This weekend, Angel & I headed eastward for clintjcl and carolyncasl's annual beach camping trip to Assateague (aka Pony) Island. It's my second trip, ansaphone4's third.
We left work early to beat traffic on Friday. While we missed DC rush hour, we still hit Bay Bridge traffic, which is probably to be expected no matter what time you hit it on a Friday. Arrived around 6, set up the tent (a gloriously vented number with all sorts of useful pockets and features that Scott & Melanie loaned to us), and then headed down to the beach to sit for a little while as the light slowly faded.
I was having trouble settling into vacation mode, and I was tired and a little cranky and antisocial. Being a solitary sort, which is to say, living inside one's own head a lot, sometimes clashes with life, which can often throw a lot of other people one's way. People often say I'm quiet, which is true, and it's not that I'm trying to be standoffish or willfully antisocial. Sometimes I just have to feel alone in a crowd, and I retreat like a hermit crab into a shell.
Saturday found me feeling much better, and after waking up in camp for a bit, I headed out for a run on the beach. Beach running is kind of odd. I tried first in the aqua-shoe things I have, and those were OK, but eventually were rubbing my little toe the wrong way. Plus, they had a tendency to dig into the ground too much, which isn't a benefit on a surface that already has a lot of give to it anyway. So I took them off at the halfway point and did the second half barefoot, which I greatly preferred. The other problem was that the beach at Assateague is pretty significantly slanted, which makes for awkward running on a sidehill. Plus, there isn't really any good hard packed sand to run on. It's a pretty solid surface here and there, but most of it was either dry and breaking apart or wet and squishy, which made the running a lot more effort than I'm used to. By the time I returned to our area of the beach (where Susan and Angel greeted me by singing the theme to Chariots of Fire, my ankles were really feeling the effects of the extra effort needed to compensate for the soft ground. I have no idea how far I ran in the hour, but it was a nice change of pace, and pretty effective as a training surface, particularly for improving strength.
Upon my return I jumped immediately in the (remarkably cold) water to cool off before heading back to camp to change into my swimsuit and grab required beach materials such as a book. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent lying on the sand or in the water. And, despite my best efforts, I got burned, which seems to happen to me once a summer. I thought I was in good shape, I'd used sunscreen with a high SPF and spent most of my time on the beach under an umbrella, yet still I'm sitting here uncomfortable with a stinging back. I just don't get it.
After that, things got interesting. Storm clouds and thunder began rolling in, and as a few drops started to fall, Angel and I decided to make an ice run while it was raining. But the rain subsided before it ever really got started, and before we'd even made it off the island. We completed the trip anyway, and when we got back, it really started to rain. I guess it had been waiting for us. We holed up in the tent (luckily, we'd put the rain fly up earlier, when it first started looking stormy), and watched as everyone else huddled under one of the shelters. And it just rained harder and harder, and the wind blew and blew. Once it was all over, one tent was nearly blown completely over, a couple of umbrellas were ruined, and the sand all had a wet layer on top. Rain continued out over the ocean, and fierce lightning bolts could regularly be seen in the distance, touching down out at sea. The wind continued to blow hard for a while before things finally calmed down. At which point a group of us went to check out the nature trail not far from camp, while most of the rest of the campers had decided not to risk cooking on the grill in case it started to rain again, and they all headed to Ocean City to eat out.
Saturday night, I found myself in a much better mood, we sat around the fire, ate smores, drank beer, headed down to the beach to build a bonfire, and went nightswimming in our birthday suits with some bioluminescent plankton. Dark, cold waves splashed against us as we laughed under the starry skies. We warmed ourselves by the roaring fire and fell into a deep sleep back in the tent, for once sleeping past nine in the morning thanks to a sun shaded by cool cloudy skies in the morning.
And that's about it. We packed up, stopped for seafood just off the island, and made our way home. And now I just have a few more days of work before I take a solid 10 days in a row off. I love the summer.
Pictures, as usual, on Flickr.