I gave thanks often on Veterans' Day to the many people who have served our country over the centuries. Included in this group are my late step-father Stuart Silverman (WW II, Pacific Theater), my older brother Chris Ritter (Vietnam), and my nephew Kelly Rainbird (Iraq War).
I was at the beach, and decided to hike in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, giving me some more time on foot in my new hiking boots. I hiked a little on the trails and gravel roads through the marsh, and walked a mile or so each way down the beach. Along the way, I saw a deer, a rabbit, a great blue heron, and large flocks of tundra swans back from their arctic breeding season. I also heard a kingfisher's rattling cry, and saw a few other kinds of animals, but we will leave those for later.
Here are some photos from my hour and a half of walking. This one reminded me a bit of a natural Christmas wreath in the marsh, along with some cattails:
I left the marsh to head down this long walkway over the dunes to the beach:
Here is a view of the ocean just past the dunes:
I found this small whelk shell on the beach:
A herring gull flies over the waves:
Before leaving the beach, I took a shot of the beach down towards North Carolina, about 8 or 9 miles of pristine beach away.
I found this deer's backbone, skull, a mandible, and a bunch of ribs in the marsh. The other mandible and several leg bones were scattered about. It is hard to know how it died, but it was obvious that animals fed on the carcass and scattered its bones about.
A flock of tundra swans soars over Back Bay:
Sunset over the marsh and Back Bay. It was not as spectacular as the sunset last New Years Eve that I posted about here and wrote verse about here, but it was still a beautiful way to end my hike:
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