No Fear: My Camping Adventure to Assateague Island – Part I

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Camp set-up night

I went tent camping alone in Assateague Island National Seashore for two nights.  My goals were to photograph the full moon as it came up over the horizon, and to photograph the ponies in their natural environment (one of my favorite past times), and not while they are begging or stealing food from obliging campers or park visitors.  In fact, I don’t even bother to photograph the ponies in the campgrounds, or around crowds of people.   I love watching them in their natural environment away from people.   People, while meaning well, are toxic to these beautiful animals.  In spite of all of the warnings to keep your distance, and not to touch or feed these wild ponies, people still behave stupidly and feed them food that is not part of their natural diets, and this causes them to become a nuisance to people and campers.  It is not their fault.  Just know, that nuisance ponies are disposed of, as in euthanized, and people are always to blameDSC_7600LR
Love seeing the seagulls sitting on all three posts…

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I love this self-portrait because you can see the shadow of my camera and tripod which was totally unplanned.

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I love this older couple walking on the beach holding hands. 🙂  Lesson:  You are never too old to hold hands.

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Alas, I did not accomplish either one of my photography goals because unfortunately, Mother Nature and the horses do not operate on my schedule.  However, I still had an amazing adventure.  What I didn’t realize is how much work it is for one person to set up an entire camp.  I camped for two nights; however, all the stuff I brought would be needed whether I camped for two nights or ten nights.  I also reserved a site at a campground that was a “hike in” facility – your car is left in the parking lot and you haul everything you need to your campsite.   There was a nice boardwalk going through the middle of the campground, and then you walked through the sand to your site.  My camp site was about 65-70 steps from the boardwalk, and hauling all of the gear from the car and up the boardwalk through the sand was quite a workout.  Live and learn.  I picked this site because it was ocean front, but you couldn’t see the ocean because a big sand dune was in the way, but you could certainly hear the ocean.

Thankfully, I brought a luggage cart and was able to put most of my stuff on the cart and wheel it to the end of the boardwalk and then carry my camping equipment through the sand to my camp site.

I was exhausted after I set up camp the first night.  I went to photograph the full moon only to realize that there were clouds obscuring the rising of the moon.   It rose beyond the clouds later, taunting me all the while.  I was in such a rush to cook my tinfoil dinner (which I made at home before I left), and to shower in a cold water shower.  (That’s the only shower facilities available in the Assateague National Seashore – cold water showers).  I am a freak – I have to shower/bathe every day, especially when I am hot and sticky, cold water is no problem.  I took a bath every single day in the 50 degree Colorado River on my rafting trip last year while meandering through the Grand Canyon.  I have heard a rumor that the Assateague State Park camping facilities have hot showers.

My tinfoil dinner was delicious.  It is so simple.  Uncooked ground beef or turkey in the bottom of heavy duty tin foil, slice potatoes and place them on top.  Layer with butter and salt and pepper (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning).  I also added a sliced onion, garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Cook for about an hour on a portable gas grill., or on a grate over a camp fire.  (Check for doneness in about 30 minutes and go from there as far as cooking time).  I made two dinners, one for each night, and cooked mine on my gas grill.

I didn’t sleep too well on night one, I had a cot and sleeping bag, and an air mattress (which I didn’t inflate the first night, I definitely rectified that for night two).

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