posts tagged with 'beach'

to water

This past Sunday Elijah was bored. It was a tired kind of bored: a full day with friends on Friday followed by the fair on Saturday had taken a lot out of us. His brothers were playing games on screens, but he's not interested in that. Because I respect that about him, when he told me for the fifth time that he didn't have anything to do I figured I could try and help him out. It had gotten warm—hot, even—so why didn't we go to the pond? We did.

Elijah waist-deep in Walden Pond

and straight in!

It was delightfully relaxing with just the two of us. Not that the pond was empty, as I had expected; on a beautiful warm weekend day lots of other people had the same idea. Not many of them were swimming though! The water was still pretty chilly. I wasn't swimming either, but that was because I don't actually own a swimsuit right now. I was happy to lie in the sun and almost fall asleep several times. I didn't even peak at the book I brought. Elijah lay in the sun too, in between forays into the water. It made for a good afternoon.

Elijah lying in the sun on a wall by the pond

relaxation

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park day boat day

Less than a month ago, there was still ice on Freeman Pond. Not enough to skate on, sure, but it was still there (we skated for the last time seven or eight weeks ago, I think). Now that it's gone, of course, it means it's time to go in the water! That actually started back in March, but yesterday it was finally warm and fine enough that I felt comfortable bringing the boat.

Zion, Elijah, and a friend on the canoe in Freeman Pond

on the water again

Or boats, actually—because when I was cleaning under our front porch a week and half ago I discovered that we had a windsurfer down there. I guess it's been there for a while, and I can't imagine why we haven't tried it out before now! We couldn't manage the sailing part yesterday—too many missing pieces plus my complete lack of knowledge about the process—but it was still great as a paddleboard!

Zion raising his arms triumphantly standing on the windsurfer board in the pond

he's always loved standing up in boats

The water still isn't what you'd call warm, but it was enough above freezing that even if there was no actual swimming nobody minded falling in much, even on purpose. We had also brought the muskets to play with, and there was the whole playground there, but none of that mattered... it was the water the whole time!

Zion in the bow of the canoe heading towards the Park Day beach

sun on the beach

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you know winter's over when...

For the last couple months we've really enjoyed the ice on Freeman Pond at park day. Skating, exploring... even sailing! Last week it was barely a ghost of its former glory, but we still had a little bit of fun throwing rocks to break the thin skin of ice that still floated a few yards from shore. Well, today the ice was finally gone completely, and you know what that means!

Elijah and Zion wading deeply in Freeman Pond

that's what we do with water, right?!

Let me say that the water was in no way warm, nor, really, was the air: you see that Zion didn't take his shirt off, and Elijah was wearing long pants out there under the water. But open water and a beach is so exciting that it didn't take them long to progress from wading, to splashing each other, to dunking sweatshirts in and then putting them on. By then everyone was so wet that it would have been silly not to go in all the way! For those kids, anyway. Somehow all the adults, teenagers, and younger kids managed to resist the allure of the pond. This week, anyway: Spring's just getting started! Let's see what they get up to next week.

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we need to see the ocean every couple months

Elijah, in blue coat and backpack, looking out over the blue ocean

ocean's blue

Tuesday is our outing day. So yesterday, after some work time and recorder practice, we packed up and headed out for a big one to Rockport, where we hadn't been since August. And our main goal was somewhere we've never been before: Halibut Point State Park, which came highly recommended by a good friend in our Friday evening group. While we're usually pretty smooth at getting out the door, there were some hiccups in the planning process. Zion made his lunch and packed it up in his backpack, but when we arrived (after a drive of close to an hour) he found that he never managed to get his backpack into the car. Also, the clothes he had chosen to wear weren't quite up to the rigors of the weather, which was pretty cold and windy. As it was already past noon when we got there, we ate lunch at the first semi-suitable spot we found, which was only... semi-suitable. It was pretty cold. On the other hand, we had a great view over the deep cliffs of the quarry pond!

the boys huddling behind a rock to eat lunch above a quary pond

if we could just lift our heads to look...

