When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

A day at Popham Beach State Park

Popham beach is a place that I hold near and dear to my heart. This is a place where for two weeks every year my parents rented a cottage near the mouth of the Kennebec River next to the old Coast Guard Station over the last week of June / first week of July until I was in my teens. This is where I learned how to saltwater fish for Stripers and Blues, how to hide from incredible thunderstorms, how to access the ‘no enter’ zones of the Forts, how to retrieve lures and ‘Christmas trees’ after the fisherman, frustrated from their losses had left for the day, how to find mussels and periwinkles for supper, how to search tidal pools for crabs and how to get free ice cream from Percy’s store. It was also where I made really good friends with many out of State renters, park rangers and store owners/clerks. I fell in love with a few of the park rangers, Kevin from Connecticut and Danny from Sabattus. We attended some serious beach bonfires and watched the fireworks in Bath from the top of Fort Popham. I’ve never seen ‘bioluminescence’ on a beach like that since. This is where I decided I wanted to become a Marine Biologist, a dream that fell a little flat. I walked Sequin Island with Danny and Kevin after 'borrowing' the boat that Kevin's parents owned and got caught in a thunderstorm on the way back (the island was infested with rabbits!). I was virtually knocked unconscious once by my cousin as a pitcher around 5:00 in the morning while our parents Striper fished, using a baseball bat and a croquet ball my younger cousin had found on the beach. I still bear the scar, located above my left eye right smack dab in the middle of my forehead. I caught a Salmon from the beach on a daredevil while mackerel fishing and was searched for by the Marine Patrol for days. I was also involved in an ‘incident’ where my cousin, his friend and I set off a brick of firecrackers at the top of Fort Baldwin in the middle of the night and were searched for unsuccessfully by the local Sheriffs for hours afterwards. And there were all those times that we swam in Silver Lake to wash off the salt that stuck to our bodies after romping in the surf for hours.

When I married and had the monkey, I tried to replay those times by renting a cottage called the Icehouse that sat on the Silver Lake between the Ocean View Campground and the Forts. I managed that for a few years before the owner stopped allowing dogs to stay, much to my dismay. I used to love watching the monkey play on the beach, eventually stripping himself of all clothing and playing in the pockets of warm water left behind by the tide. Ahh, the memories I have of that place are incredible and branded into my brain forever.

I was worried when I heard the news of a storm that hit in February of this year that had completely defaced the State Park as man knew it. The astronomically high tides had stripped away most of the dunes that held the seas back from the parking lot and bath houses, but most of all had changed the Morse River from where it had moved to the southern end of the beach. The good news was that it had re-placed the river back to the place where I remember it from my childhood, more towards the point and Fox Island.

June 21st was a phenomenal day; I had chosen that to be the one where we would see for ourselves what the tides had done to one of my favorite stomping grounds. Bubster was dropped off at 7:30 am and the boys were already in the car long before I was finished packing for the day. I picked up mom around 8:45 and we were at the gates by 10:00 (with a stop along the way). We quickly found that our favorite beach entrance to the north was closed off, and parked on the south end of the parking lot. As we carried all our beach gear to the ramp headed down to the beach, mom and I stopped in awe at the transformation of the beach. Our timing was impeccable; high tide was that morning at 7:22 and not expected to return until 8:00 that night. The beach space was enormous! We planted ourselves overlooking Wood Island and considering that the beach was already ‘packed’, we had plenty of space to ourselves. It remained that was throughout the day. The temps hit the low 80’s, as evidenced by the sunburn I acquired on the backs of my arms where I had neglected to place sunscreen. The water was cold but it didn’t stop the youngsters from swimming and having a blast. We walked out to Fox Island just after lunch and the boys marveled over the expanse of ocean that greeted us from the top. Seguin twinkled like a star in the distance, rafts of Eiders and their babies floated past and Common Terns dive-bombed schools of fish for their lunch. The boys had worn themselves by 3:00, so we left and stopped for ice cream on the way back to drop mom off. They were just about asleep by the time I pulled into Bubster’s driveway and dropped him off. It was well worth the drive and I would suggest that if you’re in the area, you too take the time to stop and smell the sea roses and fresh salt air. I’m already considering a return trip before the summer is through!

WSCH6's story of the February storm that changed the outline of Popham Beach

A link to the State of Maine information on Popham Beach

Beach Umbrellas were the only shady spot to be found...

Bubster shows off his tennis ball prowness

Wood Island, with the new sand bar in the forefront

Monkey must have spotted a bikini

The boys take a break for a snack

Sequin Island lighthouse

Bodysurfing in the very cold Atlantic

Mom found a heart!

An unknown couple enjoys a stroll on the beach

As mom put it... "It's like being on the Saraha!"

Common Terns diving for lunch

Wild Sweetpea blossoms

The boys manuever across the sharp rocks of Fox Island

How to look great on the coast.....

...and how not to look cool on the coast

The boys learned a valuable lesson about the dark side of the beach...

The new Popham vista

Working our way back to the beach

Some incredible beach erosion

Taking a moment to enjoy a warm tidal pool

Buried alive..... sort of

And how we ended a perfect day on Popham Beach. :)


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