Monday, October 02, 2017

St. Mary Lake

This will be my last entry from our August excursion to the Gulf Islands. The next post will take us to a very different place.

Every year for twenty years we've been coming back to this beach. Maybe not just for the beach, but to the beach. I posted a more thorough description two years ago:
St. Mary Lake: August 2015

It hasn't changed too much in the last twenty years - geomorphologically. What has changed is the demographics - the little children have grown up and gone off to college and rarely make it back. The parents get older. Old folks stop coming. Younger families take their place.

The beach toys get larger and more interesting.


The swash zone doesn't shift much on this beach over the summer. Afternoon waves from the south try to smooth out whatever perturbations to the small pocket beach have been created with plastic shovels and buckets in the previous 24 hours. Fine sand, coarse sand, and small gravel sort and resort themselves just as on larger, more energetic beaches.

Beach toys left in shallow water influence wave patterns and sometimes leave strange little promontories, even after the temporary breakwater has been removed. 

Without a little new sand now and then and a summertime of human trampling, this little artificial beach would probably revert pretty quickly to reeds. There are too few waves and not enough sediment for beaches to form on their own.

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