Assateague 2006

August 12, 2006 at 12:40 pm 4 comments

A little more than a week ago, Christina Geyer, Stacy McMahon, Jay and Jacqueline and I were first arriving on Assateague Island.  I was there for less than 24 hours, but packed a lot of activity in the time.  Here’s a recap:

Arrival Fanfare
Ponies were waiting for us in the parking lot when we arrived to the campsite.  One pony’s genitalia made it very very clear he was a male (and an aroused male at that).  Christina did not bat an eye:

“Look, he’s very excited to see you, Vicky!” she said.

It’s a statement we certainly would have uttered in high school.  Ah, to feel young again!

Our human companions were significantly less excited to see us.  Everyone was so tired and/or miserable that when I announced, “Hey everyone, this is my friend Christina!” the only acknowledgement that I had spoken was an abbreviated grunt from Wayne Howard.  🙂

Walk on Beach
Shortly after our arrival, Christina, Stacy and I went for a walk along the beach.  We were headed towards a black blob a couple with binoculars thought was a dead pony.  It turned out to be a log.  It was still a nice walk though and Christina spotted some dolphins in the ocean.

Afternoon in the Ocean
A number of us spent the afternoon in the ocean.  At one point, it was just me, Erin Jebo Cooper and Carolyn.  It reminded me of our water aerobic days!!!  When we were all three in Blacksburg we used to attend a class at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  (Fridays were sometimes followed by Marguerita Night at El Guadeloupes!)  We reminisceced briefly about our class….and our traumatic experience where two women trapped us in the sauna, making us hostages in that continual heat.  And what weapon did those ladies against us?  Nothing but their own naked obesity and a strategic placement in our line of sight.

Quick complaint– there were some idiots fishing right in the middle of the day when the ocean was filled with people.  At one point, their fishing line was bisecting our group.  We tugged and tugged and tugged on the line–but the fisherman was so oblivious to everything he didn’t even notice.  Jerk.

At one point I was trying to tell a story and the rising sea waters kept interrupting me.  I spurted and sputtered and coughed and gagged.  Finally I told Evan and Carolyn, “It’s hard to look your sexiest in the ocean.”  Just moments later I drilled that point home.  I dove under a wave and when I came back up, I was greeted by Carolyn’s shrill:

“EWWW! You have snot hanging from your nose!”

I had been wondering just how effective those spray on sunscreens are.  Shannon Diaz Katz was able to put that question to rest.  She developed a very interesting pattern of skin coloration.  There were a few white circles running down her arm, surrounded by tan and burn.  You could see exactly where she sprayed the sunscreen…. and exactly where the coverage was missed.

Shehab has the honor of having the most distinct tan line I’ve ever seen.  He has a typical farmer’s tan, but he must have worn the exact same style of shirt every day of his life.  When he lifted up his shirt sleeve, you can see a very rigid, strict borderline between pale flesh and a deep, enviable tan.  The division was so accurate and clear– an artist would need a ruler to recreate it on paper.

Dinner at Sneaky Pete’s
Around dusk, Shehab, Wayne, Shannon, Christian and I headed off the park to go eat at Sneaky Pete’s, a seafood restaurant right across the water from Ocean City.  Due to the hour and the crowd, our party was seperated in half and we got to eat on their dining facilities in an old boat.  We were baffled by the parking meters in each booth (turns out it is for a charity event) and Shehab wasn’t too pleased with the ongoing selection of Jimmy Buffet music.  Other than that, it was a pretty darn good environment for supper.

We tried an interesting shot while we were there.  It was hazelnut liquor and citron vodka.  It came with a lemon wedge and a packet of sugar.  Basically, you put the sugar on the lemon wedge and you bit into it and swished it around.  Then you drank the shot.  It tasted just like Chocolate Cake.  The ingredients didn’t sound like chocolate and with its sickly yellow color, it certainly did not look like chocolate– but sure enough it tasted like chocolate cake.  Weird.

I mentioned our party was seperated between two tables.  Shannon, Christian and Shehab were at one table and it was me and Wayne at the other.  I very much enjoyed visting and talking to Wayne.  Through the years, I used to see him at Carolyn/Clint parties, blacklight bowling, the occassional rollerblade on the Huckleberry Trail and a Virginia Tech away game in Philadelphia.  But I think this may have been the first time we really just sat and talked for an extended period of time.

Night Owls
By the time we got back to the island, it was already dark.  I had missed the sunset I had coveted all day, but our meal was well worth it.  Now, unlike the morning, when we arrived back at the campside everyone was abuzz with activity and a second wind.  The evening was filled with great conversations.  Most notably, Carolyn and I chatted with Ryan Somma for quite some time.  Another very enjoyable conversation. 

Birthday Bonfire
Sunday was Christian’s birthday, so at midnight we moved down to the beach for a bonfire!  Originally it was intended as a surprise, but it didn’t take long before Christian was well aware of the plan.  I’m not sure how the information leaked to him, but in the past I’ve found drunk people tend not to whisper as quietly as they think.  🙂  The bonfire was very nice.  Wayne tended to it and took on the ambitious task of burning the “gigalog”.  Some of us played with glow sticks.  A number of us got to see some shooting stars. 

