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February 14, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Coastal, not postal

Wide open Galveston beach in February. ALL rights reserved. Copy righted. NO permissions granted

Now this is what a beach should be like: empty. ©

Digging sand.

Between Mardi Gras and before Spring Break: Best time of the year for the beach.

Oh, OK. As an alternative to bemoaning the frigid world outside your window, grab the flip flops and pretend.

Maybe not snow white, but these sands sans tar. (Yes, shoveling, but it’s optional, not mandatory!)

An actual shell half buried? Rare here with the broad shallow coastal shelf and pounding waves. But you since can already hear the ocean here, so shells not required.

Seaweed neatly lined up at the edge of the surf. A thin red line. Molly attempted to return stray clumps that seemed to be making a break for the dunes…just neatening things up as she went.

seagulls surfing at the edge of the water. ALL rights reserved. Copy righted. NO permissions granted

Seagulls surfing at the edge of the water. A catered dinner must have been ordered ahead of time and delivered promptly. That lump on the horizon is one of 14 or so vessels waiting to go into the Ship Channel and head to Houston’s port.©

This is the first time Molly Malamute hasn’t been disturbed by the constantly moving waves. Before she seemed to think they were leaping towards her in attack mode…and she felt outnumbered.

Digging freely without annoying human complaints was a more interesting distraction. Watch out, crabs.

“No, we are not adopting it.”

What’s with her new game? “All Fall Down” – instantaneously – collapsing completely without warning. Like some unseen hand jerks her legs out from under her leaving a goofy smiling dog flat on her side.

“Yes, there will be baths.”

Beach looking westward towards the Pleasure Pier rides. All rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copy righted

Turning back walking west towards the Pleasure Pier. You can see the Ferris Wheel and rides on the end boardwalk there. It looks frosty, but it’s not – just the sun’s glare. ©

Behind the dunes on the right are the narrow wetlands / coastal prairie between the beach with a small public access parking lot. Past that and the grassy fields is the road paralleling the seawall. Behind the sea wall are a few city blocks snuggling up to the very large UTMB Galveston Medical School and Hospital Complex which backs up to the wharfs, docks, cruise ships, and the water on the other side of the island.

Not much room. It’s an island.

Beach walk. UTMB Galveston Medical Center. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Time to head back to the car. Molly is looking for last minute souvenirs. In the background is UTMB Galveston Med.Center.©

A developer is building homes that will look over the dunes to the beach. Although these are perched up on stout poles, the protecting sea wall will be behind them.

Hurricanes? People have short memories. Newcomers are thrilled by the location: beach and water views, and easy walking distance to the Boardwalk.

Sure, it’s fine. No worries.

Wonder if they know what’s right behind them? (Picture above.)

See that second from the left fortress-like building with the 4 lumps on top? Special air things. That building houses one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories in the US. All sorts of nasty viruses, infectious diseases, and bioterrorism weapon type things are sulking inside. Ebola’s contained there, although Zika is the focus right now (article on these scientists and current research efforts)

Like a complex story plot, add one more layer: about 80% of the state’s inmates/prisoners get their medical, dental, and health services in a ward at UTMB’s medical complex.

Bad people. Bad place. Bad stuff.

Everything needed for a real horror story! A terrorist movie plot! A conspiracy!

Sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays in the water aren’t the only worry on Galveston Island….HA HA HA! (Insert scary manic canned laughter here. Screams optional.)

Yellow flowers along beach access trail. All rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Flowers in the dunes along beach access path. ©

Path through Galveston's dunes looking towards the beach. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

One last look back through the dunes towards the water. A tanker in the distance in the anchorage.©

Sand knocked off feet, back in the car, and on the road headed to the causeway to the mainland.

Warmed by island life. Dog tired.

