Hiking or Homework?
Some people go to coffee shops and actually get stuff done on chilly weekends, but my first choice is hiking, and just recently my roommates Jocelyn and Sarah discovered the thrill of hiking on the beach.
Big Lagoon State Park offers five miles of hiking trails, and we did all five, though not all were intentional. I felt like from the moment we started hiking to when we finally finished the loop trail, we had traveled through 3 ecological zones. The first was traditional beach grass vegetation, but it soon morphed into a boardwalk over swampy territory, and then abruptly transitioned into mountainous dunes that reminded me of hiking in the Arizona desert. Each time we switched zones, I couldn’t believe it could get any more interesting, and then it did.
Along the boardwalk, we encountered a lethargic snake, some sleepy shorebirds hopping along the edge of gentle waves, and many strange noises which Sarah attributed to alligators “which can jump straight up five feet into the air!”
Leaving the boardwalk that made Sarah uneasy, we trekked across dunes where sandy grasses clambered at our ankles. By the time we reached the climax of the dunes, the views were worth all five miles of trail. Fresh wind knocking against the treetops had thrashed them to bare vestiges of twisted wood. Some brave sea birds had constructed sturdy nests in the highest tree forks. The wind was cold, but the sand was warm under our feet.
By the end of the 5-mile hike, we’d long since shed our jackets, gotten mad at the map, detoured through a campground we didn’t know existed, and finished our water bottles. But I would rather all of the above instead of endless hours of hard chairs and heady coffee smell and cold feet for an entire Saturday. Give me some dunes to climb over any day. I’ll just grab some coffee on my way back to campus.