It turns out Halibut Point is a pretty cool spot. It's the site of a former granite quarry, which means there's the big pond that would be the best place ever to swim if there weren't 400 "no swimming" signs (ah, the sadness of living in 21st century Massachusetts), and also an immense looming headland which seems to have been made made by piling up mined-out gravel boulders and filling the spaces in between with dirt and gravel. But before we went up there we had to go make our acquaintance with the ocean, and play on some naturally occurring rock features.

Zion sticking his head out of a cave between boulders

he could live in there!

The ocean was as fascinating as it always is, and the rocks near it as fun to explore. Zion took the camera for a while, but the only disappointing thing about rocky shores is how hard it is to capture photographically the power of the waves. Still, he did his best!

the waves beyond the rocks

actually I think I took this one

Moving on after a bit we found a spot where, on a giant flat rock just like a table, people had built up dozens of piles of rocks large and small. As I looked at it I saw a crazy walled city, ancient or cyberpunk, and I told the boys about it. They totally agreed and we spent the next ten minutes adding to the city. Especially bridges. Finally turning our back on the epic creation we headed back up the hill to the headland, where besides a dizzying view over the edge of a cliff we found another stone table with a hole in it just right for recreating that scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Harvey sacrificing Elijah on a stone table on a headland

Elijah is Aslan

By that point we were running out of State Park energy, but we had enough left to finish our loop around the quarry pond (stopping at a couple amazing "no swimming" swimming spots) and find the way to the visitor center building, which was closed. The whole place was very accessible—I bet it's mobbed in the summer.

Zion pointing across the pond

"that's where we ate lunch"

Back in the car we decided that we actually weren't done with the adventure: we needed to visit the playground by Front Beach that we missed out on last time we were there. And the beach too, of course. The water there wasn't too cold for wading, and, even more exciting, there was actual sea-glass to find! Only very small pieces, but still thrilling. And then we had all the time we wanted to play on the playground and explore the rest of the park. By then we weren't even so cold any more! It was a fine day.

Elijah jumping over a stream on the beach

yay ocean!

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October on the water

It's been super fun having two boats this summer—when we actually got out on the water, at least. In actual fact though, we managed that way fewer times than we might have wanted to. That's mainly because it's more than twice as hard to get the two boats on the car, but also because Harvey's is wet enough that he wasn't excited about taking it on the river for a long paddle. We were thinking about all that this past weekend, and I proposed a river trip for Tuesday to make up for it, in one boat or two: get out in the clear fall air, see the leaves (which are changing faster along the river than anywhere), get some exercise... Only, after some mid day work in the garden we felt so hot and summery that we just had to head to Walden instead.

the boys swimming in the pond with the canoe pulled up on the shore

because what could be better

It wasn't really swimming weather; there were lots of people there, but most of them were sitting on the beach, boating in sweatshirts, or walking around the pond. Plus a fair number of open-water swimmers doing their regular all-weather thing. But no other casual, play-in-the-water folks like us. The rest of the world didn't know what they were missing! Sure, the water was chilly, but the sun was hot and drying so it totally balanced out! The boys swam and practiced martial arts using their life jackets as dummies and tried to ram each other with the canoe, and I alternately lay on the rocks and dipped myself in the beautifully refreshing water. Elijah and I did a little exploring by boat, and he and Zion got out there too. I still want to do the river before the leaves all fall, but I absolutely can't complain about an afternoon at the pond.

Zion and Elijah paddling the canoe out in the pond

perfect afternoon

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farewell to summer

We're never quite sure where exactly the equinox falls. On the calendar we marked it down for today, but does that mean that tonight is the same length as today, or was it last night? In any case, we figured that yesterday was the last day of astronomical summer and we determined to celebrate it appropriately. Which, never mind that it was actually kind of chilly, meant taking the boats to the pond!

