January, 2014

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Mississippi delta

After visiting the nice town of New Orléans, I spent a couple of days in the Mississippi delta, a huge wet zone and totaly flat. VivaLaVida sometimes slept on the beach it-self and I could observe many birds…
1. A nice campsite, isn’t it?
2. Half sun! 😉
3. A seagull at sunset…
4. Sunrise with sea mist…
5. Halo in the mist…
6. Work of the night probably…
7. Another campsite…
8. Royal terns resting.
The next day, I moved a few tens of kilometers and arrived in Texas in an area where there are freshwater marshes behind the dunes, promise an interesting ornithological fauna.
As I walked there, I met me a retired volunteer. Exchanging a few words with, she said: “From 5, mosquitoes will attack you!”
Me: “Really? Even in the wind?”
Her: “Yes , pray for having wind…”.
I found a place to sleep on the beach and after photographing the sunset, I walked into VLV and have undertaken to postprocess some images. Around 9:30, when I turned on the light, stupor: it was almost impossible to see through the windows as there were so many mosquitoes above! Thousands at least. Then I realized that a good fifty were able to enter VLV, where I’m not sure yet . Perhaps through Dashboard ventilation since all other issues being closed… So I had a pretty mosquito hunt before cooking my diner and after because obviously they continued to enter. The next morning, there was again a good fifty but fortunately, as these little creatures have never loved me, , I had only one bite on a toe… : – D
So much for the story.
9. The campsite in question under a nearly full moon.
10. A snowy plover.
11. Two others…
12. Readheads.
13. A nice heron…
14-16. A small series on the brown pelican, wonderful.
17. A neighbor of my camp…
Bye for now……

Eventful way to New Orleans

My definitive papers there, I could set sail “for real”, unusual feeling of freedom ..!:-D
So I took the road to Alabama where some beautiful public forests worth a short stop on the way to Louisiana and Texas. I leaved Buford late, so I was caught in Atlanta trafic jam, especially with a steady rain. I spotted a small Primitive Campground near a small lake approx. 130 miles away but when I got there, a sign said “Seasonal Closure, we will welcome you from mid march” … It was dark for two hours, so I opted to sleep on a small car park at a trailhead in the forest.
I woke up at 4am by a strong gust of wind shaking Vivalavida. A storm front was coming and lightning were so numerous that the light was almost constant. Fifteen minutes later, I heard sirens in the valley and then voice in speakers too distant to be audible. I turned on the little Weather Radio that Corry and Mike had given me, the Swiss couple I’ve camped with in November. It broadcast loop alert “violent storms and marked tornado risk” urging everyone to get away..! Glups, I have not dragged to break camp and get out of this forest, so as not to take a tree on Vivalavida. Ten minutes later, they were real downpour under a huge storm that forced me to drive not faster than 10 m/h, I didn’t just see anything. With almost continuous lightning, it was daunting! Arrived in the valley 45 minutes later, I sheltered under a bridge where two trucks were already stoped. Wake somewhat hectic!
I could take the road again 1:30 later. The weather being advertised rainy for two days in this area, I made ​​the choice to forget the walks that I planned in these forests and head directly to New Orleans. So I drove 530 miles in one go and I arrived there at around 18h​​.
I visited this charming city quite different in the landscape of American cities. I hardly heard some French Creole, at most a few seniors. This language seems to be lost, it’s a pity…
Here are some pictures gleaned during my walks…
1. The French Quarter and his cabs…
2. The cathedral…
3. Madonna in an alcove.
4. Inside the cathedral…
5. Typical balconies…
6. Arcades near the famous Café du Monde…
7. Typical house of the French Quarter.
8. Streets are busy…
9. Live Music is everywhere, in cafes as on the street…
10. Nice face…
11. Another one…
12. Old colonial house.
13. New Orléans rickshaw.
14. Small bars like this, it’s everywhere!
15. Small street…
16. Another one…
17. Nachez comming back, one of the last boats of Mississippi which still runs on steam.
18. The famous paddle wheel.
19. The famous Café du Monde, crowded at any time. You can taste the famous Café-Beignet, the local specialty. Too bad I can make it taste you… 😉
20. The night is falling…
21. … but live music continues…
22. Stores stay open till late in the night.
23. The city is really animated.
24. Reference name…
That’s it for this little pictorial tour, hoping that it doesn’t make too much of a blow… My feet were a little heavy after 10 hours visiting streets and quays..!
The following day, I discovered the vast Mississippi delta; so the next update will be again more wild with some new adventures to tell you… 😉

