In an attempt to temper what can only be described as my school girl inclination to keep a diary, and in submission to my urge to record the details of my littoral sojourn on Hilton Head Island, I have relented to the extent that I will attempt to capture the facts without completely contaminating the account with tiresome personal information. This is a project likely doomed to fail. Segregating individuality from the general landscape is virtually impossible. There may however surface in the slush of what I say at least an element of substance. Such haughty aspiration!
Apart from fiction an account of any tale begins of course with the bald truth. I confess I sometimes feel the necessity to embellish a report for the reason that the patent lack of intrigue, novelty or mystery begs the supplement but of course to do so flies in the face of reality. The upshot is not that one abandons the project as patently insipid but rather that one reports the events in spite of their perceived banality. What for example could be more mundane than an account of where I go on my usual morning bicycle ride?
My “usual bicycle ride” is a changing characterization. Last year it was not uncommon for me to bicycle to Sonesta Beach which is near Marker 72. Often I continued beyond to Singleton Beach at Marker 97. This year I have not gone beyond Coligny Park at Marker 59. Just to confirm, the Markers located along the beach are every 1/10th of a mile beginning at South Beach with Marker 10. Our beachside condominium is located in the South Beach area. Accordingly a jaunt from South Beach to Singleton Beach would consume at least nine miles, eighteen miles return trip. Similarly my current customary ride to Coligny Park is only about six miles, twelve miles return trip.
There are many points at which one may enter the beach along its eastern course. The most common entry points are the narrow paving stone pathways at each of the Markers. Many of these paths end in attractive boardwalks which traverse the dunes onto the beach.
There are also public and private “parks” from which similar boardwalk access is possible. Tower Beach, which is located nearby South Beach, is technically a private compound of pergola, parking, washrooms and seaside benches reserved for residents of Sea Pines Plantation. But during the off-season the automated gates are raised. This is a convenient stop for washing the sand from one’s bike as well.
Further north along the coast is Beach Club which is a public compound hosting seasonal residences, a restaurant and clothing store. There are also well-maintained rest rooms. When a band is not performing in the outdoor restaurant, the piped music is from the American Book of Standards. This is a popular haunt whenever the tourist traffic picks up. Because it is located in Sea Pines (a gated community) it is more upscale than Coligny Park to which there is unrestricted public access. Beach Club is a comfortable place to rest before tackling another leg of the ritual bike ride.
Most often I enter the beach from Beach Club because the beach from this area northward tends to be more passable than some of the beachhead from Tower Beach. If one is lucky enough to have a southerly wind, then the ride from Beach Club to Coligny Park is – pardon the pun – a breeze!
Beyond Coligny Park the subsequent entrances, apart from the Marker entries, are mostly from hotels. My favourite detour is at Shipyard Plantation.
The furthest I have ever gone on the beach is Marker 97. It is located at a breakwater. I’m usually close to a wreck by that point and therefore I’m obliged to lie in the sand for a moment before getting back in gear. There it is – another pun!
By the time I have hauled my carcass nine miles back along the beach to the condominium there is only one resort of any attraction – a chaise longue by the pool!
Below are photos of other places of entry to the beach.