Sunday, January 1, 2012

At the Beach

A week ago yesterday we were atop the 4,000+ foot Camel's Hump in western Vermont. The sky was clear, the temperature in the teens, no wind. Yesterday we were at sea level at Seapoint Beach in Kittery, Maine. The sky was gray with thick rain clouds, the temperature hovered at 32 F, and a light, but cold, northwest wind blew across the sands. It felt colder yesterday, everything was gray.

And yet, there was still so much to see and explore. A small flock of bufflehead bobbed and dived just offshore. A handful of purple sandpipers stood on the big rocks that jut into the water; this sandpiper breeds on the tundra and spends its winters along our coast while other shorebirds head farther south. Two snow buntings, another arctic breeder, flitted on the rocky beach. A larger flock of ring-billed gulls foraged in the wrack at the edge of the tide line.

The wrack was full of myriad types of kelp, sponges, mussels, and other creatures.

Seapoint Beach has two types of beaches. One long stretch is flat and sandy, this is where the wrack was deposited at high tide, where the gulls were feeding. Farther down and around a rocky point the beach changes. It becomes steeper, with deep piles of rounded stones shaped over eons by the rush of the tides. As we walked this stretch, we listened to the swoosh of the tide as it slid back down the pebbly slope, acting like a giant percussion rainstick.

As we walked back to the cars, Kodi and his two friends Quercus and Persica, sat for a treat. All three loved exploring the beach in winter, as did we.


  1. Isn't New England life sublime! High mountaintops and to coastal beaches are so accessible. You can even experience both in a single day, if you so choose.

    Your report is delightful, and I especially like how you combined sweeping vistas with close-up views of pebbles, seaweed and shells.


  2. Thanks John. I think it is the best part about living in New Hampshire -- close to the beach and the mountains and Boston (if you chose). We usually chose the wilds of the beach in winter and the mountains year round. Just back from the top of Mt. Passaconaway today!