Assateague Island National Shoreline
I took a long-needed few days off of work to make a solo camping trip to Assateague Island National Shoreline.
Arriving was easy, and I was quite surprised to see a number of wild horses straight away. A few of them were in the campground area I was staying in for the first night, blocking access to the vault toilets.
Late Afternoon Hiking
After getting my bearings and a park map I set out to do a few hikes:
Since I was only going to be in the first campsite for one night and it wasn’t much to write home about, I opted to spend the night the my sleeping platform I built for my car. I awoke the next morning to strange sounds and a giant face; a group of wild horses were passing immediately next to my car through the parking lot to the beach. They didn’t seem to notice me so I laid there still, just watching them pass by three feet from my face.
Then it was time grab my chair, a backpack of supplies, and walk down to the beach for breakfast.
Chincoteague: Attempt One
After breakfast I took about an hour’s drive south into Virginia to check out Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the southern part of Assateague Island (there is no official road on the island itself connecting north and south). As I got to the NASA facility just before Chincoteague Island, I saw signs for emergency workers and the road was closed. A fatal accident had occurred that morning and had shut down the only road on or off the island for an estimated 5 hours.
I checked Google Maps to see if there were any other parks or refuges in the area to see while I was there. Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge – I was in luck. Little did I know until after trying to get through the gates that it was also a secure government facility. The guard was quite friendly but I was promptly escorted off the premises and sent back on my way. I felt like Leonard and Sheldon in The Skywalker Incursion .
On my drive back I passed Pokomoke State Park and stopped to explore. They had one small trail which ended up being my only hike of the day:
Rest & Brewery Sampling
After getting back to Assateague from my excursions it was time to check into my next campsite and take a rest. My site for the next two nights is a walk-in only and right on the beach, and can see the bay on the other side meaning incredible views at the start and end of every day. It was fantastic.
Gourmet Camp Dinner
I didn’t know how this would work but it seemed like a simple enough idea to try: vegetarian tacos. Sautée onions, garlic, bell pepper with some taco seasoning mix, throw on some corn and beans to warm them, the put them in a flour tortilla with fresh tomato and lettuce. This will absolutely be a camping staple for me moving forward.
The sounds of the ocean were loud so I didn’t sleep as well as normal but this did mean I was awake to get out and watch the sun rise which was well worth it. I also fit in a Short Morning Walk before breakfast:
Now that I have a plan and I’ve run it once I was really looking forward to another breakfast ceremony. Part of my setup was making sure I hadhigh quality locally roasted beans (coconut seemed appropriate for a beach trip) and a Manual Burr Grinder for the freshest coffee possible. Can I enjoy a cup of instant coffee while camping? Definitely. But there’s no doubt this is better, and I’m really digging the therapeutic process of making it.
Chincoteague: Attempt Two
I made it all the way through today. Chincoteague is a cute little vacation town. You drive through and enter the park on the other far side of town. After getting my bearings and a map I started with a simple beach walk and then did a few short trails:
More Wild Horses
Being my last night here and the evening colors looking incredible, after returning back to my campsite and eating some food I opted to go out for one last set of hikes to watch the sunset.
On my way, I was able to experience a few more wild horse sightings. While I saw numerous wild horses ever day it was nice to meet this one so close (side of the road, from my car, still with a zoom lens – I was safe!) on my way to the trails.
One Last Stop
I made one last stop for another peak at the sunset from ‘Old Ferry Landing’, then headed back to my site for some nighttime star viewing.
Time to pack up and head home, but not before one last morning coffee routine. I have a feeling that when I go home I may continue using the hand crank grinder and and have a ‘slow morning’ every day.