Way back from Florida (add)

In my last post, I forgot to show you pictures of Phenix, a small town in Alabama that was built along a river right next to the only rapids around. The river “falls” of about 25 feets on three or four hundred yards. This enabled the construction of mills, particularly those used by the cotton industry, a major in the region. Today rehabilitated as homes and offices, the area looks really friendly. Here are some pictures of this beautiful little town.
1. Disused drawbridge, downstream of the city
2. Trees of the surrounding forests is here transformed into paper and cardboard.
3. Arrival at Phenix, view of the river. The Indians believed that a monster once lived in these rapids and removed some canoe or raft trying to cross it…
4. The neighborhood of old mills…
5. Reconverted industrial buildings…
6. To the left, the building that contains the Pressure pipes and turbines, now out of use. (panoramic of de 3 vertical images)
Here are also three pictures taken when going through Atlanta…
7. Downtown
8. Remains of the Atlanta Olympics…
9. A five floors highway junction..!
That’s it for this supplement…Enjoy the weekend! 😀

Way back from Florida

After a few days on the Gulf of Mexico, I received the long-awaited message: my definitive papers arrived!
So I left the ocean for heading up to Atlanta, not without taking small roads with few detours. I then wiped the cold wave that made twenty deaths in North America, with till -52°F in the East.
1. A march next to the road.
2. A bird seen while a quick stop to eat something. To resist to the temp of 16°, she puffed its feathers…
Driving through Alabama, I made a detour to the extreme western Georgia to visit Providence Canyon, a small Bryce Canyon… I got there at 14:30 and it was 14°, the maximum of the day.
3. The trail strewn with ice flowers. To give the scale, ice rods are approx. inches high..!
4. At the bottom of this pretty little canyon, unfortunately with difficult light (panoramic of three vertical images).
5. I told you: it looks a little like the famous Bryce Canyon (panoramic of two vertical images).
6. View from the top (panoramic of four vertical images).
Since I came out around 16:30, I left the tarmac to get a place for the night. I followed a dirt road and came across an old fire watchtower. Usually, the base is surrounded by barbed wire fence that prohibit access to, which wasn’t the case of this one. So I took the opportunity to climb on it, taking precautions for the wooden steps which were well rotten, even some missing…
7. VivaLaVida from an unusual angle…
8. View on the forest around…
I then continued the small dirt roads and after about thirty mile, I found a place to sleep next to a pond, who booked me a nice surprise. While I was out photographing VLV in a pretty sunset, I heard an unusual noise. I have been listening… Yes, it was the sound of an animal gnawing something. Night falling, I spun seek binoculars and tried to locate it for ten minutes without success. Then I heard a “splash”, still without reaching to locate it… Finally, I discover a beaver swimming in the pond, pulling the small tree he had just cutted! It was so dark that I could picture of him to show you. But I saw him come near the entrance of her hut and dive to enter. Then I heard him shake to drain and move the small tree to his companion, exchanging small pretty cries. He then came pout again and swim away across the pond, disappearing into the darkness… I heard him later continuing to gnaw in the dark night. It was a great emotion to see my first wild beaver..! 😉 It made ​​me forget the cold (10° then) and I haven’t regretted the numb I had back in VLV. That night, VLV’s thermometer got down to -2°F, my coldest night in VLV so far.
9. The picture that got me this beautiful surprise…
I joined Atlanta the next day and found my driving license as well as the Title, the ultimate Sesame for my real start. Unable to invite Colin’s family partly sick to share a last dinner, I took my real flight the next day, already with some unexpected on the first night. To discover soon… 😀


