Friday, October 7, 2011

Greetings, Ponies! (Assateague Island National Seashore)

Sept. 27, 2011 - The girls and I crawled out of the trailer at the crack of dawn and headed straight to the local coffee shop for a buzz-buzz for me, rest stop for them before I drove us all to the ferry. By the time we'd made the 10-minute drive, the girls were already fast asleep in the back seat.

The ferry ride was comfortable and convenient. While the girls slept, I (finally) found a working wi-fi, downloaded the camera, sent out the last group of blog posts and charged a variety of batteries. Eighty minutes later, we were in Delaware and the sun was burning through the morning fog.

We swung in to a Birkenstock store to (finally) replace my haggard old pair with its broken cork and stretched leather. I'd really wanted to replace them before we hit Florida (and a lot more walking), but hadn't found any Birky stories along our route. Shoppers can imagine my excitement at spotting this local shop directly along our path!

New shoes in hand, we continued south through Delaware into Maryland where we took the northern entrance to Assateague Island and Assateague National Seashore. At the visitors center, I put the girls to work on another junior ranger program, which caused us to really check out the exhibits and watch the film before rushing out to the island in search of the ponies of "Misty of Chincoteague" fame.

On the drive through the state park which dominates the northern tip of the island, we saw several of the ponies along the road, but once we were in the national park, the ponies were well hidden in the marshes and forests. V was particularly thrilled with our campsite which backed right up to the short dunes that divide the Atlantic side of the island from the wooded bay side. She loves to camp at the beach, and I'm not sure there's better beach camping than the paved dune-access sites here.

The girls and I played Warrior Clan Kitties in the dunes for awhile and tested the ocean (MUCH warmer than our water at home, but not quite Kauai-like) before we met some of the neighbors and I returned to our site to settle in. Later, as the girls and I sat at the table sorting shells and rocks and discussing our dinner options, the neighbors walked over with a plate of sausages, buns and corn on the cob! What a camp greeting! They followed up later with creamsicle ice cream bars (aka 50/50 bars). I felt compelled to offer a gift of thanks, so the girls and I made peach cobbler which was, as always, very well received.

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