Check out Point Look­out this month

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­

I once heard a co­me­dian com­pare life to a bus ride.

It made quite an im­pres­sion on me, as I was much younger then, and couldn’t re­late yet.

In his view, dur­ing our youth we’re rid­ing the lo­cal bus, mo­sey­ing along each street and mak­ing lots of stops. We’re tak­ing our time and see­ing the sights. Time passes slowly and each oc­ca­sion leaves a dis­tinct im­pres­sion upon us.

By mid­dle age, how­ever, we’ve switched buses and are now rid­ing the ex­press bus. Each year comes and goes be­fore you know it. Time feels like it’s pass­ing in an in­stant.

I think I’ve fi­nally reached the ex­press bus-stage of life, and I wish I could slow things down a bit. I’m not sure how to do that for ev­ery­one, but for me, get­ting out­side and in touch with na­ture seems to help.

It doesn’t much mat­ter what I’m do­ing: walk­ing, bik­ing, gar­den­ing, kayak­ing watch­ing the birds. Con­tem­plat­ing the lilies of the field. Stop­ping to smell the roses. Feel­ing the sun­shine on my face and breeze at my back. Get­ting in touch with na­ture is my way to feel more cen­tered, and when I get out­side with my fam­ily, I feel more con­nected to them, too.

I took my own ad­vice this past week­end and drove down to Point Look­out with the fam­ily. We in­vited some friends who just moved into the area to join us and share with them what makes this part of Mary­land so special.

I visit the park fre­quently and of­ten talk to peo­ple who have lived in South­ern Mary­land for

years, maybe even their whole lives, who have never vis­ited the park be­fore. They are al­ways glad they took the time to drive down and check it out.

As I’m sure you know, there’s been a lot of rain re­cently, so it was a treat to have a dry week­end with­out a cloud in the sky. The tem­per­a­ture was what I’d char­ac­ter­ize as per­fect at about 75 de­grees, and when there’s none of that South­ern Mary­land hu­mid­ity, the air can re­ally feel re­fresh­ing and clean.

The ticket stub from the at­ten­dant booth at the en­trance al­ways prints “An­other beau­ti­ful day in South­ern Mary­land” across the re­ceipt, but it was an ac­cu­rate state­ment for cer­tain that day.

Point Look­out is a top des­ti­na­tion if you like birds or but­ter­flies. One of the high­lights of our trip was see­ing a bird I’d never seen be­fore, the blue-throated black war­bler.

We were eat­ing lunch on one of the pic­nic tables in the beach area when my daugh­ter spied some small black birds ex­am­in­ing the bark on a tree trunk. They were about the size of a goldfinch or chick­adee and tra­versed the tree trunk like a nuthatch. I quickly used the Mer­lin Bird ID app on my phone to iden­tify it. It’s mi­gra­tion time for a lot of birds and other crea­tures, and Point Look­out is a place where you can see a lot of tran­sients come


We also spent a good amount of time ex­am­in­ing each tuft of gold­en­rod grow­ing along­side the park trails for but­ter­flies. This time of year is per­fect for see­ing mon­archs and cloud­less sul­phurs, but the kalei­descope of buck­eyes stole the show this visit.

The buck­eye is a medium-sized brown, or­ange and white but­ter­fly with eye­spots on each wing. They are com­mon but­ter­flies, and just like the pop­u­lar monarch, jour­ney south­ward as the weather cools to over­win­ter in warmer lo­cales. The clear bright sun­light of a low hu­mid­ity day painted quite a pic­ture, with but­ter­flies of many col­ors danc­ing around the gold­en­rod and honey­suckle patches in the park.

Oc­to­ber is the per­fect month to visit Point Look­out State Park. The beaches aren’t crowded, the weather is just right for spend­ing the day out­side, but the va­ri­ety of birds and but­ter­flies is the best rea­son of all.

A his­tory les­son given at Point Look­out

An­other high­light of the visit was ob­serv­ing the his­tor­i­cal in­ter­preters on hand at the Civil War fort do­ing demon­stra­tions and answering ques­tions, por­tray­ing ev­ery­day life at Point Look­out dur­ing the 1860s.

My daugh­ters and I set­tled quickly un­der a tent ded­i­cated to women’s roles at Point Look­out dur­ing the Civil War and got into a ro­bust con­ver­sa­tion about the women who served in the hos­pi­tal.

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