I'm a national park addict. I have yet to be disappointed with one. Each time I go, I breathe in the beauty of my surroundings and become overwhelmed with the landscape. Yosemite, Zion's, Crater Lake, Glacier, and so on, all helped me become obsessed. Upon moving to the east, I was excited to find out what the Dept. of Interior had to offer on the other side of the country. Did you know that the national mall is a National Park? Ya. It's like one of 100's within a days trip of our house. Luckily, the locals have sifted all the possibilities down to a couple favorites, Shenandoah and Assateague Island.
We visited Shenandoah last fall--which was STUNNING--and we've been meaning to go to Assateague for a long while. SO, after realizing it was a holiday weekend (we realized it last Friday), Mark took an extra day off work, and we headed out ON labor day for the island to spend the night--thereby avoiding traffic and crowds (yes. we are brilliant). Originally we were going to hotel it, but we decided to save a bit and brave camping with Jackson.
Wouldn't you know, the kid loves the outdoors. Similar to our trip to Utah, he behaved much better on the trip than he does at home. Minus any time he was awake and strapped into his carseat.
Assateague is known for the wild horses that roam around the island. They have slightly shorter legs than domesticated ones, but they look pretty much like the horses we ride in AZ, they just aren't confined by fences. They remind me of the buffalo in Yellowstone. So calm looking, yet dangerous, and really good at stopping traffic.
The Island is bordered by the Atlantic and the Chincoteague Bay. Though the island was much different than I expected (a lot smaller, and less forested), it lived up to its national park name. It has beautiful marshes (with way too many mosquitoes) on one side,
and the beach on the other. Both of which are easy to breathe in deeply, and become overwhelmed by beauty.
This was Jackson's first trip to the beach. I know this next photo op is a great shot of my rear end, but it's supposed to be of Jackson touching the water for the first time. Will we ever get tired of these firsts? Despite getting in our swimsuits, this is about as wet as any of us got. It wasn't too cold, but having a baby certainly merits wussieness.
Just by chance, our landlord dropped off this little shade tent last Friday. SO lucky! It worked so well at the beach....
we decided to have Jackson sleep in it during the night! Our super awesome friends let us borrow their 2 man tent, and since the weather was so good, we decided we didn't need to try and squish all together. We'd just let Jackson sleep right next to us--in his own little room.
Despite keeping me up with his active legs and a few noisy moans, he slept very well and we slept well enough.
We came back with lovely memories of horses, snakes, mosquitoes, no traffic, and INCREDIBLE beauty. Not sure if I completely agree with Ken Burns on it being America's Best Idea, but the National Parks certainly remain high on my priority list.
(My retirement goals consist of learning sign language (for the heck of it), and dragging Mark around the country to see the rest of the National Parks I haven't visited. Maybe we'll even do it in a Winnebago. Ah isn't it fun to dream?) :)