I wanted to get away to foliage country but I couldn’t get it together. I dithered over a destination. My photography colleague, Ken C., had kindly given me some itineraries for the Lake Placid area. I was tempted but felt it was too far to go alone. Next I thought about the gorges at Ithaca, NY but also ruled that out for the driving. I even thought about Ricketts Glen; I wouldn’t have climbed up very far because of my prior experience there. As a last resort I decided to work the Catskills beginning with a Saturday major train collectors show in Kingston. The welcome signs were out … for any other weekend.
So, bent and determined to get away for a couple days I returned to the shore. I found that, as advertised, summer has definitely left, but there was lots to enjoy. Friday night the skies were clear so I headed to the southern end of Long Beach Island to try and photograph the Milky Way. The quarter moon made that difficult so I made some lemonade. The moon’s sheen on Beach Haven inlet was beautiful.
The Milky Way was there albeit dimmed by the moon and Casino City’s lights. It’s still a sobering sight when developed. It always makes me think of Dave Bowman’s exclamation as he flew his pod into the monolith (2001; in the book not the movie). “My God! It’s full of stars.”
I was so pleased with my evening’s work that I set the alarm for sunrise. Back at Holgate again, I was rewarded with great color although not much cloud structure nearby. Another of life’s many, simple pleasures, shared with the gulls and four other early risers. Two of them were from Easton, PA. Wait, they’re supposed to be up there enjoying foliage.
After breakfast I headed off to Cape May. There I found fall foliage — if you’ll let me include Goldenrod. Cape May enthusiasts will recognize this as Sunset Point with its concrete ship, the S. S. Atlantus. Intended to be a part of a Lewes-Cape May ferry dock, it broke loose and grounded here in a 1926 storm.
After lunching here in the wind I headed off to the light house area and the adjacent Wetlands State Natural Area. There were more bird-watchers here than birds. Lots of oooohs and aahhhs — “Look, there’s a Tennessee Warbler in the goldenrod.” (What does a southern accent warble sound like?) Thousands of dollars worth of telescopes and cameras with their stove-pipe long lenses. I was delighted to find just a couple of Monarch Butterflys enjoying the goldenrod.
I finished the day with a walk along one of the trails which brought me to the beach and some more beach fall foliage.
The next morning I made a coffee and headed back to the beach for sunrise, this time at the Pearl Street pavilion in Beach Haven. The sea was calm with small wavelets breaking within a few feet of the shore line. It was chilly — about 40°, but absolutely awesome. Looking left and right and seeing as far as the Revel casino (about 17 miles away as the gulls fly) I counted only six souls in view.
After the sublime God beams, to Fred’s Diner for a perfect breakfast. Then home, delighted with my non-foliage weekend.