Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Plum Island trek

Plum Island, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

So, this is what I got up to on the Saturday this past weekend. I have always meant to head up to Plum Island, which is a national wildlife refuge (largely bird conservation: it's on the migratory path and is a ~6 or 7 mile long island off the coast of northern Massachusetts). Normally, I like to visit the Crane beaches alongside the Crane estate in Ipswich, which is directly across the water, facing Plum Island, on the mainland. Saturday, I got curious and relatively ambitious, and kept driving north. I should have been able to take Route 1A, but as it turned out, last year's spring floodwaters washed out the Parker River bridge. I had to find my way over from the detour point to Route 1, and from there look for signs that might direct me back. Eventually I made it onto the one road that leads onto the island. A helpful billboard on the side of a barn-like building warned me in foot-high letters that there is "NO EVACUATION." I pondered this for only a few moments until I crossed the bridge and saw that in the fairly limited amount of non-U.S. Fish & Wildlife-owned land, there were the inevitable array of summer cottages, deserted because of the season, of course. I also recall that nearby there is a lone nuclear power plant. Yeah. I get it now. So I kept on going, and took the only right turn I think I could have taken, and paid my $5 at the ranger station, and went all the way down. There are about 6 miles of beach you can wander, and it's lovely, pristine, and quiet. Sadly for me, it was a very windy day, the water was very choppy, and rain clouds were approaching. I stayed for a while to watch egrets feed in the salt marsh on the lee side of the island, and saw some tiny little terns (I think) racing around in one egret's company. Eventually I gave it up because of the wind, but I think I'll have to trek up here again. It really is lovely, and I was surprised how many people were on the island doing the same thing I was - enjoying the outdoors one last time before the weather turns on us.


Chiquitita said...

Sounds like a very lovely place. The picture is great. I wish I could by a place like this, but with mountains on the other side.

Margo said...

Yeah, the island has only small hills, which makes the wind pretty brutal. Still, it's lovely. I just watched Michael Palin's "Himalaya" series and those mountains are just amazing. I think I have to make a long term plan to hike Annapurna - supposedly there's one peak that you can hike without having technical skills or equipment - just ... hike. I'm curious, now!