After an unusual spate of rain and gloom, a hint of sun appeared yesterday. On the spur of the moment off we went on an off-island driving adventure. It was determined that we would head along the old road to St. Augustine. Not having been there for a good bit, and never taking our time, we set off to see what we could see. The sun managed to follow.
Going to St. Augustine, one thinks only of that historic town and not the fascinating nature path you can take to get there. Between the ocean and the intercoastal pathway lies one of the
few estuaries along the East Coast:
The Guana Tolomato Mantanzanas Reserve
We drove along with the estuary on one side and the ocean on the other.
National Ocean and Atmospheric Agency partners with the National Spatial Reference Agency to protect and study this precious waterway that has been here since Native Americans called it home.
Other researchers gather here as well to study this precious place, one of few estuaries left in the U.S.
For us it was educational, but it was also peaceful. As you can see this pier was crowded with all kinds of wild life. We were not allowed to get closer but you can see from the silhouettes what they are. Across the bay there were nesting eagles one could see through a telescope.
Eventually we reached St. Augustine and lunch with a walk-about. Another of our destinations was the chapel of Our Lady of La Leche there in the city. Leche means milk in Spanish, and most are familiar with the La Leche league which promotes breast feeding for infants. The Catholic Chapel itself is named after the nurturing qualities of Our Lady. There has been a chapel here since the Spanish landed in 1565. This first mission in the U.S., the Mission Nombre de Dios, includes the Chapel which is visited by over 200,000 pilgrims a year. The site borders the river and is settled peacefully within groves of cedar and pine. Clusters of historic grave markers surround it. We found it a quiet and restful place to sit and pray after our long day. There are always so many things to pray for in our lives and also, for which to be thankful.