By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Yet again we had a gorgeous autumn day in Maryland -- nearly 70 degrees, despite it being November -- so after older son got back from working at Hebrew school, we packed up and drove to Calvert Cliffs State Park. I once went on a field trip there in high school, when the nuclear power plant allowed people to tour and when people could actually hike around the cliffs, but since 2001 the power plant has been closed to visitors and the cliffs have been blocked off to protect them from erosion. So we hiked the two-mile trail from the pond down to the Chesapeake Bay, following a creek through the woods that widens into wetlands crossed by a boardwalk, from which we could see turtles and lots of evidence of beaver activity in the downed trees.
When we reached the beach, we looked for sharks' teeth and shells. This is a very fossil-rich area with millions of teeth from extinct animals dating back to when this entire area was covered by warm sea; Hurricane Isabel uncovered the skeleton of a Miocene whale that's now in the nearby Calvert Marine Museum. I took my shoes off and waded a bit, though the water was quite chilly, and found three decent-sized shark's teeth. We walked back in the beautiful late afternoon light under the changing but still abundant leaves, then went to the Captain's Table for dinner including really phenomenal crab soup. And then we watched Texas Tech decide to make things interesting near the end of the game after nearly blowing out Texas.
The beach is at the end of a two-mile trail through the woods past wetlands, which can be crossed via boardwalks.
In addition to turtles, one can see plenty of beaver-gnawed trees in the swamp.
Two people on the beach had found the shells of horseshoe crabs.
A fallen tree with shells embedded in it.
Another fallen tree's roots, with Cove Point Lighthouse visible far down the coast.
My catch for the day -- three decent-sized teeth! Plus a few shells and some fossilized ray dental plates.
And this is what twilight looked like behind the Captain's Table overlooking the water and the lighthouse at the Calvert Marine Museum.
I missed McCain on SNL -- no big loss, I was enjoying the insanity of the football game -- but the caricaturing of Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Keith Olbermann has been hysterical! Oh, Ben Affleck, why can't you be like this more often?