Walking the Beachfront
One of the gifts of life in the Bay is the serene and scenic beachfront. Writer/blogger Lisa Monti explains how her daily walks became a healthy habit, not to be missed. For any reason. Ever.
- story and photography by Lisa Monti
My morning routine starts with coffee—always coffee first—and then a walk a few blocks over, then down to the beach and back toward home, a mile or more depending on work and the weather (I have walked to Waveland, which is a whole lot closer than it sounds, but people always seem impressed by that).
The only thing I take along is my iPhone for its camera and the fitness app that keeps me honest. The iRunner app, which I downloaded for free and can highly recommend records where, when, how far and fast you walk and how many calories are burned up. When the info is locked in and synced, the route is mapped and a little walking figure populates the day on a calendar. There also are action figures for running, biking and other activities, and a Siri-like voice that offers congratulations. (“Workout complete. You rock!”)
The more little figures that lined up across the calendar, the more committed I felt to add days. A month later, I’d look at the parade of walkers in full stride and put on my walking shoes whether I felt like it or not. Soon it was a year of walks, then two years, and now I’m headed toward recording the end of my third year without missing a day.
Fortunately, walking the same route just about every day hasn’t turned routine. Even if you’ve been around the beach all your life like I have, there’s something different every day. The clouds, sky, the sand, the water and the wind, everything changes from one day to the next, and from morning to evening. The water can be crystal clear at times or churned up like chocolate milk at others. I imagine clouds are like snowflakes, no two are the same, and it’s not unusual for some awesome formation to stop me in my tracks.
When the weather is warm enough, we walk along the shoreline so the dog can slip into the water and cool off. Jellyfish of all shapes and sizes, stingrays and crabs usually aren’t far from the water’s edge, and oyster shells spread out in a nice fashion. When a bald eagle or osprey is diving for fish, porpoises feed, or pelicans swoop by, it doesn’t matter that the fitness timer keeps moving even though I’m not.
Aside from the scenery, there’s plenty of opportunity to socialize on beach walks. Walkers not on the clock are happy to stop and chat. Most dog owners are enjoy making small talk while the respective dogs get acquainted. Casual bike riders can hold a modest conversation without losing momentum or having to circling back to finish a thought.
Walking restores my appreciation for our beach and makes me aware of how much work goes into taking care of this wonderful asset. Beach cleanup crews do, in fact, rock.
If you haven’t been walking along the beach in a while—or ever—I would recommend it. You don’t need a dog or an app, and you don’t have to walk all the way to Waveland. But it’s really not that far.
For a mile-by-mile description of the entire beachfront roadway in Hancock County,see our July 2015 Beach to Bayou column by P. Chris Christofferson