This weekend my husband and I went to the beach with our friend Danielle. While we’re not exactly beach/ ocean people, Danielle is actually a mermaid, born in a human body. Way back in high school we used to hit the beach for a whole weekend and she would spend all day on the beach while I spent all day in the hotel room, reading a book (and maybe recuperating from the night before) away from the awful burny sun.
So many brightly colored umbrellas!
We lathered on the sunscreen, gathered up some books, snacks, chairs, etc. (lots of etc.) and hit the road. We got to Island Beach State Park around noon. The beach wasn’t super crowded and the weather was kind of perfect. Not too hot, not too sunny, a little windy. I put on more sunscreen. The water was kind of cold and WAY saltier than I remember. I mean, I know it’s the ocean, and it’s salt water but ICK. We got there around low tide and there was a huge sandbar, so we walked out really far and floated around on the waves for a while. There was a sign that said that water conditions were slightly dangerous – the tide was really strong. Walking back to the beach, it was seriously pulling you backwards. Like, you could take a few steps and not move forward at all. Crazy! We put on more sunscreen. We enjoyed some time in the shade of our umbrellas reading books : I chose the first of the Anita Blake vampire hunter series and Danielle had the first of the Dresden Files series. Gary… just stared into the distance and enjoyed the sound of the ocean. I put on more sunscreen. We took a walk, then came back and I laid in the full sun on the beach blanket. I put on more sunscreen. Then we packed everything up and I was impressed and awed by the trust we put in other people at the beach – we walk away from chairs, leaving our phones, wallets, and car keys hidden in our bags yet defenseless, and still, everyone respects everyone else’s beach space. I folded our Doctor Who towels, grateful for the unwritten code of the beach. Then I put on more sunscreen.
We ate dinner at the Berkeley Fish Market just outside the park. They ordered oysters & clams and calamari and I watched them eat in horror, wondering how on earth they could look at those things they scraped out of their shells and STILL put them in their mouths. I ate shrimp stuffed with crabmeat- the shrimp was pretty good, a little tough, and the crabmeat was bland. I’ve had better. I will always measure crabmeat against the crab cakes I had in Maryland, and all other crabmeat will ALWAYS fall short.
This whole beach thing was actually my idea, although I’m not really a beach / ocean / excessive sun person. I remembered how much fun we used to have when I was younger when I had fun doing stuff that wasn’t my thing because it meant hanging out with good friends. Sometimes it’s not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re with.
Last night my husband and I watched a movie called “Mile, Mile and a Half” about a group of people hiking the John Muir Trail in CA. They take off for like, a month, carrying all their provisions, sleeping in tents, crossing rivers, stomping through snow, and it looks super fun and rewarding, but also, like, really physically difficult. My husband and I talked about how this would be something we would be interested in, but on a much smaller scale! Since we have the Appalachian Trail right here, we would probably be able to find some easier sections to do a one or two night hike. Has anyone ever done a hike like this? I’d like to pick your brain.