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Archive for the ‘Sand and Shoreline’ Category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Posted by Jody on May 14, 2013

~Patterns in the Sand~

Pattern

Art on the Beach

 ~ Making Patterns in the Sand ~

Manhattan Beach in Southern California

On Manhattan Beach, Southern California

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is Pattern.

~~~

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Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beach Activities for Everyone ~ Even Non-Beach-Lovers (Seriously?!)

Posted by E.G.D. on April 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Post Writer is Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web:

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

I confess, I used to hate the beach. I hated the sand getting in everything, I thought it was boring, and on top of that I don’t like my beach bod. However, now I love the beach. Working at a travel agency, destinations that are rich in beaches come up a lot, so I have a lot of knowledge about what to do on a beach. I’d like to share how the beach can be a fun place for everyone from grandpa to baby with a few activities that will be fun for all. Believe me, if I could get over my dislike of the beach, then you or your family members can too.

Looking to Relax
If you can find a quiet beach, you are set, and even if you are at a popular spot, put on your shades and some soothing music and focus in on the waves coming in and out. Lounging on the beach is a great chance to get out in nature, but you can surround yourself with creature comforts, like a pillow, your e-reader and some tropical smoothies.

Most relaxing activity: Many cruise lines have private islands in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, where you can even experience a massage in a cabana right on the beach.

Shelling with Family

Shelling with Family

Looking to Explore
A beach has a lot to offer for both kids and adults looking to discover creatures they’ve never seen, or to find those special shell treasures. In fact, finding a good beach could be an expedition in itself.

Best Exploration: Snorkeling excursions are a chance to see the creatures that lurk just underneath the water. In the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, you’ll have a chance to see beautifully colored fish and interesting coral formations.

Looking to Play
Sand castles aren’t just for kids, on the shore you can try your hand at making sand sculptures. The beach is fun, but things can get really fun in the water. At many beaches you can rent wave runners, or fly high while parasailing over the ocean. Some cruise lines even offer passengers the chance to take a horse ride on the beach and even in the surf.

The Most Fun of All
Anytime you can learn a new skill, it makes your experience that much more rich. Beaches in Hawaii and other tropical destinations offer surf lessons where you can test your balance in the ocean.

As you can see, there really is an activity on the beach for everyone. All you have to do is make sure you visit a beach that offers what you are looking for, read reviews, speak with a travel agent, and get ready for some fun in the sun.

About the Author: Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web, a travel agency that specializes in cruising. Her favorite beach has to be the one on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.
~~~

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

“Where’s the beach?”

Posted by Jody on March 18, 2013

Last weekend Greg and I had the chance to visit the awe-inspiring Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado.  We had enough time to arrange our drive from Albuquerque to Denver to include an overnight in Alamosa, which is about a 35 mile ride south and west of the park. It was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. The Great Sand Dunes are the tallest dunes in all of North America. The spectacular main dunefield stretches over 30 square miles at the foot of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the entire park covers nearly 376 square miles). Simply put, this is one of the most Bucket List worthy places in the United States. Our family had been to the park many years ago, and we couldn’t wait to get back for some hiking and R&R.

Here’s a list of what we found!

Sand ~

Sand

Sand

Driftwood ~

Driftwood

Driftwood

Dune grass ~

Dune Grass

Dune Grass

And sand dunes as far as the eyes could see!

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

You might be thinking: “This is a beach inspired blog, Jody! Where’s the beach?”

And I would reply, “It’s right here!” :-)

The Beach at Medano Creek

*This is the beach at Medano Creek!*

“Well then, where’s the water?”, you ask.

“Look up! It’s high in the snow pack (14,000 +/- feet) of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains!”, I answer.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado

Every year, Medano Creek is formed by the melting winter snows. From April to June (and sometimes into July), the icy streams formed by the annual snow melt trickle down the mountain sides to create the Medano Creek beach and play area that are just perfect for splashing, surfing, wading, skimboarding, and floating! In fact, depending on water level, visitors may participate in any non-motorized activities in the creek. Sand boarding and sand sledding on the dunes are all the rage. Sand castle building is a very popular waterside activity, too.