I left you on the Atlantic shore of Georgia. Going to visit friends on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, I cuted through the land and joined Florida, stopping at two State parks preserving the forest swamps. The weather was not in the game and since I haven’t received the kayak that I ordered yet, I was a little frustrated not being able to bury myself in these swamps full of life…
1. Pine forest in the rain…
2. In the morning, not far from my camp, a deer…
3. Wild turkeys were also there in their typical environment.
4. They are often small group of 6-10 individuals…
5. A greater yellowlegs.
6. Small train station on my way…
7. Still a forest swamp in the Apalachicola National Forest, with an incredible atmosphere in the rain with bird cries, croaking frogs and crickets rattles, a jungle atmosphere! 😀
8. The “bear claw swamp” is aptly named! The Florida black bear is present in these forests and some can weight up to 300 pounds.
9. Then I reached the Gulf of Mexico. Here mirages on offshore islands.
10. The coast south of Apalchicola Forest is beautiful, still rather preserved.
11. Nice inlet.
12. I was visiting friends living in Panama City Beach, a seaside resort known for its emerald coast, is white sand and the “Spring Break” which is the scene of many excess each spring for two weeks … But the buildings built along nearly 30 km completely distort that coast.
13. The day I arrived, I could see a beautiful but cold sunset, with a strong offshore wind…
The following day, I went to visit the St. Andrew State Park that protects the end of a spit of sand and was able to observe various birds.
14. A female red-breasted merganser.
15. A turnstone
16. A willet.
17. A sanderling with a wounded leg. I managed to approach it at two meters, super close.
19. A great heron, a different specie than in Europe.
20. And while I was going to go, I just saw a neck out of the water and then disappearing again … I approached as much as possible to discover an anhinga! He walks underwater to hunt and head out for a few moments to observe and breathe. It seems to be one of the oldest birds on our planet…
That’s it for today. To be follwed in a few days… 😉

Atlantic Ocean (3)

I announced an urban and animal update… Urban because I spent a few hours in the beautiful city of Savannah. This city had its heyday from the time when the cultivation of cotton, still present today, was the number one economy throughout Georgia.
It’s a two stages city. Downstairs is an arm of the sea and the commercial harbour. The canal is bordered by houses of rich traders from 19th century.
1. Forehead of the old harbour
2. Rich buildings built in the 19th century
3. They now house shops, hotels and restaurants.
4. Small stairs alleys provide access to the rear of these buildings…
5. … where we discover the second floor of the city and first a kind of semi-underground street.
6. It is in the upper town that are the shops today…
7. …but it retains nice neighborhoods…
8. … and old buildings.
I spent almost the whole day of 31 and had a small Eve lunch: fried shrimp as starter – this is the local specialty – and a wonderful bass, a treat! 😀
9. Meanwhile, WivaLaVida waited for me wisely…
10. Continuing south, I made a brief stop to visit Fort Pulaski
11. Built in the early 19th century, it was the scene of a battle that allowed the English to push back the French.
12. Canon batteries are impressive!
I took the road south again and spent Christmas Eve on the pretty Jekyll Island where I have not seen Mr Hide..!
13. Bridge that provides access to Jekyll Island.
I had a nice New Year Eve at my campfire with two girls whose pick-up stoped not far away from VLV. Before that, I had the chance to observe quite a bit of birds, including a beautiful red-breasted woodpeker.
14. What is that thing which looks at me?!
15. I watch it from the corner of the eye…
16. But I continue to flush out my meal!
17. there were also cardinals. here the male with bright colors!
18. And the female…
19. And a wild dove…
20. Not to mention that watching me constantly!
21. A little further, I saw coming a white ibis…
22. … then two.
23. A heavy rain ended my observation…
I then took the road to Florida to visit a friend, poking me in the land and the bad weather. To discover in the next update… 😉

Atlantic Ocean (2)

Happy New Year to all of you! 😀
I continue here the photographic story of my year-end journey on the Atlantic coast of South Carolina and Georgia.
1. It begins with another sunrise, very cold again…
2. First sunrays on a beautiful shell (very postcard, isn’t it? );-)
3. Oaks alley on Hunting Island, gorgeous…
I then headed north of Charleston to visit Franklin Marion National Forest, in particular areas of forest swamps.
4. Suspension bridge spanning an inlet in Charleston.
5. On the road, marine reedbeds…
6. A visitor to my campsite in the evening … Awesome! Too bad it was so high up…
7. Nice forest roads to go to the swamps…
8. Here they are. The atmosphere was amazing, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a troll coming out of the swamp..! 😉
9. Wading in the mud with my sandals, I found other views…
10. One last picture…
11. While I was looking for a place to sleep, the weather turned bad and a storm started a gray and rainy episode…
12. A small lull still allow me grilling my evening meal… 😀
I took the road South again, stopping to see Angel Oak, a giant tree in Charleston. I already stopped there on the way up but it is precisely the day that the State services proceeded with its annual maintenance … 🙁
Angel Oak is immense: its trunk is more than 6 yards in diameter, the tree itself more than 50 yards in diameter and 35 high. Its age is estimated at four or five hundred years. The photo below is a panorama of 60 images! In fact, 4 panoramas 5 images, each of three bracketed images at -2, 0 and +2 EV, assembled to remove dozens of visitors on the site … 😀
13. Angel Oak, the giant tree!
14. Several branches lie on the ground…
15. A true tormented colossus…
the following will be a little more animal and urban… 😉