Monday, September 7, 2009

Close to the gulf coast

One of the greatest joys I have gotten from living in Houston is the fact that the gulf coast is only 1 to 2 hours away just south of small towns like Clute, Lake Jackson, and Freeport. The short drive allows me to take the opportunity to visit this dynamic environment at least 2 times a month. I get great joy out of this because the coast is filled with all the things I love- water, fish, birds, vegetation, and geologic processes. Whenever Matt and I visit the coast we normally go to Surfside Beach, a quiet beach community away from the clamor and crowds often encountered at Galveston, TX. There are about 20 miles of open beaches that are open to the public where you can drive feet from the waters edge, park, and then relax by fishing, wading, swimming, kayaking, or just plain sitting. Matt visits a lot more often than me- leaving at 4 in the morning with his fishing poles and kayaks. Sometimes i go with him to just watch the sunrise and focus on the waves slow movement into and out of the coast. Every time I go there I wish I had 2 things 1) a shorebird id guide and 2) a seashell id guide, both things I could pick up at a used bookstore if I remembered.

This weekend was a little different- Matt explored Matagorda peninsula and really liked it, so he took me there. The peninsula is 51 miles long and is crossed at the mid-point by the Colorado River. It is a strip of land separating the gulf from Matagorda bay. There is beach access and hardly anyone is there, which makes the beach quite a bit cleaner than most of the other beaches.

Even though it is clean, there is still quite a bit of interesting beach trash for those who love collecting (a place my grandpa would have loved visiting). The trash ranged from televisions, hardhats, plastic shipping crates, and balloons- lots and lots of balloons. I think one of the main reasons it is a less visited beach is that beach access is slightly more tricky. The sand is cleaner and can be very fine at places making it hard to drive without a 4wd vehicle. my favorite parts are the groups of brown pelicans that take to flight whenever you get to close to them. For a second you feel as if you are flying right by with them. There are also oyster banks that are slowly being eroded by the waves. So I sat looking for shark's teeth and shells most of the day, in addition to helping Matt spot fish. I didn't find any exciting shells or teeth, but Matt caught several lady fish, whiting, and a black tip shark.

I love this little secret vacation spot close to home.

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