I awoke early on Sunday just after 5 AM. The house was cold, and the forecast was calling for rain and possibly some snow throughout the day. One temptation was to stay in bed. The other was to get outdoors for a little while before the weather turned bad.
I had originally intended to visit Griswold Point, but that would have to wait for a sunnier day. I had taken note however, of a smaller, more accessible park in Old Lyme last month. From the cockpit while I waited for the Amtrak Bridge to open, I saw several people fishing from a pier that extended southward from the bridge through some marshland. Soon I was out of bed and on my way.
Ferry Landing Park is also referred to as the DEP Headquarters. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Marine Division maintains several buildings and boats on the grounds. There is a lawn with a gazebo and picnic tables, as well as the walkways and boardwalk that I was hoping to visit. Upon arrival, I immediately noticed a sign that stated that the park was closed from sunset to sunrise. The dark clouds made it hard to distinguish sunrise from early dawn. I threw caution to the wind, and entered the park anyway (More on this in a later post).
I found my way to the boardwalk that leads under the railroad bridge and out to the marsh and tidal flats. A heavy layer of frost covered the planks, which forced me to take baby steps to maintain my balance. A light, misty rain began to fall.
At the far end of the boardwalk, I came to a small observation deck that provided maybe an 8 foot advantage. The small increase in elevation however, expanded the views considerably. Great Island and the two Saybrook lighthouses came into view as well as a large area of tidal flats and marshes.
Some of the backwaters were covered with a thin film of ice. The river itself was free of ice, but the tide was slack. The tug of war between the currents of the river and the sound was in a temporary lull, as neither waters held the higher ground. Water that had made its way from small beaver ponds in Vermont and New Hampshire, would sit here for a one hour layover before making the final push to the sea. It was only a matter of time and tide.
When I awoke from daydreaming about Vermont beaver ponds, I noticed that the bridge operator had been keeping a sharp eye on me. I tossed around some ideas about why he might be watching me through binoculars. Maybe they take that sunrise rule very seriously (possible). Maybe he thinks I am a lunatic to be walking around out here on such a cold and damp morning (plausible). Maybe he reads my blog and was thrilled that the Soundbounder guy was in Old Lyme (highly unlikely). And finally, maybe he found it suspicious of me to be taking pictures of the bridge at such an early hour, on such a miserable day (very likely).
I did not wait around for the answer. I made my way back to land and waved to the operator as I passed.
The wind began to blow just enough to make it feel very uncomfortable. Small ripples now covered the water surface that had been glassy just moments before. My hands began to feel numb from the cold. The rain began to freeze.
Ferry Landing Park WebAlbum