Posted in Assateague Island, Beach, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Winter, Wonder

Assateague Island hike

On Assateague Island.

Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.

~ Eckhart Tolle

A calm sea.

Sunday, a little over a week ago, M and I went out to Assateague Island National Seashore to enjoy the beach and do a little hiking.  We also renewed our OSV (Over Sand Vehicle) pass so that we could drive out on the beach to make our way down to some of the backcountry hiking areas.

The sign pointing to Pine Tree Campsite.

Maybe it’s our age and forgetfulness, or maybe it’s that once you get out on the sand, everything kind of looks alike, but M and I ended up hiking an area that we’ve hiked before.  It took us a little while to realize it.  The Pine Tree campsite, it turns out, is the same area where we found the hunting lodge.  (You can see the lodge in this post:  Back to the hunting lodge.)  We were confused the first time around, too, because we thought we were at the Tingles Island site.  Turns out we were not.  Either they’ve added new signage or we missed it the first time around.

The road to the hunting lodge and the campsite. Eventually you come to a fork where you have to decide between the lodge or the campsite. Since we went to the lodge the first time we hiked this area, we decided on the campsite.

As you can tell from the images, it was a gorgeous day.  Mostly sunny, relatively warm (upper 50’s), and calm.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the ocean as calm as it was that day.  The waves were few, small, and breaking right at the shore.

Where things twist and turn.

The campsite is on the bay side of the island.  It was cooler over that way than it was on the beach.  That’s unusual.  The reason it was cooler is because there were still patches of ice and snow here and there.

Not quite thawed.

Even with ice at the edges of the water, the fish were swimming and the frogs were jumping as we walked by.

Reflections.

Today is not as nice a day as it was on the Sunday we went to Assateague.  It’s raining, quite heavily at times, and somewhat warm (around 50°F).  I’ve been sitting here staring out the window for a while, watching the rain change from light to heavy and back to light again.  A wedge of tundra swans just flew by, maybe twelve of them in the group.  A group of swans in flight is called a wedge, probably because of the chevron shape.  On the ground, and only on the ground, they can be called a bank of swans.  Other names include a bevy, a flight, a game, or a herd.

Isn’t it fascinating the way we name things?  I’ve noticed that when I don’t have a name or a label for what I’m looking at, I pay more attention.  Maybe that’s because I want to look it up later and find the label or the name.  Or maybe it’s because without labels and names to interfere, it’s easier to pay more attention to what is rather than what I think it is.  Sometimes I never learn the names of things, usually flowers or other plants that I’m unable to identify, and those things are just as beautiful, if not more so, without their labels.

Wild horses way off in the distance.

Labels bias our perceptions, thinking, and behavior. A label or story can either separate us from, or connect us to, nature. For our health and happiness, we must critically evaluate our labels and stories by their effects.

~ Michael J. Cohen, Reconnecting with Nature:  Finding Wellness Through Rebuilding Your Bond with the Earth (and no, not THAT Michael Cohen)

I was fascinated with this tree and took a lot of photos of it.

Our local Keep America Beautiful affiliate core team met this morning.  Since I mentioned labels, I really should come up with a better label for our affiliate.  I have not used the name we’ve given it because it identifies where I live.  Maybe I’ll call it Keep Our County Beautiful (KOCB).  It would save me some typing if I could use the initials.

On the way to the campsite.

I had no idea until we started this group how much is involved in making a group official.  We had to come up with a Mission Statement (which, by the way, is beautiful and I am grateful to the team member who came up with it; we didn’t need to change a word).  We are working on the Bylaws now, and will have to elect officers.  Someone needs to find a lawyer willing to help us (pro bono) with the bylaws and our paperwork to incorporate as a nonprofit.  Those are bigger hurdles than you might think, especially since we are a group of people who have never had to do this sort of thing before.  Once that’s done, Keep America Beautiful has given us a lot of tasks to complete including a litter survey.  The litter survey, they say, is the most onerous but frankly, driving around scoring how bad (or not bad) the litter is in certain areas is a lot more straightforward to me than Mission Statements, Bylaws, and incorporating as a nonprofit organization.  I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

Towards the bay.

We had an almost full house for our meeting today, including a new person.  It was heartening to see so many people interested in participating.  We started out fairly small (just me and M).  We’re up to about 10 or 11 people now, I think.  One or two people were unable to make it for this meeting.  We don’t need more than 10 or 11 people for the core team (which will become The Board with Officers; it’s all so official!).  The other wonderful thing is that this is bipartisan.  Not that it matters because we are a firmly apolitical group, and have to be in terms of engaging in political activity — it is illegal for nonprofits to engage in that sort of thing.  (Yes, I know.  It doesn’t stop some groups from doing it anyhow.  I’m looking at you, churches.)  Still, it’s been nice to talk with people on the so-called other side and find that we’re not really all that different in terms of what we want in life.

Between the marsh and the woods.

I think that’s about it from me on this rainy Tuesday.  It is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to see the sunset tonight.  If that changes, I’ll meet you on the dock.  Sunset is scheduled for 5:39 PM.  I’ll be there early so I can sit out there for a while and just enjoy the view.  You’re welcome to come early, too.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A lovely path.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,016) Coming together with other people in common cause and discovering that our differences are not as great as advertised.  The media could stand to learn a thing or two about that.  1,017) More community, less social media.  1,018) A lovely lunch at a small and local seafood place.  Nothing fancy.  Just great food.  1,019) White chocolate truffles.  1,020) Warm, waterproof boots made for walking.

One of the things I love about Assateague is the way the weather shapes the trees, shrubs, and the landscape in general.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

25 thoughts on “Assateague Island hike

  1. Always a beautiful walk you take us on, Robin.
    I can understand your fascination with that tree. I think I would have been guilty of photographing it a few or more times!
    Kudos on your organisation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I love it so much during the winter months, Frank. Once the weather warms up, people are out there in droves. That’s good for the local economy, but it is nice to be able to explore when it’s too cold for others to be out there. 🙂

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  2. Looks like a wonderful hike. I chuckled over your not realizing where you were because I have no sense of direction. Beautiful photos–as always, Robin. It’s been nasty here today–cold rain. Good luck with your group!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 My sense of direction isn’t great, either. I’m good with a map, usually, but need the big picture for that and good signage. I keep wondering when they’re going to decide to stop making paper maps. Never, I hope. GPS is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t always work (as we learned the hard way up in Maine where there was no cell coverage).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely pictures, interesting ideas. On a very prosaic note, I would love to know about the warm boots you enjoy – I am having a terrible time finding winter boots I can stand.

    ceci

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the boots info; most helpful. I live close to an LL Bean store with very helpful shoe experts so perhaps they will know about current equivalents to Storm Chasers (and what an evocative name!).

        ceci

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara. 🙂 We sent out a press release after we got the grant to set up the group. Maryland has clean up grants available every so often, and my husband happened to see a notice about it and thought, “Why not?” We are such a poor county that he figured they might want to give us a hand. Anyhow. I set up the Facebook page and we let them know about that in the press release. We also know a few locals from our involvement in other things so they have been spreading the word, too. We made sure to notify the Garden Club (since beautification is part of the Keep America Beautiful mission). I’m getting to know people all over the county since we formed this group, including folks who work for the county (Roads Department, Parks & Rec, etc.).

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Otto. I apologize for taking so long to answer your question. Yes, it can be cold this time of year, but we also get the occasional warm and sunny days. The landscape on Assateague Island is very fascinating and varied (wetlands, forests, beaches).

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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