Monday, May 28, 2012

It was a hot, rowdy, fun, long Memorial Day weekend with cousins Lucy and Eric, sweetened by knowing they'll soon be moving nearby. We kicked things off with sprinkler fun, reading on the couch and of course, the treehouse (with some friends):

 Then jumping in a friend's pool:

 Sidewalk chalk fish by Eric and his Aunt Sarah:
 Then today we went splashing in a creek at Patapsco State Park, where all the kids got soaked and we spotted no fewer than five species of snake*, one of which Eric caught.

And finally, dress up. Awesome weekend!

*Ring-necked snake, Northern Water snake and Eastern garter snake, top to bottom. Queensnake and Ribbon snake not shown.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


We spent Wednesday and Thursday at Assateague National Seashore, which is a barrier island off of the Maryland and Virginia coasts, about 40 miles long and half a mile wide, at most. Endless beach, wild horses (really) and... a LOT of wind. Actually, somewhat too much wind. Anyway, here are some of the wild horses in the distance, picturesquely grazing on the bay side of the island:

 And some walking along the road... this is less romantic (looks more like a parade than wildlife), but a closer view.

Alex & Ben's favorite part was playing in the surf.

There was some other wildlife besides the horses. One of the biggest snakes I've seen in the US, a 5-6 long black rat snake, was at the campground bathroom one evening. Shortly after this photo it went into the bathroom. Ack.

 This is a Sika deer. We didn't know about them ahead of time, so when we saw it we were confused: "Why does that deer look so weird, and have a collar?" Sika deer are from Eurasia and were introduced for sport on the island a long time ago; there's still a hunting season on them.

Our tent was just over the dune from the main beach. The one-minute walk to the beach was good, but the beach-level winds weren't. Still, it meant we could dig massive holes right in front of the tent.

And sunset is a good time for walking on top of the dunes, collecting shells. You're allowed one gallon per person, in case you were wondering.

There are three nice little loop trails there, half a mile long or so-- one in the marsh, one in the forest, and one in the dunes. The one in the dunes has a nice scrubby little oak for climbing on.

Overall, it's an interesting place, and the amount of beach per person is higher than nearly anywhere. Finding the right time of year seems to be tricky, though; by the time the ocean is warm enough to really swim in, the bugs have descended (they are apparently intolerable in the summer. Even the ponies stand on the beach to avoid them). We've heard fall is nice. Anyway, it was great to get away at the end of the semester. I'm not really a beach person, but there's something primally relaxing about the ocean, and it was easy to forget about the rest of life's events and concerns and just be where we were. Just what a vacation should be.