Cape May, travel log part 3… (not today, not thwarted twice)

Cape May, travel log part 3… (not today, not thwarted twice)

(yeah I know, I skipped part two, I sort of wrote it but didn’t finish it, so, maybe I will get to it, maybe not, anyway, here is today…)


as has been my mission the past couple of years (has it been that long?), I have endeavored to find the nooks and corners of my state, sure it took me decades to realize this mission, but better now than never, although I am harboring down in Cape May I looked around the map of this garden state to find places that are out of the way but within striking distance of this shore town base, today was my first day of trekking about (yesterday was just not conducive no doubt, hiking in the unknown spaces in the rain is just not my thing, especially on vacation), so I struck out to see a lighthouse, is it the sea? the buildings themselves? the history? I suspect all of these engender my fascination with lighthouses, so I chose one I had never been, East Point Lighthouse (picture above by me), this is a different part of the state, some of the landscapes are almost alien, salt marshes stretched out split up by rivers I never really heard of until today, dennis township ? houses that range from extended trailers to brick mansions back to condemned barns and everything in between, far away from the urban blueprint planning I see in the day to day up in the other end of the state, no main streets, I only once happened upon a shopping center with a cluster of typical stores, other than that all local business run from houses, and lots of old boats in yards, and soon even this smattering of civilization faded away to less and less, just a road with marshes seemingly all around, thankfully GPS leads me through, only a few minutes to go, a sign for the lighthouse, and I am almost there, and then, the unthinkable, after an hour drive in all territory new, ROAD CLOSED… and in my jersey accent “ya gotta be kiddin me!”, so I drive up the road a little anyway, because, well, maybe the road was closed for other people, but no, there was a full on construction crew humming, bulldozers and the like causing all sorts of commotion and approaching, so I back track, quite literally, and try the road down to the left, dead end bay, but I am here, I have to do SOMETHING right? I park, get out and at least manage to take a few photos from a distance, and it looks like they are rebuilding the beach around the lighthouse, so how can I complain? so I pack up my disappointment and look down at my little list of places, time to try the next one on the list, what else could go wrong ?


I program in the destination, Thomas Beach/Observation Deck… the world has whimsy today, I follow my GPS to a tee and wind up doing basically a big square back to the same road the lighthouse is on, seriously? yes… but at least there is a turn off before I went back down that lighthouse dead end, this is more typical of south Jersey wildlife areas, a barely two lane road, not good signage, one way in, one way out, so I find Thomas Beach Rd, and down I go, past a house, with all sorts of cool nautical trinkets adorning all the windows and doors, the type of thing you see down here but never get tired of, well, at least I don’t, I imagine it takes a certain type of person to live this next to the grid but not quite off, perhaps this will be my fate of homestead one day I think, so down the beach road, sounds promising, the land is a barren marsh this time of year, although the reeds glow in the midday sun, zipping along is quite calming, what is that in the road over there? some type of large bird, a wild turkey is my first thought but too skinny, I pull up slowly, a pheasant, much bigger than I reckoned, I had never seen one up close, and the peasant was not too happy with my spying, quickly disappearing into the brush, and yes, the camouflage is impressive, maybe today won’t totally flame out? a short while the later, the observation deck comes into view, perhaps not the largest or highest I have encountered but at least I know I am in the right place, I park, there is a boat launch on both sides of the lot, the water from the marsh is also close to my spot, but I shake off the possibility of flooding, not as if I have some local knowledge, maybe I just did not want to re-park, there is not much to observe up on the deck, a couple of ospreys off in the distance, the sun rippling on the water in between the reeds, it’s calming, but I itch to see a bit more, this is a beach road after all, so where’s the beach? unbeknownst to me, the road to the beach is closed to car traffic, no matter, I don’t mind a hike and this being flat land, not a big deal, so I pack up, bottle of water in the old pack, my cameras and such, leaving my car behind seems odd but that is just the urban bug in me, I highly doubt car break ins are an issue here, I could probably leave the thing unlocked (but will not), I meander down the path, gravel and puddles, the later which I avoid as I am not wearing water proof gear, little fish are startled by my bumbling, racing out of the protected shallows as I walk along, I guess I come upon the midway point, there are a couple of cement benches, I do not need them now, I certainly will on the return trip, however, the observation deck is shrinking smaller in my rear view, and then I see them, looming, a few large puddles, or perhaps more, let me get closer and inspect, grrr, no way around without getting totally wet, these are not the shoes for this, I have proper gear back in the car, the sun has gone to playing hide and seek, mostly hide so a manageable 50-ish is beginning to dive, damn it, I will not be denied twice today, this will not beat me, I will get to this beach!


I start back, startling all the little fish again, cement benches, check, there is the reflective gate blocking the road, check, back to the car to grab my crocs, I don’t want to lug my marsh boots all the while, I again contemplate calling it a day right now, no way, I have to do this, back I go, gate passed, cement benches, and back to the water hazard that stopped me dead earlier, I slip off my merrils and socks, plop on my crocs, here I go, not bad so far, and then ankle deep arctic cold, “just move on” I think, kind of like walking on hot coals, just go man go, is this really worth it for some beach? I’m here now might as well just move those feet, and the deed is done, the gauntlet met and slain, back to dry gravel ground again, there is a ridge not that far ahead, I think I hear the roar of the ocean, but it also may be a distant helicopter or plane, but I must admit the sound does put a little pep in my step, forgetting how damn cold my feet were a moment ago, a blue heron flies off, they are quite skittish you know, even for such a large bird, that roar, that roar approaching, that is definitely the ocean, up over that crest, a dune, the reeds reveal a sandy path, to yes, the beach, finally, a destination met, bucket list this puppy off my list, not a soul in any direction, a private beach for my own discretion, a couple more of those cement benches but again I pass them by for now I am set out onto a barren secluded beach of my own, no feet aside from mine on this day at least, the gentle crashing of the waves, the reeds in the wake bending back and forth, was this worth it ? this was, for me, in spades…


post script… the path back to the car was no longer flooded, in fact the water receded greatly, so my trial by cold water was more a matter of tide, I stand by my story, however…

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