Harvey and Zion swimming with the canoe, Elijah lying on a rock on shore

waterfront action

We actually haven't gotten them out all that much the last couple months, so it was extra exciting to hit the water. The sun came and went as we paddled around looking for a good spot to set up camp, but by the time we found one, ate our lunch, and got ready to swim, it was solidly hidden by low gray clouds. So while the water was probably warmer than just about every time we've swum this summer, it was a bit of an effort to take the plunge. Of course we all did eventually, and after a while the clouds parted again for a time. Elijah had to take the most breaks to warm up, but there were rocks to jump on (and lie on when the sun was shining) and he and I even took a little mini hike up the hill above the pond. Harvey and Zion just swam and swam, and played with the boat and paddles.

With peaches from the farmers market on the way home it felt like a perfect way to see off the summer. Then at supper time we made a fire, and, though we were a little too busy playing and chatting with the friends who came over—and toasting marshmallows—to do any real reflection on the change of seasons, I think it did the job of marking the equinox the way it deserves to be marked. Now bring on the fall!

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in the waves

Our Cape trip last week was mostly about playing in the waves. With Hurricane Larry somewhere in the mid-Atlantic we expected some heavy surf; in the event I don't think it made much of an impact, but there was plenty of wave action for everybody anyway.

Harvey breasting a wave at Coast Guard Beach

testing them out

As I mentioned our first stop on the trip was Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. We parked in the visitor center lot and the boys and I rode our favorite bike path in to the beach—and this time Elijah made it the whole way without needing to push up any hills! Leah doesn't bicycle these days so she walked, and very much enjoyed the rare opportunity to be out by herself without the dogs. We got to the beach at right about high tide, and the waves were big enough to be fun without being at all threatening. Best of all, they were pushing right up the beach without a lot of rolling chaos, so all the boys were able to body surf without a problem. As the tide went out it got a little more challenging, but no one was seriously injured and all would have been happy to stay even longer than we did. But dinner in Truro awaited!

The beach on the Bay side in Truro is usually pretty sedate, but on Wednesday a steady wind out of the southwest was pushing some pretty good swells against the sand at a 45 degree angle. Expecting calmer waters the boys had the inflatable boats with them, and we spent an exciting couple hours launching them into the surf, riding the swells, then being pummeled back to shore. So fun!

Zion and Elijah launching an inflatable raft into two-foot breakers

waiting for the perfect moment

a view of the launch efforts from above, on the bluff

they're some noticeable waves

the boys playing on and around the raft in the ocean

but once you're in, it's all easy!

There were so many waves packed into those two days that we didn't even mind when Thursday was cool and rainy. We needed a break! Of course, even on the beach it's not all action: we know how to do a vacation right.

Elijah resting on the beach with his legs buried in the sand

what he does when he's not in the water

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hitting the beach hard

We're on vacation in Truro again. We made the most of our first day away from home, stopping at the beach in Eastham for an afternoon of play in the surf... and the best part of it is that, since the puppies stayed back home, Leah could join us! Of course, we're missing them, but we're also relishing the unaccustomed freedom and have high hopes for the rest of the vacation. Lots more beaching to come!

surprise outing

Yesterday I had a loose plan for the day: do some cleaning, read some books together, and generally get used to living according to a schedule. That's something that we haven't been managing much for the last couple weeks, and with a very scheduled September coming up I though it would be worthwhile to do some prep work. But that went straight out the window when friends invited us to the beach. Because, the beach!

the boys and friends digging in the sand at the beach

it's still summer!

We went to Wingaersheek, which we've never visited (or spelled) before. I'd heard about it, but I was put off by the cost to park and the threat of crowding. The morning's clouds and iffy forecast meant the latter wasn't such a worry, and as for the $30—we'll do it if we get to go with friends! And I'm glad we did, because we had a super fun time. As out friends told us, the beach is best at low tide; sure enough, as soon as we got their (a few minutes ahead of them) the boys headed right out into the shallow water. Way, way out.

the boys walking out into smooth ocean water

this is just when they were getting started...