Beach perfect.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Big vintage house facing Broadway as we leave Galveston. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

One of the dowager ladies that line Broadway, the boulevard that leads to the causeway to the mainland. This beauty has survive multiple hurricanes and storms – but we’ll do a house tour in another post.©






  1. Brenda Davis Harsham / Feb 14 2016 2:00 pm

    Love the post title. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 9:21 am

      Glad you got a giggle. It’s such dreadful weather in so many places – bound to be some Valentines frozen in place with no fancy candy treats. Thanks for warming up here with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / Feb 14 2016 2:11 pm

    and ‘gators! Don’t forget the gators!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 9:23 am

      And the rattlesnakes in the dunes! So rattled I forgot them. The gators count on them until it’s hot and the gators need a salt water spa treatment to slosh stuff off their hides. Thanks for adding a comment with bite!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sportsattitudes / Feb 14 2016 2:46 pm

    Warm thoughts and pictures from your neck of the woods do help…blankets and layers of clothing do the rest. Brrrrrrr!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 9:26 am

      IF it makes you feel any better, it’s raining today from the tail end swipe of that Arctic front that was met by Mexican’s west coastal moisture. But I did yardwork, so it better not freeze those little plants…I am not getting the yard blankets out – toughen up plants, you could have been sent to in Philly. Thanks for warming up to the beach

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin / Feb 14 2016 3:47 pm

    How nice you were able to get to the beach. No doubt Molly was thrilled. But have fun with the bath. Try to stay dry!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 9:14 am

      Believe it or not, between beach and play (muddy) fields, Molly knows the drill: straight inside, down the hall, and sit in front of the shower door until the water is just right…then calmly step inside, dog wash and stand around for a bit, shake off a few times, then outside for towels and the hair dryer – which she really seems to enjoy..but I could use one that blows more air. Never had a dog so cooperative. Guess she feels it’s a good tradeoff…and there’s a chance she be allowed to jump on the couch.
      After a couple of gorgeous days, rain now – but not complaining! Thanks for showering a comment here


  5. Aquileana / Feb 14 2016 9:15 pm

    Excellent post…. love the outing and your unconventional approach when it comes to the beach… well, I guess perspective changes when it is not the high-summer season, uh?…
    Anyhow, the National Biocontainment Laboratories should not be placed there, I am with you…. The natural landscapes deserve better, no doubts about it…
    Sending love and best wishes, dear Phil… Happy week ahead. Aquileana 😀


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 9:09 am

      You get spoiled living near the beach and start avoiding it when there’s lots of people. Galveston Island has open beaches. (all public. No privately owned ones). They work really hard to maintain the dunes and natural vegetation. There are several state parks which protects beaches, dunes, lagoons, and wetlands. This barrier island is only about 2 1/2 miles wide and around 30 miles long. Some parts are higher elevation that others, but there’s a huge seawall to protect from flooding by the gulf.
      That’s the weird thing. These new homes are being built outside the seawall – between beach and seawall – on very low land. Although they are being built up on telephone type pole/pilings, the houses don’t seem to be as high up as houses around the bay or Clear Lake. Sooner or later there will be a storm/flooding (and I don’t think the government here should be handing out repair money to anyone foolish enough to build outside the seawall.) Home insurance is extremely expensive on the island – and some locations can’t even get insurance companies to cover them. We’ll see how many buyers ignore the realities. This part of the island, East Beach, has remained pretty “wild” until the last 10 years or so – only a mid rise and one high rise there.
      The UTMB med. center has been there since before 1900 as a very large regional hospital and medical school complex. Many of the first women doctors were trained there. A big part of the island residents work at the med center. We watch the modern new bio lab being built a few years ago. Amazing complex architecture, safety systems, and construction process. Quite solid, safe, and secure. In addition, with the prevailing winds blowing from gulf to beach to across island north, the mainland would be more at risk than the island.
      Really surprised some movie hasn’t been made with combination of possibilities with island, prisoners, hazardous bio materials possibilities, bay/gulf boats and large ships at the docks that could transport stolen stuff, heli-ports for helicopters for med transport and to go to off shore platforms…and, of course, hurricanes. They better hire great actors though – why waste a good story on cheap actors? HA HA
      Thanks for cruising east beach. Hope you didn’t get too much sand in your shoes!


  6. Postcard from Gibraltar / Feb 15 2016 6:26 am

    Wow! What stunning photos:-)


  7. shoreacres / Feb 15 2016 6:41 am

    Here’s a good read for you: “The Blood Notes of Peter Mallow”. The author, Paul Boor, is a pathologist and professor at UTMB. I ran into him some years ago, and read the book. It combines the hot lab and a hurricane, not to mention a certain amount of mental instability. What could be better?

