Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crane Beach Estate Ipswich Ma.

Becky and I decided to do a short hike in the Crane Beach Estate today since the weather up north wasn't looking good. I lived in Ipswich for about 7 years but have yet to take a long hike in the reserve. The weather in this area was beautiful. We parked the car and headed out.
There are about 5.5 miles of trails in the Crane beach Estate. They wind through the dunes and protected wildlife areas.
About 45 years ago when I was a child my family used to come hear for cookouts in the summer. The dunes were open to the public back then and had a much different look. They actually looked like SAND dunes. Now the area is mostly protected. In particular for the Piping Plover. A small sea bird which was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Crane Beach is one of the largest protected ares for them. Now the Dunes are covered mostly with invasive ground cover which I'm at a loss to remember the name. Along with various types of sea grasses.
On occasion you will see deer in there. The deer population was so bad about 20 years ago that they had to have a 1 week, off season hunt in this no hunting area to help control the population. There are also much more trees in the area than I remember as a child.
The wildlife was playing hard to get today as we saw nothing our four legged or winged friends. But we were simply over whelmed with the beauty of the dunes.
I managed to find only one flowering tree. I'm not even sure what it was. I do need to read up on plant life which I am sorely lacking in knowledge of.
From my countless stopping to take photos I hadn't seen Becky in a while. I finally spotted her up ahead admiring the views.
We continued along through the PUDS in the dunes getting closer all the time to beach. Which was go because in the dunes we were protected from the breeze and it was a bit warm. Again Becky took off out ahead of me while I slowed again for more photos.
I love the mountains but I must say I was having the time of my life with the photos. It was a pleasant change to the hundreds of photos I take in the mountains.
I caught up with Becky again to find enjoying the views from a great spot on a dune. And pleasantly breezy.
We were very close to the beach now and I was looking forward to walking on more solid ground. The trails in the dunes are mostly sand and tiring to walk on at times.
We finally made it to the beach after hiking about 2 miles in the dunes. We were treated to a nice ocean breeze and a wide open beach.
Now it was just a matter of walking the beach back to the lot and the car. It was a nice walk on the beach but a bit disappointing  that we saw no Piping Plover, no Terns, not even a Seagull. Just miles of beach.
We passed one of the many nesting areas for the Piping Plover along the way.
Once on the beach I was over taken by the clouds. The front that was moving in was producing some beautiful cloud formations.
One last shot before heading up the boardwalk for the the car. A picture across the bay towards Plum Island. Pretty nice way a salvage the day.

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