We’ve finished up our camping interlude, with 3 nights at Assateague and 1 quick night at Kiptopeke State Park in lieu of a hotel.
We got dirty and had fun in the ocean and bay, except for times when we were dirty and didn’t have fun. That’s how it goes when you travel with two little kids and a grumpy mom.
The first tent night was tough. Jesse had a hard time settling down, and there was much moaning and groaning. We fixed the problem for the other nights via extreme bribery, 5 entire bucks if you can be quiet for the night. It seemed wrong somehow to be barking at my child at 2 am, “remember the 5 dollars? Be quiet right now if you want them!” But it was effective, so I was satisfied.
There were wild ponies right in our campsite!
Down side: steaming piles of horse shit right in our campsite.
We had loads of fun on the beautiful beaches. The surf was mellow and we lucked out with low tides, so the kids were able to enjoy pretty calm seas on the first ocean trip of their young lives. We built a sand fort and populated it with little mole crabs we captured in our digs. We eventually set the crabs free in the surf and mocked the passing lady who was grossed out that they were STILL ALIVE.
Nick didn’t act like a kid who’s afraid of water as he waded out into the frothing surf and vanquished waves with his imaginary powers. Jesse swam in and rode waves on her boogie board, overcoming anxiety and outright fear. She was tiny and lithe and spectacular. There were pelicans, herons and egrets, gulls, wading birds, horseshoe and normal crabs, dolphins, and a huge school of fish the dolphins had herded to the surf. Magical.
Down side: sand. We discovered that Nick is OCD about sand between his toes, requiring surgical precision in the removal of each grain when we leave the beach. Jesse is OCD at-large, so at random moments she just freaks out for a while about sand on different parts of her body. All we can really do is grit our teeth and wait until she works through it.
I have no beach photos to share. I didn’t take any because I was playing. Sometimes I like not having pictures; they have a tendency to replace broad deep memories with a limited, one-dimensional idealization.
But also sometimes I wish I was a pro so I could capture an image that was the event unto itself. One evening we saw the full moon rise before night fell. The sky was red and purple from the setting sun, and the moon shimmered through a mist of clouds. It lasted all of 20 seconds before the clouds covered it up, and it took my breath away. Unfortunately, this is the image my iPhone captured:
Yeah. That little dot in the sky is the big beautiful moon. The real thing was much more impressive. I wish you had seen it with me.
Wow, I didn’t know you could camp on Assategue! I remember reading “Misty” when I was a kid, and have always wanted to go check it out and see the wild ponies. Glad you went.