    I loaned my copy to someone, or I’d pass it to you. Unfortunately, I can’t even remember who I loaned it to. Sigh. But it certainly was one that kept my attention.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 8:34 am

      It’s such a grand combination of circumstances – really surprised there’s not been a movie made of it all. I remember that book (It’s in our library – great little library). Cool you met the author – you always meet the most interesting people. Early spring and fall is my favorite time to go to the beach (a few days after Mardi Gras so they’v cleaned up the sticky.). We actually saw 2 whole shells. We used to find shark teeth all the time, but either the sharks are getting better dental care, or some ambitious person is collecting and selling them somewhere.Wonder how much longer before the spring break attack – the road construction on I45 is going to offer a real obstacle course.Thanks for splashing along


  8. easyweimaraner / Feb 15 2016 6:41 am

    I always dreamed about a “Home by the sea” like in that Phil Collins song… but if I would like to live in one of that building with the dangerous hood…. not sure :o) that’s a little like in that story by Mr. King The Stand :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 8:46 am

      The bio lab is specially built and extremely secure. I probably can’t get out and take pictures of it anymore. UTMB Galveston has been there since around 1890 as a regional hospital/medical school Some of the first women doctors were trained there. Most of the people who live on the island are medical staff of one sort or another. The giant building is really not as close to the beach as it looks…ok, the island’s only about 2-2 1/2 miles wide but the prevailing wind blows from beach across island north – so it would be more of a hazard to the mainland. It sounds scary though – I keep expecting a movie…where is Mr King? Oh, probably down by the sea…
      Thanks for taking a beach paw!


  9. jannatwrites / Feb 15 2016 9:44 am

    Interesting about the medical center. It’s crazy that they would build housing near that and in front of the sea wall. I couldn’t feel safe but many people are probably braver than me 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 12:12 pm

      After Hurricane Ike, the wave action/flooding washed out sands underneath some of the west end midrises. East Beach is more sheltered by dunes and dune reconstruction, but still – it’s in front of the sea wall, people. Probably looks really attractive to people not from here.
      Everything in Galveston is near the biolab as it’s really not a large island. A big percentage of Galveston’s residents are people who work at the hospital/medical school. And the building was constructed to be amazingly sturdy and secure.
      I always wonder how many people are totally ignorant of what is close to their subdivisions. PAys to do a lot of research in order to make well informed decisions – especially with the cost of houses these days.
      Thanks for sauntering along this beach


  10. Larissa Thomson / Feb 15 2016 10:32 am

    Good morning, Phil!

    Another fabulous post. I enjoyed the walk – and the shock (biocontainment lab, prisoners, A + B, hope they never get confused or mixed up. Is that where they got their ideas from for the X-men and Avengers?!) with you.

    Looks like it was a beautiful day for the beach!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 12:22 pm

      Sounds like a Hollywood script doesn’t it? Oh, well, they always say write about what you know. I think the superheroes did come from the early age of chemistry and radiation.
      We love the beach mid week and when it’s not a holiday. Enjoying it now, for soon Spring Breakers will be rolling in and cluttering everywhere. Thanks for walking along and scooping up a comment to leave


  11. marthaschaefer / Feb 15 2016 5:59 pm

    These last two posts have been an interesting detour from your usual fare. Loving the walks and talks.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 15 2016 6:25 pm

      Sometimes you have to meander and wander….especially if the sun finally comes out and there’s a chance to see something besides the same walls and dog hair that really needs to be raked – but Hey! Sun! Who knows for how long! Thanks for sauntering along

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The Coastal Crone / Feb 15 2016 6:37 pm

    I haven’t visited Galveston in several years but always enjoy it. There is so much history there and I love the old houses. I remember visiting one called Bishop’s Palace, I think. Galveston would make a great setting for a movie or book. I knew the UTMB had been there forever but did not know about the bio lab. Beautiful weather here on our beaches too. Beaches are always better without crowds.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 16 2016 8:52 am