We’re planning a trip back for fun in the sun and water in May or June so there will be more photos to follow. For now, here’s a look at more of the beauty that is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. It is by far one of the best of the best recreation areas the USA has to offer within its vast (84.4 million acre) National Park System!

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

<----- This way to the dunes.

<—– This way to the dunes and beach.

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Can you spot the hikers?

Can you spot the hikers on the ridges?

Hikers on the Dunes

Hikers on the Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes

~~~

Have a great day at the beach!

~~~

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 38 Comments »

Happy Hiking to Abbotts Lagoon Beach!

Posted by Jody on March 13, 2013

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Northern California

The lovely 1 ½ mile walk through coastal vegetation (across a bridge over a small river dividing the two-stage lagoon and traversing soft, shifting sandy hills) might seem a bit more like a hearty (yet low-key) footslog than a “moderate walk.” The unequaled Abbotts Lagoon “trail”  brings hikers through soft, deep sands that seem to slow one down to the bare minimum speed. In this piece of Point Reyes paradise, wayfarers can expect a scenic and unhurried journey!

Trailhead Marker

Trailhead Marker

Greg and I weren’t in any rush on the day we visited! The leisurely pace made it all the easier for us to really take in the spectacular scenery along the diverse trail. Wildflowers abound at Abbots Lagoon, and bird watching is simply unavoidable!  We didn’t actually see very many birds on our January visit, but these lagoons reportedly attract many species of migrating shorebirds in the fall, followed by ducks during the winter months.

If you’re really lucky, you may even spy a peregrine falcon looking for a tasty meal! The sand dunes backing the beach are also home to the threatened western snowy plover. It’s important for visitors to keep an eye out and tread carefully on the sandy beach during their nesting season (spring and early summer).

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Eventually the path opened up before us to an awe-inspiring panorama of the Pacific Ocean. This varied trail brings happy hikers right to the shores of the Great Beach. The far-reaching Great Beach is actually made up of many sections of sandy shoreline, and the beach at Abbots Lagoon is just one small, beautiful portion of the uninterrupted 11 mile expanse of bluffs, dunes, and natural shoreline.

Greg and I were blown away by the beautiful “sands” we found near Abbotts Lagoon. Sifting through the rich greens, bold reds, and bright yellows of the tiny beach pebbles was an amusing highlight of a lovely walk to a beautiful beach on a warm and sunny winter’s day!

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Up, down, out and across; there’s something to see in every direction on the trail to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon!

Happy hiking!

~~~~

Helpful link: National Park Service/Point Reyes National Seashore

Posted in Beach Birding, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Winter Beach Walk at Good Harbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan

Posted by Jody on March 6, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer/Photographer is Beth Dole:

Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan has wonderful beaches, and few ever get out to explore their winter beauty. This week Good Harbor beach made national news for a peculiar formation of ice balls on the beach (see last picture).  I couldn’t wait to get out there and check them out, but by the time the weekend rolled around the dynamic beach had of course changed. Now it was frozen sand and ice, with frozen ice balls. The beach was icy enough one could ice skate on it, the rocks were frozen solid with great ice formations to explore.

Winter Wonderland at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter Wonderland at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

My advice to all is to visit the beach all year round, winter can be delightful on the beach.

Winter in Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Beacr Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes (Photo by Beth Dole)

Ice Balls (Photo by Leda Jo)

Ice Balls (Photo by Leda Jo)

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in Northwestern Lower Michigan along the shores of Lake Michigan. The Visitor Center is in Empire, MI about 25 miles from Traverse City. Miles of sand beach, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes. High dunes afford spectacular views across the lake. Sleeping Bear Dunes is as old as continental ice sheets and as young as the 1970 Establishment Act that set aside the Lakeshore for preservation of the natural resources and for public use. The most prominent features, and those for which the park is named, are the perched dunes above Lake Michigan. These immense sand dunes are “perched” atop the already towering headlands that are glacial moraines. The dune overlooks at the Sleeping Bear, Empire and Pyramid Point bluffs are about 400 feet above Lake Michigan. With 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams, the park is wonderfully water oriented.

About the Author: Beth Dole is the mom of two teenagers, avid outdoors person, loves the beach, can be found hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, kayaking in the north country when not writing blogs about heart disease. 

A couple more helpful links:

The Official Website of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau

Traverse City.com