There was one mishap, however.  A poor little crab ran into our fire and subsequently cooked himself.  The common interpretation is the crab was suicidal.  I’m not so sure.  I thought I saw the crab run towards the fire and stop.  “Wait a second, that’s hot!”  Then I saw the crab take a few waddles away from the heat until he was frightened by Doug’s tall stature and fled… right into the fire.  Regardless of the crab’s true mental state, I like what Angel has to say to the crab:

“Party foul, dude!”

Midnight Hike
Between 12 AM and 1 AM, a heard a small party discussing a night hike.  I was sold on the notion immediately.  So Clint, Heather Diaz, Gene and I headed out to the “Life in the Forest” trail.  Thanks to Heather and Gene’s headlamps (and not much thanks to a piddly glowstick) we took the trail to a deck that overlooked the marshlands and Sinepuxent Bay.  A near full moon hung in the sky above the water.  The scenery was spectacular.  Dark blue silhouettes of the pine trees and the marshgrass contrasted with the soft blue hues of the night sky and the water.  At some places, the water was reflecting the moonlight so vibrantly, it looked like snow.  I don’t think pictures would ever do it justice.

Very peaceful, very moving.

We got attacked by some bugs, but it was well, well, well worth it.

Night Swim
When we returned to the bonfire, I heard of another activity of great interest to me– swimming in the ocean!  A number of years ago, Aaron Evans, Ryan Schutt, Stacy and I went swimming at Ocean City at 3 AM.  I remember bobbing with the tides admiring all the lights on the shore.  I remember a fun experience.  Stacy might have different recollections since he cut his head!

Anyway, Shehab and I headed into the ocean, I guess around 2ish?  Doug quickly joined us and later Ryan Somma came in as well.  Although Assateague does not sport all the lights Ocean City does, our adventure was just as beautiful.  Away from the bonfire, the stars were even brighter!  The distinct band of the Milky Way bisecting the sky could not be missed.  Then you had the brightness of the moon and of course the intermittent shooting stars.  I could just stare at that sky and feel free and happy.

Then Doug noticed something!  There was some plankton in the ocean that was reacting to our movement.  Anytime we moved, little packets would flash green.  So as we swam or walked or waved our arms under the water, little trails of green sparkles would follow us.  They even reacted to someone blowing bubbles (that was Shehab’s discovery).

So above us, we had the great lights of the formidable universe and all around us, we had the humble lights of one of nature’s smallest creatures.  We were surrounded by great visuals.  It felt very cinematic.  Magical almost.

The End
The moment was less than magical a little later when I was sleeping in a tent with wet clothes and no sleeping bag.  Luckily, sweat pants and my Virginia Tech hoodie did not let me down.  I slept four hours before waking up at 7 AM and starting my long, somber journey home.

Other Recaps and Pictures
My Pictures

Clint’s Pictures

Carolyn’s Recap

Christina’s Recap

Angel’s Pictures

Ian’s Pictures

Christian’s Pictures

Angel’s Recap

Stacy’s Pictures

Entry filed under: Assateague Island, Carolyn L, Christian D, Christina G, Clint L, Erin C, Evan, Jay, Ryan Schutt, Ryan Somma, Shannon Katz Diaz, Shehab Moustafa, Stacy McMahon, Uncategorized, Wayne Howard.

Etymology of Vicky’s Vocabulary Camp Alta Mons and Stiles Falls

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  August 14, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Hey, I have an Assateague tag on my FlickR too!!

    And yes, drunk people don’t whisper too quietly, DARREN.

    The crab was definitley suicidal. It wasn’t just Doug that caused him to go into the fire. Before that happened, he had already approached the fire once, closer & closer, and then someone got him to walk away. Then, a second time, he ran ALL THE WAY THROUGH the fire to the other side. That still wasn’t enough, and he had to go towards the fire a THIRD time when Doug scared him!

    And no, pictures did not do any justice for the night hike. The ones I took had a white circle for the moon, and blackness for everything else. I could practically have made it using MSPaint.exe. I still think it would have been fun to do the night hike completely in the dark!! Eyes would have adjusted. Eventually. Falling hilarity would ensue. Hopefully no injuries. 🙂

    Carolyn needs to hurry up and release HER writeup.

  • 2. tgaw  |  August 14, 2006 at 9:29 am

    “Falling hilarity would ensue.”

    Hahaha– that reminds me of one of the Elizabeth Furnace trips where both Stacy and I took a fall courtesy of a nasty ditch.

    I fell first. Stacy saw me spread eagled on the gravel and thinking I was just being my clumsy self, he starting pointing at me and laughing.

    Then he hit the same hole and fell just as hard (breaking his flashlight)!

    Despite my scrapes and bruises, I find falling hilarity to be fun.

    I agree— Carolyn needs to hurry up and release her writeup!

  • 3. tgaw  |  August 17, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    I edited the post to add links to Carolyn’s Blog Entry on Assateague ( and Clint’s Collection of Assateague pictures (

  • 4. CAMPING: Assateague Island Beach Camping « Clint’s blog  |  August 25, 2006 at 11:28 am

    […] Vicky’s blog post about the trip: […]


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