We followed along at a comfortable pace, Dani peering out the passenger window and reminiscing about the same feeling of driving up New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Auto Road for the first time last fall, slightly unnerved about the pitch of the slope next to us and her proximity to the edge. Another few kilometers up the road we ran into something I wouldn’t have expected, a pack of wild mountain goats blocking the road. I creeped the car up to them as they reluctantly moved out of the way, allowing us passage towards the beach parking lot. Dust kicked up behind us as we continued on, reaching a small flat area at the end of the long dirt road where we again found ourselves in the company of only a half dozen other cars. The funny thing about this lot was the elevation and complete lack of ocean water. Not one of the blogs we had researched or photos we had seen had ever alluded to the 1.5 mile hike over the mountain at the end of the peninsula in order to make it to the beach. The hike was rocky but somewhat graded over the pass, then began a surprising 500-vertical-foot descent down to the immaculate water below us. The descent itself was done with a makeshift staircase built by the Cretans, a genius move in my opinion to prevent the degradation of the hillside by people traipsing around. The stone “path” probably works wonders to keep everyone in line, though as we descended we saw only two other couples making their way down to the waters edge.
We picked out beach chairs and an umbrella and settled down for some reading and soaking in the sunshine, initially sharing the beach with maybe a dozen people. As the day progressed and sun moved across the sky, hundreds of others arrived by sailboat, ferryboat, and foot, the beach that had been so tranquil again becoming a madhouse. I thought to myself how adventures a few summers back while getting my sailing licenses had allowed me access to beaches the masses simply couldn’t get to, and how privileged I had been to experience that. It seems more and more now that places that were probably once filled with solitude are now known to the entire world with a click of their computer keyboard (we’re absolutely guilty of this too) and filled with people instead. These thoughts lingered on in my mind throughout the day, and around 15h00 we packed up and began the literal hike back to the car. The climb up was a little more difficult in the 90+ degree heat, but we made it back to the parking lot without incident, finding it overflowing with a hundred or more cars.