~~~

Please stop by and visit Beth at her very informative and helpful blog: Rehabilitate Your Heart.

~~~

Just a note: Beth, you are so right! Any time of year is the perfect season for a trip to the beach. Your photos are absolutely wonderful! Many, many thanks for sharing your beautiful, beachy part of the world with us! ~Jody

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Great Lakes Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 30 Comments »

Oreti Beach, New Zealand

Posted by Jody on March 4, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Jo from Over the Edge of the Wild:

Oreti Beach (Photo by Brenda Cahill)

Oreti Beach (Photo by Brenda Cahill)

When people think of New Zealand, it’s often for the magnificent snow-capped mountains, the Lord of the Rings movies, the clean, green, nuclear-free image, or even the rugby. Given its proximity to Antarctica, however, it’s not necessarily the top of the list for a beach vacation.

Burt Munro Challenge (photo by Neil McKelvie)

Burt Munro Challenge (photo by Neil McKelvie)

Recently, however, TIME magazine named the Burt Munro Challenge one of its Five Festive Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013. The Challenge, a five day motorcycle rally, includes seven forms of motorsport racing, including beach racing along Oreti Beach, so it’s bound to see some more action this year.

Oreti Beach is a (roughly) 26km long stretch of sand, located around 10km from the city of Invercargill. Fringed with an endless expanse of sand dunes, the flat stretch of sand is solid enough to drive vehicles along (in most places, most of the time). This made it the perfect place for Burt Munro (eccentric local hero and holder of the 1000cc motorcycle land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats) to experiment with his hand-modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle and practice for racing in Bonneville. Even outside of Challenge week, visitors can walk, ride or drive along the beach.

The New Zealand Pacific Ocean (photo by Brenda Cahill)

The New Zealand Pacific Ocean (photo by Brenda Cahill)

As well as its real life role in Burt Munro’s story, Oreti Beach was also used as a set in the biographical New Zealand film The World’s Fastest Indian, which was based on his life.

Motorcycle enthusiasts are not the only ones to enjoy a visit to Oreti Beach, however. In the summer months of December to February (peaking in late January/early February), families head out for picnics and BBQs, to go for a swim, catch flounder, or soak up some vitamin D. The sun can be harsh in New Zealand, so remember your sunscreen, and the water is quite safe for swimming, but don’t expect it to be warm. Water temperatures in Southland peak at around 15°C in the summer months, and can dip below 10°C in the winter.

Burt Munro Beach Racing (photo by Neil McKelvie)

Burt Munro Beach Racing (photo by Neil McKelvie)

Kiwis (and Southlanders in particular) don’t like to let a little thing like the cold get in the way of enjoying themselves though, and Oreti Beach has been home to the Southland Mid-Winter Swim event for more than 20 years. This polar plunge takes place in June each year, when air temperatures rarely reach double figures. It’s cold, but it’s invigorating!

Aside from the cold, being at the bottom of the world does have its advantages. Only a few minutes drive from the city centre, after-work trips to the beach can last four or five hours before the sun goes down. The extended twilight hours stretch out into beautiful sunsets, and with only 50,000 residents in the city, you can be fairly certain of finding a quiet spot to yourself to enjoy those extra daylight hours on the sand.

Sunset (photo by Neil McKelvie)

Sunset (photo by Neil McKelvie)

About the author: Jo is one half of a Kiwi couple living in Darwin, Australia, saving money so they can see  more of the world. Jo and Aaron chronicle their travels on their blog, Over the Edge of the Wild, and have enjoyed taking the time to think about home and share this little piece of New Zealand with you all.

Special note: Jo, thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful place with us! I loved the movie and think it’s great to learn a bit more about the story and the area! Any reason is a good reason to visit the beach and the knowing something about history of the shoreline really adds to the experience for me. ~Jody

