After the big winds and rain storm, the purple warning flags were flying along the beaches for a couple of days. Purple flags warn of the presence of marine pests like jellyfish, stingrays and dangerous fish. The morning we left Gulf Shores, the purple was still warning the swimmers and waders to be wary.
Many people in the area were hauling boats and pulling trailers and like us, were on the move. We said goodbye to the waterways and canals as we began another trek.
We passed the USS Alabama that we toured a couple of years ago and soon we were into the countryside and passing fields where early spring plantings were beginning to gain height.
Soon we were crossing into Mississippi passing many waterways and marshes.
We blinked and were in Louisiana driving beside and above water of some sort including the grand Mississippi River.
We crossed the Atchafalaya River a few times, a slow moving tea-coloured river that opened onto lakes where Cypress Trees magically grew. We also passed many marshes rich with rice crops and crayfish pots.
Into mid Texas we passed interesting aging towns, homes wearing their wealth or their disinterest in keeping up with the Joneses and various business signs that all added charm to our journey.
A broken down truck towing a broken down truck towing a trailer of smashed cars…what the?
By late afternoon we arrived at Palmetto State Park, Texas.
When we stepped out of CC we were enveloped by hot humid air and the sounds and stillness of a rain forest. The woods were lush with mottled greens as the sun pushed down and unfurled a few spring blooms. We saw many Armadillo here on our last visit but they are currently in their dens where they stay with their young until June. Our walk around the pond revealed the resident alligator and a number of soft shelled turtles. They have very long necks which stretch out ahead of their shells as they swim.
Soft shell turtle
We took a pleasant bike ride to the Marcos River on both days at the park. Rounding a corner I spotted a couple of animals and a bunch of babies crossing the road. My slow reaction resulted in blurry, distant pictures as I realized that we were looking at pigs. The river was quite high, a warm breeze blew the Spanish Moss above us as we explored the river banks from the raised lookout.
Back at our campsite, I Googled wild pigs and found that Feral Pigs have been taking over and destroying thousands of acres of brush and forest in the southern states for a few years. They primarily dine on roots so they dig up and destroy vegetation while they travel about foraging for food. Their tusks are deadly and they are aggressive and will attack anything in their way. The next day, we heard and saw the dangerous pig family in the Palmetto bushes just behind our campsite. The park had warned campers that there were ‘active black bears’ in the park but no mention had been made of the pigs. We were reluctant to sit out at our picnic table but did so with a can of bear spray handy and with Dixie on a short leash. It was very unsettling to be near such unpredictable, dangerous animals especially ones with a litter of little ones. Chris estimates the largest pig was at least three or four hundred pounds.
Babies were 3 different colours of brown, one caramel one is up close.
With the pigs a few feet away, I was too nervous to remember to focus!
Our pig fears were soon squelched by a sudden increase in the winds and a rush of humidity and darkening skies. We knew that rain was predicted for the evening but the storm came early and we watched the weather map north of us showing red and orange splotches of tornado warnings. We had a good lightening show and downpours throughout the night but luckily we were out of range of the two tornadoes that did touch down. The nearby pond was overflowing its banks the next morning and the path we had hiked on the previous day was under ten inches of water. I released a trapped, soggy Opossum from a garbage can where I assume he spent the night. Baring of teeth and a nasty growl were the only thanks I got.
As we drove out of Palmetto State Park after breakfast we thought that the Cypress Trees looked happy with the extra water on their “feet”.