The River

One of the reasons that Tehuacalco was built on top of the mountain is because of the river that flows around the bottom. Afterall, what self-respecting god of water would bless a place without water?!!!

The river, with its tumbling rocks, quiet pools, and water slides, is a sort of natural water park. The tumbled rocks in the stream bed, above and below a relatively quiet pool at the base of a large rock mass, attest to the power of the water during the rainy season.

This being the dry season however, the water runs quickly but not dangerously over the rocks and fills the pool to a depth of about 4 feet. Large flat rocks offer a place for sitting, sunning, or sliding into the pool. The tumbled rocks offer a place to sit and listen to the music of the water as it tumbles, babbles and gurgles along its journey to the sea.

This is the tame side. On the other side of the road, the river drops over the large boulders forming small pools to splash in and many opportunities for the more adventurous folks to slip and slide your way down river.

People with property on both sides of the road are capitalizing on their prime location by offering a place to park, food, and refreshments, tables and chairs for picnics, and easy access, even stairs, to the water. Chickens, ducks, and dogs come to clean up any food that is spilled or left behind by visitors. This day, you could even buy a puppy.

Playing in the river at the base of Tehaucalco, MexicoThough the water here did not elicit any active diving or water ball activities, the youngsters especially had a great time. As the sun began to set and the air became cool though, it was time to return to nearby Ocotito.

Advertisements

Sunrise in the Mountains

If you have followed my adventures for any amount of time, you know that I love sunrise. To me, there is no better way to start the day than in the peacefulness of the early morn, as the birds awaken and begin to sing, hearing  the breeze rather than the rush of traffic, feeling the lingering coolness of the night as the day slowly brightens.

Sunrise over Taxco de Alarcon, MexicoThe variety of that early morning palette never ceases to amaze me. Vivid or pastel, cloud filled or mostly clear, the changes that occur between darkness and sun up are always a wonder to ponder.

Sunrise, Taxco de Alarcon, MexcioSunrise, Taxco de Alarcon, Mexcio Sunrise over Taxco de Alarcon, MexicoSunrise over Taxco de Alarcon, MexicoSunrise, Taxco de Alarcon, MexcioSunrise, Taxco, MexicoLiving at the top of a four story house on a hill overlooking the city gives me a great vantage point for watching the sun come up. Being in the mountains though is a different experience than being at the seashore.

At the shore, the sun rises over the horizon culminating in that glorious golden globe painting the sky and turning the sea to a golden rivulet surrounded by diamonds.

Sunrise, Cocoa Beach, FloridaIt comes up right on time, when the almanac says it should.That is not true of sunrise in the mountains.

In the mountains sunrise is slower. By the time the sun actually breaks the horizon, the actual sunrise is long past — maximum beauty occurs a good 10-15 minutes before that golden orb lifts above the mountain tops. When it finally crests, all that usually happens is a mighty brilliance that just makes an already bright and beautiful day complete.

Occasionally though the clouds and the light work out just right, like this day:

Which do you prefer? The slow awakening of a mountain sunrise or the instant gratification of the seashore?

How do you greet the sunrise where you are?

Beach Personalities

As I turn west and trade coastal communities for mountains, I reflect on the beaches I leave behind.

One thing I learned on this trip is that not all beaches are created equal. Each is unique in its own way —

some are smooth,                                             some are littered with shells,

some are wild, untamed,                                 and others are urban retreats.

Some slope gently into the water while others drop steeply behind large (protected by law) dunes. Each has its own personality.

Though I have been on many beaches in my days, exhibiting all of the qualities listed above, I was totally unprepared for what I found at New Smyrna Beach.

A speed limit!

img_8086-qprI was told by many that New Smyrna Beach  was the “prettiest beach” on the East Coast of Florida, because of its relatively shell-free white sand and tidal pools for the little ones to splash in. Now maybe I did not visit the best part of the beach; it does stretch for miles, but when I got there, I found condos built on seawalls almost at the water’s edge, and in their shadow, a very shallow beach area with a “speedway” taking up two-thirds of the available space.

OK, so the speed is only 10 mph, but when it is between  the beach goer and the water, that is about 10 mph too fast in my opinion.

No traffic beach area, New Smyrna Beach , FloridaThankfully, every mile or two a section of the beach is declared “traffic free.” Be sure to look for the “traffic free” signs.

Or do as I did — drive to the far end of the barrier island into the northern section of Canaveral National Seashore and find miles and miles and miles and miles of beach with only foot traffic allowed.

Misty walk, Canaveral National SeashoreWhat’s your beach personality?

 

One last ocean sunrise

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

Well, the day had to come, one last day to walk the beach at sunrise before turning west and heading toward the heartland. I shall miss arriving in the darkness, a faint glow on the horizon, and watching it grow to a rosy glow that gets brighter and brighter until that golden orb peaks over the horizon and quickly explodes into a streak of color and a million diamonds sparkling on the waves.

Here I share with you the best of the last great sunrise over the ocean, at least for this trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Only at the beach do you have this kind of unobstructed view of the magic moment the day begins. Ah what a glorious sight!

Lighthouses

Take a good look at these lighthouse photos. What do you notice?

Having visited many lighthouses in many locations, I have noticed that each is unique — each a different height, made of different materials, with different paint patterns — but not being a navigator, the real purpose of each light’s unique style and paint job never really crossed my mind.

Tybee Island Lighthouse station signWhen I visited the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, near Savannah, Georgia, I learned the real and really quite obvious reason for those unique patterns — called a day mark, they are a way to identify which lighthouse is which when you see them by day.

Tybee Island offers a rare opportunity to view a working lighthouse and see how the keeper, his assistants, and their families lived from the late 1700s until the light was automated well into the 20th century.

Climb the 178 steps to the top and think about doing that several times a day to keep the oil lamp burning. Look into the 1st order Fresnel lens (large enough for 4 people to stand inside) which magnifies the light of a single 1000 watt bulb and focuses it into a beam that can be seen 18 miles out to sea.

From the outdoor observation deck at the top, you get a good view of the Fort Screven battery, below, built as a protection for nearby Savannah,as well as the beach, ocean, and nearby coastal cities.

Fort Screven battery from top of Tybee Island lighthouseDon’t leave without lunch at the North Beach Bar and Grill between the lighthouse and the beach. The smells emanating from the kitchen make your mouth water and the coastal Americana decor is a delightful beach break.

“Toto, we’re not at the beach anymore”

Blue Bear needs a directionI followed the signs toward Myrtle Beach but somewhere around Charleston have to take a left turn.

As I leave the ocean and  beach behind, I will miss the smell of the salt air, the cry of the sea birds, and most of all the beauty of the sunrise accompanied by the music of the waves, whether soothing or stormy.

The interior of our country is filled with beautiful, majestic, serene, and exciting places and I enjoy all the variety, yet being at the ocean shore at sunrise is pretty hard to beat (though the shores of  the Great Lakes come close.)

The salt marshes of Georgia, the antebellum vibe of Charleston, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smokey Mountain National Park await. Adventure on.