A different kind of moon walk

We are lucky to have amazing friends. We’ve bragged about them here a few times. And this time is no different as John H. King with the Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, shares a narrative with us about a moon walk that the friends hosted at the refuge, a pleasing treat for visitors.  

We at Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge hosted our monthly free full moon family hike on Saturday, July 12, at the Two Mile Beach Unit in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  As the week preceding the event progressed and the weather forecast continued to improve, we knew we could be in for an epic crowd.  Thousands of vacationers had descended on nearby Wildwood, and this particular moon would be full on exactly the evening of our Saturday walk.  Plus, this would be a “super moon,” which means the moon would be full at the time of perigee (when the moon is nearest to the earth), so we knew that if the skies stayed clear, visitors would be in for a real treat!

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Visitors heading down to the beach at the beginning of the moon walk.

As it turns out, we welcomed over 100 visitors that evening, a record for any of our events. We had scheduled some free pre-walk entertainment from a local singing group, The Calamity Janes and Friends. The music was lovely and fun. Many thanks to them for joining us at no cost, and we hope they can do this again.  They played and sang a great selection of moon songs:  Blue Moon, Moondance, Moon Shadow and Moon, Moon, Moon…. all terrific choices!

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The Calamity Janes and Friends playing some tunes.

Everyone on the walk saw and heard so many amazing things!  A cool breeze kept the bugs at bay, our eastern towhee appeared and sang on cue along the Dune Trail, tree crickets were trilling, we spotted gulls, terns, and osprey and we saw ghost crabs, horseshoe crabs, shells, and more on the beach. There was a high flood tide, almost covering the jetty and razor clam holes bubbled as they were covered by the incoming tide. A child asked why there are called razor clams. An older gentleman on the walk answered and described the straight razors that his grandfather used and had handed down to him.  The super moon appeared out over the ocean—shrouded and misty red on the horizon at first, like an apparition or a mirage; it rose so rapidly then blossomed into a shiny yellow wheel of cheese!

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Not sure if this photo does it justice, but this was our setting on the walk.

Sailboats were offshore, a noisy pair of oystercatchers flew by and the beach was left wild and natural, untouched by the nightly raking of the nearby Wildwood “Beach Zamboni” machines. Darkness settled on us as we began our return. There were flashlights of children spotting ghost crabs everywhere as we made our way single-file down the darkened Dune Trail. The song of a single whippoorwill came from somewhere in the dark tangle of dune forest. It was such a marvelous night for a moondance!!

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