Sunday, June 27, 2010

Assateague Island (the rest of the story)

My facebook friends heard the abridged version of this year's campout. "Cristi wonders if the whole point of camping is to come home with the best stories. Yesterday included a gorgeous day at the beach, gator wrestlin', severe thunderstorms, several inches of rain in the tents, and finally a midnight ride by the DC monuments." And, now, as Paul Harvey would say, "Here's the rest of the story"...


We arrived at Assateague Island in time for dinner Wednesday night. It was miserably hot in DC when we left, but thankfully 90-something degrees doesn't feel nearly as bad when there's a nice breeze blowing off the ocean. Our campsite was barely 50 yards from the beach. After pitching tents and lighting our campfire, Tim and the kids went exploring.

The next morning it was all we could do to keep the kids near the tents long enough to cook breakfast; they couldn't wait to get in the water. Perhaps the most fun activity of the day was "gator wrestling."


Lauren was a bit skittish about the water the first time she dipped her toes in, but by the end of the day she was laughing every time a wave came up high enough to nearly knock her over.



Just seconds after we took this picture of the kids on the beach, a wave came up a bitter higher than I thought and splashed all the kids. That's the picture I would've loved to have captured.


Assateague Island is known for the wild ponies that roam freely. The last time we camped here, we were amazed that the horses didn't really seem afraid of people at all. They are even more fearless now. Several times they came right up to our campsite looking for food. On Thursday night, Tim was grilling ribs and a group of five horses decided to hang out nearby. I was standing at our picnic table and one of them walked within a few feet of me. The biggest horse started inching closer to the grill, but when Tim kept staring at him, he eventually gave up and wandered away. (It's a good thing -- Tim would've fought  to keep his dinner, especially ribs.)




As sunset neared, we noticed the horses gathering on the ridge between the beach and the campsites. I think we counted 20 in all.







This was the calm before the storm. Shortly after Tim took the photos, we heard a loudspeaker coming from a police car that was announcing a weather warning. We took the wind and thunderstorm warning fairly seriously and staked down both tents a bit more securely. When the lightning got bad, we figured that the van would be a safer shelter than the tent. What a storm! When it cleared a bit, I did a quick check of the tents. The bigger tent took on several inches of rain, and much of the gear in the kids' tent got wet too. As we saw the rest of the storm moving our direction, we decided to start loading up wet gear. It would only take about 3 hours to get home, and that seemed like a better option than toughing it out in wet sleeping bags. We got one tent down before the next round of thunder and lightning. Finally, about 10 pm, we managed to squeeze the rest of the gear and a very wet, sandy tent into the van.

Somewhere around 12:30 in the morning, Tim and I discussed the best way to get from one side of DC to the other. Shortly afterwards, we drive past all of the big monuments. Oops. The next morning, Addison pipes up at breakfast and asks, "Can anyone tell me why we were driving past all the monuments in the middle of the night?"

Like I said, if camping is about having the best stories, I think this trip was a winner!


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19 comments:

  1. Sounds like the perfect family camping trip, complete with crisis to ensure extra bonding :).

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  2. Enjoyed reading this post~ and looking at the pictures. It sounds like just the place my 12 yr. old daughter would like to go!
    I am new to the Crew this year too, and looking forward to it!

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  3. Hi! I'm visiting from the TOS Crew.

    I enjoyed reading your post and love the title of your blog.

    Anyway, your blog is included in this week's blog walk.

    Have a blessed week!

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  4. Hi There! Stopping by from the TOS Crew! I'm happy to meet you!

    www.mylifeonataffypull.blogspot.com

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  5. I'm stopping by on this week's TOS blog walk. I loved this post. I'm sure you'll all remember this trip for a long time.

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  6. My daughter would just LOVE a camping site where wild horses grazed by the tent rather than just kangaroos and possums!
    Catherine (aka alecat, via TOS Crew)

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  7. I have visited Assateague Island many times, but have never camped there. It sounds like you had quite an adventure.

    I have however, unintentionally driven past the DC monuments many times on my way home to Maryland from Virginia. I can never remember which way to go on I-495 to avoid the center of the city, lol.

    Visiting from the TOS Crew Blog Walk,

    Loretta

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  8. Wow~what an incredible event! GLAD all turned out well! LOVE the campsite though..and the thought of grilled ribs~yum! HOPE you will try it again when you can! I love camping too~rain storms can be a challenge!

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  9. What a cool trip! I love the wild horses. Great photos. Scary storm though. My boys would have been basket cases! :-) Stopping by as part of the TOS Crew Blog Walk.

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  10. Stopping by from the crew and leaving with a great idea for a camping vacation. We live in NoVa, so this is certainly doable! I'll pray we don't have the 100 degree temperatures and torrential downpours when we go though. I don't think I care to win the best story contest in that way! ;)

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  11. OH that is wonderful, thanks so much for posting the pictures! I've wanted to visit since reading the Misty of Chincoteague stories :)

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  12. I'm stopping by from the TOS Blog Walk and a new follower.

    Loved your story for several reasons. 1) I can so totally relate! We stopped at Assateague Island National Seashore after a hectic trip to D.C. several years ago and I was loving it. The weather was perfect, the walks on the beach, the horses...it couldn't have been any better...but...2)that night, a storm blew in and the wind was so terrible that our tent was blowing over (thank goodness for those huge tent spikes!). 3) We ended up trying to sleep in the van with the wind rocking it back and forth all night. Ahhh...the memories! Still, I can't wait to return. Blessings!:)

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  13. How awesome. Now I want to camp there. Did I say I wanted to camp? Apparently I will do anything for a neat picture. lol

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  14. Stefanie, you definitely should go camp there. It's beautiful and has nice facilities, too. I wasn't carrying my diabetic supplies when we went, but I think we went twice taking a feeding tube / specialized formula and once with oxygen tanks.

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  15. I have had Assateague Island on my list of places to visit ever since I was a kid and read Misty of Chincoteague! LOL Now I want to camp there - that looks awesome!

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  16. My girls loved those books, too, and would love a trip to that island. The stories like yours make vacations even more memorable.

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  17. Do you recall what campsite number you stayed at/is pictured?

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  18. Heather,
    I looked up a campground map (http://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/upload/Campground%20Map_09.pdf, and I'd guess we were in site #33. The map doesn't look exactly right to me, though, and I wonder if some of the campsites have been switched around. Even though we were tent camping, we had a drive-in site. There were RVs all around, but the sites were plenty big enough to set up two tents and an eating pavilion in the sand.

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