Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Hike - 4

Our national emblem should be the willow - not that silly lion...as if we have lions roaming our lands.
On my fourth hike towards The Hike in Northumberland, I passed many, many willows, by far the most common tree in my area. But this one, an ash, caught my eye, as it is symbolic for my wetlands delta, valiantly hanging on even when knee-deep in water.


Today was a perfect day for hiking: wind wsw 18 km/hr,2 degrees C, humidity 83%,the occasional hail shower, but mostly sunny. Well, not counting the dramatic clouds.
I set off from home and decided to get the polder stretch out of the way first, ending along the Haringvliet water with the wind at my back (see photo above).






Walking through the polder has a dynamic of its own. It's mostly battling with the wind and hoping you won't get crashed into from behind, as most polder dwellers drive like maniacs and expect you to jump into the verge.

This is typically wetlands scenery. A sloot, a straight stretch of narrow road and an endless sky.



From this distance you can really see how our local church tower and ship are divided.


Although it hailed occasionally, the bulbs along the road showed that Spring is definitely on its way! I'm a sucker for spring bulbs,  they give such a feeling of hope, that sure, sunshine will be part of our days again.




Whilst I am typing this it is hailing most fiercely, so I took my walk at the right time!
Along the way, on the Westdijk, I passed this vegetable plot, artistically draped along the dyke.


Due to the mild winter there were quite a few cabbages and sprouts still looking good.
After the Westdijk I passed from polder into dune landscape, as I was nearing the Haringvliet, the sea arm that divides my island of Voorne from the next island of Goeree-Overflakkee. The soil turns from heavy,greasy clay straight to sand and the trees change accordingly from willows and such to thorny shrub, ash and birch.


This path leads you from the last tarmac road through the dunes to the Haringvliet.


Look at that. You have your mangroves in Florida, we have our solitary ash in the wetlands. This sea arm, due to its being cut off from the sea since the Seventies and being fed by three huge rivers is sweet water, but no one has told the shells, so they are saltwater shells still, mixed with some fresh water ones.
I used to scoff at this stretch of water, being spoiled by holidays abroad and the cold green blue waters near my first home in Hampshire (GB). But I've made my peace with the Haringvliet and quite like it nowadays.


This was the best part of the hike: up the dune and down the dune, with the gently lapping water always close by on my righthand side, the occasional gull overhead and thankfully no more hail.
It took me 2 hours to get home, and 28.640 steps. 
I'm already planning the next hike, which will probably take me over to the next island by bus and back on foot.
Join me?