The low tide lured me out on a cloudy day yesterday. I had not been down to the north end of the island in some time, so that was the destination. I parked at the Lobster Pound, and hiked over to the wharf. There were a lot of gulls on the shoreline, and I soon learned why. Bait had been thrown overboard, and the birds were having a feast. I imagine that even bait gets stale after a while, if not used to lure lobsters into traps. Maybe at high tide, those crustaceans in the harbor will finish off the meat on those fish carcasses.

I passed Rob Stevens' Boat Shop, and stopped to admire the lichen growing on its shingles. These are beautiful creations - a growing combination of an alga and fungus. The cold winter weather doesn't faze their growth or allure.

I climbed down to check the beach on the harbor side of the north end, picking my way over mud and seaweed while pausing to photograph the clustered Periwinkles along the shoreline. These snails are survivors - unstoppable when it comes to cold exposures. I continue to look for Hermit Crabs, that remain in deeper waters apparently. Wearing cleats, I climbed up over snow covered rocks and plant growth to the high point on the east side of Sanddollar Beach. Surprisingly, other hikers had mounted that crest, and I followed their tracks. Remnants of a dead bird diverted my course. I continued to hike from beach to beach on the north end, stopping now and again to watch the waves breaking in their repetative manner. The blue trail was covered with snow, but it was not hard finding a footing. Again, I wasn't the first to traverse this trail. There was no crust on the snow, and it wasn't of a depth to hamper the hiking. There were plenty of deer tracks, though I didn't see one of those animals.

I picked my way back on the white trail, crossing the orange trail and descending to Island Road. Enroute, I stopped again to absorb the beauty and sounds of the wind and waves on the shoreline. The birches are bare, and frame this view looking out to Wood Island in the distance. You will notice how the waves are building, ready to spill upon the rocks with foam and splashing. It was surprisingly comfortable, though I have to admit to being well layered. I wish you had been with me, but at least you now have an idea of what a winter time hike on the island can be.

Today, we are back in a rain pattern again. Those clouds from yesterday remain to darken the day. Earlier, on Sunday, I walked to get the paper under the warm of sun. The skies were blue and everything sparkled. I found myself singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way. There's a bright golden haze on the meadow, there's a bright golden haze on the meadow. The corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky!" I stopped singing and pondered, how high is an elephant's eye?..........that is pretty high corn! I can wait for the corn season to do the measuring, as I continue to enjoy the beauty of winter here on the coast.

2/18/08 Cleated Ronnie.