With his dog, Penny, following his lead, Dave Gugerty scaled a large mound of rocks Thursday morning along the shoreline of the Long Island Sound in Bayville. Both man and canine were quick, but careful not to lose their footing as they made their way over the uneven terrain and then, waded through the knee-high deep water once they reached the bottom.
The tide was high, so the water was deeper than usual as Gugerty and his friend Paul Dell'Aquilo, who also brought along his dog, Sandy, led fellow Bayville resident John Taylor and Olympic windsurfer Farrah Hall on a two-mile “rock scrambling run” across the beach.
Gugerty, a 25-year Bayville resident and former village trustee, has been occasionally running this unique course along the front of Oak Point since his high school friend, Doug Gorman, introduced it to him 10 years ago. Gorman passed away in 2007 at the age of 42 from melanoma, but Gugerty honors his friend by continuing to run the route and share it with others.
“The higher the tide, the more of the challenge, so he’d be proud of us doing this today at dead high tide,” Gugerty, 51, said as he walked toward the beach. “This one’s for you, Doug.”
Even though Taylor has lived on the Long Island Sound in Bayville for more than 50 years, he had never experienced a “rock scramble” until Thursday morning.
“I’m a sailor and I don’t do this,” said Taylor, 61. “Dave twisted my arm.”
Although the experience was “too hot and rocky” for Taylor, who prefers walking his dogs along the beach in the winter months, he brought along Hall, who was a natural.
“This was my first formal rock scramble, but as a kid I used to run over the rift raft any chance I got,” said Hall, 31, who grew up in Annapolis, Md.
Hall is only in Bayville for a little more than a week. She’s here training with Taylor, one of her coaches, and she competed last week in a four-day international women’s match racing regatta at Oakcliff Sailing Center in nearby Oyster Bay. She competes professionally around the world and has made it her goal to medal in the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio.
Although she’ll spend the winter training in Australia, she said she’s enjoying the workouts she’s getting sailing in Bayville’s waters.
“The landscaping is fairly similar to where I grew up in Annapolis,” she said. “They both have small harbors, but here you have a bit more current.”
Whether it’s sailing, kayaking, swimming or running along the beach, Gugerty said he loves that Bayville offers so many natural areas to engage in outdoor sports.
Although rock scrambling isn’t something that Gugerty does on a regular basis, he does run two to three times per week on the beach and goes water skiing on weekend mornings in the Long Island Sound. He often thinks of his friend Gorman while engaging in these activities.
“Doug always wanted to be outside,” he said. “His philosophy was, ‘It’s all good.’ That’s how he looked at each day.”