A view to the north at the Point on Emerald Isle

A view to the north at the Point on Emerald Isle

April 8, 2011 was a pretty special day in my book.  It was the first day of 2011 that I intentionally stuck my feet into the saltwater.  Given the cold weather that we endured for much of this winter, I am pretty happy about it.

We had someone here late last year who poked fun at our area when we had a brush with snow after the first of the year.  In a nice turn of fate, our visitor got to endure temperatures in the thirties at his home in California on the very same day which banished all memories of the cold winter for me.  The hike which I did along the beach took me up as far as the border between Lands End and Dolphin Ridge.  Then I hiked back down to the westernmost tip of the beach at the Point.

I took the picture in the post standing facing the north with Bogue Inlet on my left.  Obviously I was standing in the water when I took the picture, but it was by no means the first time during the day that I had ventured into the water.

My hike ended up being 3.75 miles.  The hike was in stark contrast to one that I made two days earlier on April 6.  While I was a few miles up the beach at Third Street.  It wasn’t the location that made the hike different.  It was the temperature and the winds which are often persistent this time of year.  On my April 6 hike, I wore a light shell with a hood and walked 2.75 miles.  I had to keep my hood up and over my head to keep my ears from freezing off.  I did have shorts on, but I would have probably been more comfortable in blue jeans.

On April 6, I walked almost six tenths of a miles without seeing anyone.  I only saw a couple of people during the whole hike. Two days later, I saw people and plenty of dogs all along my route.  While the beach still had very few people on it compared to summer, it was crowded compared to my walk earlier in the week.

Of course the real difference was the weather.  On April 8 the temperature was in the seventies, and there was almost no breeze, and the sun was on full display. I had on my straw beach hat, a tee shirt, shorts, and my beach walking crocs.

About halfway through my hike I got hot, and decided the only way to cool off was to get part of my body in the water.  I waded in a little above my ankles, and my overheating problem was solved.  The water which was probably around sixty degrees felt absolutely great.

However, it did not feel so great that I was tempted to throw my whole body in the water, but it was certainly tolerable for wading. It is usually June before I let ocean water hit the middle of my back.

I spent much of the rest of the trip weaving in and out of the water. When I had to hike the 1400 ft back across the soft sand to the access point at Inlet Drive and Bogue Court, I wished some of the water that has been vanquished by the sand could have been a little closer so I could cool my feet again.

Going to the beach is pretty special to me, besides the exercise of hiking, I get to let my mind relax and dream of things which might otherwise never enter my thoughts.  It is a special time to fresh mind and body.  I actually enjoy company on the beach, but I am not one of those people who wants to talk while they walk on the beach.  I would rather let my thoughts wander while my feet automatically keep me moving towards my predetermined destination.  The sound of the waves is all that I want to hear.

I like to think that the time I take on the beach more than pays for itself with my increased ability to do focus on other tasks after I get back from the beach.  I think my wife was surprised that after my hike on April 8 that I was willing to come home, eat a late lunch, and head off on a trip to SAMS Club without any thought of a nap.

Maybe I am just a little addicted to beach walks so I guess it a good thing that we are in that best of seasons to enjoy walks along the shore.  Much of the summer I have to do my beach walks late in the afternoon in order to avoid the heat and sun.  In early spring I can go in early morning and be done during the warmest part of the day.

Perhaps one of these days, one my small business ideas will take off.  If it does, my business will be here in the Emerald Isle area.    It would not take me long to offer employees a paid hour a day to walk the beach.  I am betting the beach walking would pay for itself in increased employee productivity and healthier employees.

Just think about coming to work each day and having one of your tasks being to take an hour walk along some of Emerald Isle’s beautiful beaches. It would definitely make going to work more enticing.  You just might smile in the morning when getting ready for work.

It looks like the sun is trying to come out, I think it is time for me to head over to the beach.  You can check out a large album of photos from the April 9 beach walk on my Picasa web site.  If you are curious about the location of the beach, this linked web album was created with photos from my Droid which attaches GPS information to each photo.

While some of the photos look like they were taken in the middle of the water according to Google’s maps, don’t worry. That is just Mother Nature showing Google that she can move sand faster than Google cares to take aerial pictures of the Point.

If you would like to visit the area, here is my travel guide to Emerald Isle.  If  “Saltwater on your feet” sounds like a great idea, I have a blog by that name.  It is devoted to helping you answer your questions about moving to the Crystal Coast.