Last week a few of us staff & volunteers thought we had a pretty good idea: do a hike & pick up some trash along the way. What sounded like a simple and great idea turned into one heck of a challenge. The plan was to walk from the Annaberg parking lot out to Waterlemon along the trail, then "scramble" or "rock walk" along the shoreline from Waterlemon to Brown Bay. Once at Brown Bay we'd then hike the trail back to Waterlemon and eventually the Annaberg parking lot where we started. Under normal conditions we figured on about 2 1/2 hours or so, maybe 3ish max. Well, about 4+ hours later we found ourselves gasping for breath, each carrying at least one 30 pound bag of trash on our shoulders. All totaled there were 11 of us hiking the shoreline, and boy did we get a lot of trash: the estimate is roughly 300-350 pounds of trash, enough to fill the back of a pickup truck. We even had one person kayak from Brown Bay to Annaberg with garbage bags attached to the kayak!
While it was a great success, we all couldn't help but feel how sad it was there was so much trash on the shoreline in the first place. About 80% of what we picked up was plastic, and of that most of it was plastic bottles. If we were to do it again we'd probably consider leaving the trash at Brown Bay and coming back for it, or perhaps meeting a boat in Brown Bay. The last stretch after reaching the beach was definitely tough. While we made a considerable dent there is still plenty of trash along the shoreline, especially at Brown Bay. Another option for next time may be going straight to Brown Bay. An even better idea for next time would be to bring a few donkeys - something to help carry that load!
If you're planning on doing this hike yourself? bring LOTS of water and sunscreen, wear a bathing suit, and bring shoes that WILL get wet (not sandals). The good news is that for most of the hike it should be free of trash, but just in case you could bring a trash bag :)