The other big attraction at Wingaersheek is the variety of rocks scattered in the middle of the beach—not just big cliffs on one side or the other, but littler ones from end-table to tractor-trailer sized. Everyone who wanted could find something that was fun to climb! The rocks also caused the creation of lots of different sized tidepools in the sand around them. We enjoyed rocks and pools for a bit, then at the moment of low tide we headed out onto a spit of sand, oh, a quarter mile or so from the beach—maybe more. I didn't take a camera because we were, you know, in the ocean, so you'll have to trust me when I say that the kids had a great time playing in the little waves that were crossing over the spit in all sorts of interesting patterns.

Eventually we made our way back to dryer land for lunch, and our encampment on a medium-sized complex of rocks was just the thing for eating on the beach without getting sand in all the food. We did have to chase off a number of seagulls though.

the boys and friends eating lunch on a rock rising a few feet above the beach sand

our camp for several hours

As the tide came in, it started to lap around the first of the rocks. After a bit we noticed that one of them made a perfect slide; that occupied us for a while.

the boys sliding down a smooth rock into the water

water park

Then we climbed some bigger rocks, then explored a whole new section of beach on the other side. It had its own points of fascination: another, smaller, spit; super soft squishy sand in one spot; a big temperature gradient from one side of the spit to the other. Plus the sun was out some, lighting up the shallow water a beautiful blue-green so it looked just like the Caribbean. Again, though, no camera.

By this point we were on hour five at the beach, but our interest was sustained by all the changes the tide brought to the already varied landscape. The last couple minutes the water lapping among all the different shaped rocks even put us in mind of a skate park, and we did some sweet tricks. If only the lifeguards didn't tell us we couldn't jump off the rocks (this is Massachusetts, after all) it would have been perfect. And because late August, nobody even got sunburned! Yay beach!

Elijah doing a split on the beach

yay beach

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other adventures

Not content to rest on our camping laurels, we scheduled a full slate of adventures for this week. Today's was a trip to Rockport with our school friends who, despite having lived in Massachusetts their whole lives, have never been there! Good thing we know all the best spots.

the boys at the end of the wharf in Rockport

looks suitably nautical

We started off with a look at the harbor and the shops along Bearskin Neck. The strudel shop was open so we stopped in for some croissants, which we ate along with our lunches from home on the breakwater. Then the kids ran along the rocks to the end of the breakwater where some of them, not content with the amount of danger they'd already exposed themselves to, climbed the warning sign pole.

Elijah climbing a sign pole at the end of the breakwater

he wasn't the only one to go up

On the way back through town we passed by the ice cream store and, despite my suggestion that it might be better to wait a little to get hungry again, the kids insisted we stop for another treat. So we did. They regretted it too and some ice cream ended up going in the trash can, but that's ok: it's all part of the experience. The picture looks good anyhow.

the boys eating ice cream in front of the Ice Cream Shop

you have to, on vacation!

Then it was on to the beach! The water was a little chilly for some of the party, though nothing to those of us who had been swimming in Maine a couple days ago. Plus it was dead calm and shallow for quite some distance off the sand—just like a salt water swimming pool! We had lots of fun swimming and also running and doing gymnastics in the water, and also put in some time climbing the rocks at the side of the beach.

Harvey and Zion in the dead calm ocean

still waters

With a baby along on the expedition the fun couldn't last forever, so we pulled the kids away from the water before they were quite ready. Before we left town, though, we had to visit the higher rocks which I like to think give the town its name (that's right where we were parked anyway). It was an acceptably romantic prospect.

Elijah climbing down giant rocks to the ocean

eponymous rocks

All that, and we were even home in time for supper!

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