.

Photos like the one below, the last one I’ll share for now.

Enjoy your outdoor adventures. At this moment in our shared history, it’s all the more important to look for ways to grab a little serenity.

Taking in the beauty of some of our superlative outdoor spaces is a wonderful way to do that.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Fort Christmas Park

Fort Christmas Park

My fellow outdoor enthusiast and I made another trip to Orange County’s Fort Christmas park a couple of weeks ago.

It was another splendid trip, and I did have a chance to take some good photos.

When you visit Fort Christmas Park, there are so many things to see. It’s a park in the Orange county park system wrapped around a pretty authentic re-creation of the actual fort. Fort Christmas was active for a short time in the 2nd Seminole Indian War.

That’s a photo of that storied fort (as re-created) but the fort is only one of the reasons why making a visit to the park is time very well spent.

There are at least 15 out-buildings spread all over the park grounds and they shed light on what life was like for settlers in Florida in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries.

I’ll have more coming soon both about the fort, a very brief mini-history of the Seminole wars and why the fort came to be. And then a photo journal of all of the other things that lie in store for the park’s visitors.

Keep getting out to see some of the great outdoor spots in your neck of the woods. Every corner of America–and our entire planet, for that matter–has a thousand lovely places just there for the taking!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

My traveling companion and I had a marvelous time at Blanchard Park on the east side of Orange County recently.

That outing was about ten days ago and it was a great morning in a wonderful and somewhat under-appreciated spot in the Orange County Parks system.

The banner photo was taken from the picnic area. We had staked out a good spot with a truly fabulous view of the “Little Econ” River.

By the way, the river’s full name is the Econlockhatchee River and it flows into the St John’s River, the longest in the Sunshine State.

Folks around here just call it the “Little Econ”, as you might imagine. A good part of its 54 mile length winds its way through eastern Orange County and there are several parks dotting its path.

Here’s a view of the river looking straight across the bank from our prime spot where we’d set up our camp stove and started to take photos.

I didn’t get too carried away with my camera that morning. But I did get a dozen or so shots worth keeping. Here’s one similar to the banner photo but not zoomed so tightly.

As most of my readers know, I usually take plenty o’ pix each time I get out into Nature’s Den. But the other reason we went to Blanchard Park that fine Tuesday morning was that it was a perfect opportunity to fire up that two-burner camp stove I love so well and make some pancakes and vegan sausage.

We enjoyed our late breakfast that morning and then moved on to another outdoor adventure. That was a trip about ten more miles out East Hwy 50 to the tiny town of Christmas, Florida.

Fort Christmas Park is another choice spot for Central Florida outdoor enthusiasts. But that will be material for another post on another day.

I just want to note as I’m closing that while we were making breakfast, there were two incidents where joggers who were zipping through the park stopped to tell us how awesome the smell of our pancakes were!

That and everything else about the morning was pretty cool. We’re most definitely going to make another trip to Blanchard Park in the near future.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Wekiwa Springs in November

Wekiwa Springs in November

My traveling companion and I made a trip to Wekiwa Springs earlier this month.

It was a great trip and we enjoyed it immensely.

She had not seen it before; had not seen any of our fabulous State Parks here in the Sunshine State and she loved it.

The banner photo is of the bridge that visitors see when they leave the parking area and walk towards the springs.

I’m sure I’ve taken well over a hundred photos of this beautiful and well-loved sliver of the Park. I’m quite pleased with this one.

You can rent canoes and kayaks here and paddle about to your heart’s content. Here you can see plenty of colorful kayaks just waiting to launch.

I’ve had many friends who swear that kayaking is THEE way to go when you’re near the water. I’m sure that their feelings about that are quite well-founded, but I’m more of a canoe guy! Here four of them greeted us when we came of the way with our cameras in hand.

We are planning another visit soon. This time we’ll be set to camp again. It’s really hard to beat this gem of a park when it’s time to pitch your tent and set up camp.

I will keep you posted on that, of course. Here’s a photo of two happy outdoor-folk getting a selfie in one of Florida’s best outdoor spots!

If you’d like to visit the Park sometime soon or simply learn more about it, just follow this handy link.

If you do make it out to Wekiwa Springs, I’m quite sure you won’t be disappointed!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile