A Friday Evening at Sea

Sometimes you have a gem sitting in plain sight and you don’t realize it. This was the case with setting sail for an afternoon of assisted fishing on the Long Island Sound from Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Sound is the body of water between Connecticut and the north shore of Long Island, New York. It is such a popular recreational boating and fishing area that Bass Pro Shop opened a store in Bridgeport that allows access from the rear of the store to the water. Buy your new boat and pilot it home, I guess.

We didn’t do that. Instead, we paid our way onto the Middlebank II, a private fishing boat that leaves from Captain’s Cove. With the crew’s help, we were pulling in fish all afternoon.

I’m not a fisherman, but my wife and kids like it, so I went along and, of course, bought my camera. We were treated to perfect weather and a spectacular sunset on the way back to port. If you want to try your hand at salt water fishing, give it a try. I’m sure we will be back.

 

Advertisements

Connecticut Shore Bird

I’m keeping it simple for Saturday. Behold the Least Sandpiper. Has there ever been a less inspiring name? Where is the Most Sandpiper? The Biggest Baddest Sandpiper. I captured this little bird hanging out in Stratford, Connecticut this morning. Identifying it took a bit because there are many species of Sandpipers. Enjoy!

Lions and Bears, Though No Tigers. CT’s AT

The Appalachian Trail zigs and zags its way from Georgia to Maine (for the north-bounders), or from Maine to Georgia for the rare  SOBOs, and a little piece makes it through Connecticut. Cutting a path through the northwest corner of the state, it includes the two high points Рliterally, the highest points in the state Рjust south of the Massachusetts border.

If you want to see both, and it is well worth the trip, try this path. Park on Bunker Hill Road in Salisbury, CT. There is a small parking lot just past a large house on the right side of the road. The trail head is in the parking lot. Take the blue blaze route up the hill until you catch the iconic white-blazed AT. From there it is a short walk to the first overlook: Lion’s Head. It is a wonderful place to take a break and survey the landscape below.

Lions Head
The view from Lion’s Head. Late August 2016. (Samsung Galaxy 6S)

This cell-phone snap does not do the view justice. Still, you might get the hint of what you will experience for yourself.

Lion's Head View - Salisbury CT 11132014
The same spot. Panorama. Mid-November 2014.

After some time enjoying that view, head north to Bear Mountain. It’s a bit more than two miles away, but well worth the effort. I am not going to spoil the moment by sharing too much, but here is another cell phone snap shot.

Bear Mtn
Bear Mountain. Late August 2016.

As you can see, it was a bit more gray as the day got later. That’s why the real camera stayed home and we have to settle for phone pics. The rain came, and in a big way.

Here is something else you should know. Should you decide to cross into Massachusetts as we did, you will be facing a treacherous descent down the north side of Bear Mountain. It requires careful maneuvering on the way down and some hands-and-feet scramble on the way back up. If you see the below sign, you made it down alive. Now you just have to climb back up and walk the 5+ miles back to your car.

BEar Mtn Sign

All told, our walk from the car, about 1/2 mile into Massachusetts, and back was about 10.5 miles. Turn around at the Bear Mountain summit and you will be at about 9.

PS: Happy trails to Music Box and Snorlax, a NOBO couple on their way to Maine. Maybe we will see you at Katahdin in October.

Plymouth (Plimoth), MA

Plymouth, Massachusetts offers more than enough to keep one busy for a week or more. We visited Plimouth Plantation,¬† the Mayflower II, and, of course, Plymouth Rock. The highlight of our week was the four-hour Captain John’s Whale Watch. If you even thinking about it, go! We saw so many whales exhibiting every feeding behavior of the humpback species. Everywhere we looked off of Provincetown, there where whales feeding and sleeping and, it appeared, showing off for their visitors. Pictures don’t suffice; you must see it for yourself.

Plimouth Plantation is also worth at least two hours. The Wampanoag Native Americans where so knowledgeable and eager to share their culture. Engage in conversation to learn how they lived in harmony with the land and in sync with the seasons over the past 10,000+ years. The English village actors are equally engaging, though in a different way. I won’t spoil it for you. Explore and discover it for yourself.

Manomet Beach, Plymouth, MA

Manomet Beach is on Cape Cod Bay, located just above Cape Cod in Massachusetts. We started off with a windy night on Saturday (24 July 2016). The storms ripped through to the north, but we got in on the action with intense winds and a near 30 degree drop in temperature. It went from hot and humid to, “Where is the blanket?” Sunday morning was gorgeous.

Burr Pond State Park (CT)

Burr Pond State Park in Connecticut offers an opportunity to spend a full day of swimming, hiking, and firing up the grill. During our walk on July 16, 2016 we took it slow; it was more of a nature walk than a hike.

The loop around the pond is under three miles, but there is plenty to see. Fauna is abundant. Flora (or flowers, at least), in mid-July…not so much.

If you visiting during the summer month, pack a lunch or a cooler (no alcohol) for a BBQ. Hike. Kyack. Swim. Enjoy the respite from the daily grind and find your own frog!

Stone Mountain State Park (NC)

Nearly every day over the past weeks, we have all been inundated with horrible news. Dozens dead in Orlando. A maniac with a truck wipes out scores of lives in Nice. Cops shot. It’s enough to make one want to give up, or at least head to the woods for a while.

Yesterday’s Time magazine arrived on schedule. (Yes, we are still old-school paper in the mailbox for this and a few other mags.) In it was a wonderful article called “The Healing Power of Nature.” If you are like me, you spend a lot of time in the woods. I try to get out there at least once a week; it is restorative and peaceful and makes me feel like I have had time off. Maybe this Time piece explains it. Maybe it’s the majesty of creation. Whatever it is, I like being there, discovering new jaw-dropping vistas, and looking back on my photos.

This brings me to my motivation for this and future blogs. I am simply going to share my pictures and a few comments on the walk. My goal, as humble as it might be, is to inspire you to get out there. If you can’t – maybe you are a city dweller or are physically limited or have some other good reason – the pictures can still help you decompress.

Enjoy. Breathe. Be.

Peace.

= = =

Stone Mountain State Park in North Carolina is a place one can spend days enjoying. We had just a few hours, enough to make the ride worthwhile, and also enough to make us want to go back for more. The three most interesting features we saw were Wolf Rock, Cedar Ridge, and the Hutchinson Homestead. If you see nothing else, go to these areas of the park. The climbs are moderate, and the Homestead, which also gives you a great view of Stone Mountain, is accessible to those using wheelchairs. You can (though we didn’t) drive right up.