      Hurricane Ike badly damaged the island – so many of the giant oak trees died from the salt surge waters. Pleasantly surprised that the place looks better now than in many years – some oaks were donated and planted along the main/only incoming boulevard after the storm, but last week crews were out planting even more – fairly large ones – and adding landscaping. Getting ready for Spring Break and Easter. Coming in the main road looks fresh and lush once again. Still wish they would plant more palms along the beach and add additional giant flower planters on the sea wall. Nothing kills low maintenance fan palms. The whole island has such fabulous architecture….hope to get back down before the mobs and heat hits. You are right. Nothing is nicer than beautiful weather at the beach. Thanks for adding a sandy comment


  13. roughseasinthemed / Feb 17 2016 11:57 am

    Nice beach pix. Always good. But living on the beach? Not good. Water will always find its own level and go where it chooses.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 18 2016 9:46 am

      Walking the beach makes you think about relocating, but then commonsense kicks in. There’s all the tourists jamming things in the summer, the storms, and the insurance costs. Not to mention the constant erosion of the shoreline from storms and winds. Here we have 100% open beaches for the public. No one can own the actual beach. The joke here is you always want to buy the beach house at least a block away or 3-4 houses back from the beach because sooner or later the waterline advance inward giving you beach front property. The beach front houses/property owners actually lose their property if the water line moves. The line of natural dunes marks the end of public property. The good thing about this is that beach house home owners are now taking steps to save existing dunes by collecting and staking out discarded Christmas trees which catch and hold blown sand. Win-win for everyone. The island isn’t that wide – really can’t afford to have the Gulf eat it away.
      Warm again today, but next week, back to more normal cool temps – so not wasting too much time indoors until then. Pat to good dog, Snowy. Thanks for kicking back with the sands here


      • roughseasinthemed / Feb 18 2016 9:53 am

        Where we live the sea has receded – over thousands of years. Or maybe hundreds of thousands. But on the east coast in the UK some areas have suffered shocking erosion, leading to collapsing houses hanging over clifftops.

        Best to be near enough for convenience, not too close for danger.

        Sending a few barks your way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 18 2016 1:25 pm

          Oh, forgot. The East Beach where we go is actually gaining width and sands because of the big jetties that stick out into the gulf. People fish off of them. The waves end up circling along them then drop all their sand and shell stuff on the beach before circling back out. Natural beach building. The area’s a big state park at the tip, and has largely remained undeveloped westward to the boardwalk/hotel/ big public groomed beach parks. Locals keep sayin’ if west beach would build jetties, the beaches would build there. People don’t like finger jetties sticking out into the gulf because they also cause rip tides and you cannot swim/surf anywhere close to them. Close to the jetties is very dangerous swimming. So they just moan about beach erosion.
          Another funny note, a some parts of west beach still has cattle grazing. Somehow that’s rather nice that parts of the old ranches remain.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Kourtney Heintz / Feb 18 2016 12:20 pm

    Gorgeous stretch of beach. I look forward to the house tour. That one is majestic!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 19 2016 10:39 am

      Galveston Island may be small, but it is crammed with treasures like that house. They all seem to have such personalities. Thanks for kicking a sandy comment this way.


  15. RKLikesReeses / Feb 18 2016 3:15 pm


    Beach – even the word is delicious. No wonder Molly is smitten! Not adopting random crabs is probably a good idea. I do like Molly’s appraoch to the seaweed, though. Put it back in the water where it belongs? And HOORAY for her not being afraid of the waves now! That’s wonderful news! There’s nothing like the water, the waves, the sand – all of it. But the skeery things come along, too. Always. Storms! Always waiting to pounce on us. Like Molly’s waves?
    This is a gem of a post, a diamond on the beach.
    Thank you for sharing it with us!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 19 2016 10:51 am

      Right now there aren’t any jellyfish on the shore. Molly is a bit to curious about odd things. If she could carry a bucket, it would be full of souvenirs. We do carry water and her bowl as we walk – she’s gotten quite good at asking when she’s thirsty…or can’t get that yucky taste out of her mouth. Wish she could run free like some dogs, but it’s too big a space with too much to explore and she can run too fast! Thanks for sculpting a beachy comment


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