Friday, June 1, 2012

False Cape Stroll

For Memorial Day, six of us got together for a mini-family reunion at Sandbridge.  We hung out, ate a little too much, told family stories, talked some politics and world affairs, enjoyed some crazy U-Tube videos, went to a Norfolk Tides game, and enjoyed lots of quality time in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean.  We also remembered our sister / sister-in-law / mother / mother-in-law Ann, gone way too soon a year ago May 30, and put some of her ashes in the Atlantic.

On Sunday (May 27), my brother, sister-in-law, and I took a stroll in the remote and wild False Cape State Park.  We rode the "Blue Goose" tram in and out, and had about 2.5 hours in the park to explore the beach, hunt for shells, and just enjoy being outdoors.  The tram ride costs $8 but saves nearly nine miles of walking, as one cannot drive to the park.  It is accessible by foot, bicycle, or canoe / kayak, and thus has to be one of the most remote beaches on the US Atlantic Coast.

On the tram ride in, there was a naturalist who explained something about the area and history.  We saw some wildlife on the way in, especially egrets and turtles out of the water to nest.  But the driver tended not to stop, so it was more transportation than interpretive activities.  We also got to see the fairly new visitor center at the park, which is really nice.  Some day, I would like to hike in here with a backpack and camp out, sleeping by the sea while hearing the surf.  So I scoped out a few campsites while we walked the 3/4 mile to the beach.  I'll save that for a time when the biting insects are less active.

We didn't see any wildlife - well, at least not anything that didn't want to drink our blood - on the walk in and back, but we did see some creatures on the beach as we walked about a mile or so south on the beach.  We picked up trash, and collected some shells.  There are a lot more shells here because so few people visit this place.  Here are some photos.

The Blue Goose continues on after dropping us off to explore on our own.
 The hike to the beach follows a gravel road for a while as shown here.  The last quarter mile or so is all sand.
 It is always exciting to see that first view of the ocean.
 Do you see groups of sunbathers, radios blasting, umbrellas, or crowds of people?  Neither do I.  This is a really remote beach because you cannot drive here.  The beach looks like this for five miles south of here and for 4.5 miles north.
 This little fellow was lying on his back, and I assumed that he was dead.  When I picked him up, he came to life.  I snapped his photo and left him be.
 I love watching the sanderlings as they forage for a meal by the surf.  I wish I could move my legs that fast.  We saw plenty of these little birds all along our walk.

 I found this dead blue crab and a piece of what must have been a large whelk.
 Pelicans are a really cool bird.  They are common here.
 We tried to be good citizens and collect trash as we walked.  It is amazing what one can find on a remote beach, and pretty sad, actually.  In addition to the three large items, the gray bag is packed full of junk.
 The men and women of the US Coast Guard are always out on patrol.  Semper Paratus!
 Who passed by?  I don't remember seeing these tracks on on walk in, so this raccoon must have left his perfectly preserved footprints in the mud since we passed by here.
 A little splash of color.
 Here are some of the shells that I collected.
 Mother Nature, artist supreme!  These two oyster shells were joined, almost as if an artist made this by using one for a base.  I thought it was really cool!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos!! What a shame to find litter on such a remote beach.
    I'd love to walk along there. Nice with no people.
    I didn't know about the $10 pass at 62. I have something to look forward to turning 62 next year. : ) Thanks for the birthday wishes.