My favorite niece was graduating from college Saturday, so I decided to break the drive up by getting all the way to Hilton Head Island the afternoon before. Off-season, I got a good price on a room a block from the beach.
As soon as I checked in, I headed over to take a long walk. You could tell I was the one from a more northerly area - everyone else was bundled up but I kicked off my shoes so I could walk barefooted on the chilly sand. At times, I couldn't see anyone else in either direction.
Any other human, that is - the gulls were out in full force.
I found a baby horseshoe crab shell and picked it up. Then another. And another. And then clusters of them, flipped and cleaned out by the birds. I realized I couldn't collect them all so I started only picking up the ones with tails still attached.
I found four in perfect condition and brought them, along with some cool sponges and a malformed sand dollar, back to my hotel to clean them up. I always accuse my kids of being scavengers, but I am no better.
A couple of flocks of pelicans flew in formation along the edge of the water. There was also a large great blue heron fishing in the channel by my hotel, who would squawk angrily when I got too close.
The next morning I went back again as the sun was starting to come up. It was a little colder, but I couldn't resist another walk on the beach.
I love sunrises and sunsets over the ocean.
But I had a graduation to get to, so I reluctantly headed back to my hotel for breakfast and the remainder of my drive.