~~~

Posted in Beaches of Australia and New Zealand, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Travel Theme: Roads

Posted by Jody on March 3, 2013

Where the rubber meets the sand…

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Seeing vehicles driving on the sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico is nothing out of the ordinary. Long-Dun Beach in Cameron Parish is a fine example of a rustic beach (no facilities) on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast where beach goers happily drive right onto the sandy shoreline and proceed to pick the perfect parking spot for a day brimming with sun and fun at the beach. These drivable coastlines are treated as byways and standard rules of the road apply.

Long-Dun Beach is a lovely stretch of sand located along the 180 mile long Creole Nature Trail in far southwestern Louisiana. With 26 miles of blissful beachcombing heaven to choose from, the natural beaches of the Creole Nature Trail are perfect for finding driftwood, whelks, oysters, angel wings, and moon snails. With a little luck, you may even find a sea bean or two!

Beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana's Creole Nature Trail

These colorful beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.

Enjoy the ride and have a great day at the beach!

This week’s Travel Theme topic is “Roads.”

More about the Creole Nature Trail and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches:

A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail

Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Can you come out and play?

Posted by Jody on February 27, 2013

Play time at McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

McClures Beach

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

~ John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)

~~~

Greg and I came across this  little pink shovel in the sands of McClures Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. Not one other soul was in sight on this lovely, peaceful morning.

A Word a Week Photo Challenge – Zoom

~~~

Posted in Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 14 Comments »

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Jody on February 14, 2013

A Kiss on the Sands

A Kiss Upon the Shore (©Jody Diehl)

Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
in one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?–

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Feeling Better for the Sand Between Your Toes

Posted by E.G.D. on February 13, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I happen to greatly enjoy walking around barefoot in beach sand.  This has very occasionally led to negative occurrences (one memorable occasion on Venice Beach in Florida, I stepped on an old piece of rusty barbed wire and had to get a Tetanus shot), but more often than not the experience has brightened my day and done me more good than a conventional foot massage.  Apparently the science community got the memo, because recently my mom (Jody) found an article on Wellsphere that discusses the health benefits of walking around barefoot.

Pacific Beach, San Diego, California (photo by Jody Diehl)

Pacific Beach, San Diego, California

According to the article, a “stimulating barefoot walk has a multitude of benefits from relieving stress, increasing balance, helping your brain to help you get a good night’s sleep, healing disease, eliminating headaches, eliminating joint pain and more. Research is only just beginning, but the consensus seems pretty clear. Taking off your shoes not only feels good. It is good for you… we get negative charged energy from the earth that combats inflammation and positively charged free radicals in the body.  Now, this information applies to walking barefoot anywhere, but there are already myriad health benefits for people who walk or run on beaches, even if they’re wearing shoes.  According to an article in the Middletown Patch, “walking and running are two of the best cardio exercises… Even better, though, is performing them on the beach in the sand. It is absolutely a superior work out than on the road or a trail as the shifting sand makes traction a challenge.  This causes muscle groups to work harder as you jog. Just walking on the beach in the sand benefits health.”  Of course, even that article notes thatbarefoot is the best way to go for optimum results.”  An article from Hello Magazine says many of the same things as the two previous articles, but adds in that sand and ocean water provide natural exfoliant for our feet and “will result in softer feet in no time, just like a home peel treatment!”  Really, I can see no downside to any of these things.

Ahhhhhh!

Ahhhhhh!

When it comes right down to it, I don’t need experts to give me a special reason to walk around barefoot on a beach, but I suppose that now I can feel like I’m somehow smarter for doing what I would have done anyway.  Three cheers for beach related ways to stay healthy- E.G.D.

~~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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