Only days before, the Amherst Point resident had set a goal to visit 50 beaches in the Maritime Provinces.
“It was coming up to the end of December, and I was trying to think of something to do for 2017 that was different and unique,” she said. “I was tired of making New Year’s resolutions that were done in February.”
She thought of her husband Kenny turning 50 this year, and Canada celebrating its 150th birthday. She also thought of how much she loved beaches.
The couple decided to visit 50 beaches. Nine months later, they have been to 70, and have visited most of them together.
“I’ve been to a couple he hasn’t been, but most we have done together,” said Clarke. “A few we have done with friends on a road trip here and there, and the kids have done some with us.”
She chose Lower Cove was the first beach they visited because it is a special place to her. The home of her grandparents, she grew up being always at that beach, and it remains one of her favourites.
On that day she scratched #50Beaches on a rock, and kept that tradition going at every beach she visited, along with a count of which number they had reached towards the goal. The messages were etched in sand, seafoam or whatever was available. One was made from rocks on the beach, another from rosehips collected nearby.
“We don’t just pull up to the side of the road and say we’ve done that beach,” explained Clarke. “We have to spend time at that beach, we have to walk on the beach and collect – look for seaglass, unique shells, driftwood, whatever.”
Because they were making these visits during all months of the year, swimming was not a requirement, although they did plenty of that. They celebrated the 50th beach at Basin Head, P.E.I. by having a group of five jumping off the dock into the water, each holding up 10 fingers.
Since the early visits, the journey has taken on a life of its own, with friends following her progress on social media and always asking her which number they are on. Many recommended different beaches they could visit. Some were even inspired to take on similar ventures, which was very pleasing to Clarke.
Most of all, the whole experience of exploring has been enjoyable for Clarke and her family.
“It’s been so fun to take a day and just drive down the Fundy coast, and go down a random lane to see what is down there,” said Clarke. “We have beaches in our area we didn’t even know existed… places we had been and had no idea how lucky we were and how much we had around here. We would never have done it otherwise… go searching and find all these treasures.”
The tranquility of these environments has also become a sort of healthy addiction for her. There was a period between early August and mid-September that she was not able to visit any beaches, and she found it was something she needed to get back to.
“The beach is a spiritual place for me, so soothing and relaxing,” said Clarke. “Even beyond 2017, I can see this being something that’s a part of my life, to make an effort to get there and just be quiet, and listen. It’s just been amazing.”
Fifty beaches was not enough, and the Clarkes have now decided the goal will be 75 beaches each, a goal they can still tie to Canada 150.
That’s only five more beaches. The only problem is, will that be enough?
“I think we can get five in,” she said. “We might have trouble keeping it at only five, because we’re having so much fun.”
Trina’s Top 10 Beaches
Trina Clarke had trouble picking a favourite beach among the 70 she has visited so far in 2017, but she did select a Top 10 list, in random order.
1. Lower Cove Beach, N.S.
2. Spicer’s Cove, N.S.
3. Shipyard Road Beach, N.S.
4. Burntcoat Head, N.S.
5. Carter’s Beach, N.S.
6. Crescent Beach, N.S.
7. Mossey’s Beach, P.E.I.
8. Basin Head Beach, P.E.I.
9. Black Brook Beach, N.S.
10. Hirtle’s Beach, N.S.