As mentioned in the previous post, we’ve had a thing for beaches. That means understanding not all beaches are like those featured in television commercials.
By my teen years, I had been on one beach. It was a single day in Galveston, a beautiful sandy shore that stretched on forever with a gentle slope into the waves. The summer before my senior year in high school, I spent a week in Santa Barbara, Calif., on the university campus a short walk from the Pacific Ocean. That walk took me to the top of a high cliff that looked down on maybe a small, rocky beach. Not how I had pictured it.
Leah and I spent the month of November in Sargent, Texas, at a small RV park some six miles from the Gulf of Mexico. More than 35 years ago, we lived in Matagorda County and visited Sargent beach two or three times, so we knew it isn’t a picture card beach. Regardless, if you’re willing to look, you can find goodies such as the large shell Leah’s showing off in the top photo.
A glance at that photo looks like a pretty normal beach image, but a closer examination might reveal the sand isn’t all that sandy. Granted, there was a decent amount of sand in places, but others also featured quite a lot of sticky mud. Learning to avoid those areas was among the first lessons.
Here’s something that doesn’t normally make it onto a beachgoer’s must-see list, prickly pear cactus. Seems like an appropriately Texas twist.
Now is a good time to point out that a decent stretch of the Sargent coastline has been protected by manmade barriers, leaving little to no beach, depending on the tide.
In the late 1950s and early ’60s, several rows of beach houses had been built on stilts to ride above water surges. Things began to disintegrate as coastal erosion started eating away at the sandy soil and the incredibly intense Hurricane Carla in 1961 wreaked havoc on the homes there. When we lived in the area in the early ’80s, there were only a few ragged remains.
A major investment to protect the area came about in the 1990s when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and installed the granite breakwater revetment seen in the photo above. More projects are in the works to help secure the community and maybe restore some of the beach.
The beach does not appear to be maintained in any fashion. The boat launch pictured above provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway, from which one can access the gulf. I suspect most of the boaters pay little attention to the debris around the area and, to be honest, it may be no worse than the average boat ramp.
Once one wanders further down the beach away from any paved area or trash can, there may be encounters with an assortment of trash. We identified a couple of sides to a portable toilet.
However, it really isn’t that messy, partly because it’s not overly used, at least not in November. Give credit to visitors who take seriously the charge to pack out their trash.
Far more interesting than trash was an assortment of tree trunks that have washed up. I have no idea how they got there, but we tend to attribute it to a hurricane.
And then there was this untold story. How do you think the owner of this pink doll shoe lost it on the beach?