Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the distance they planned to go in twice the time it should take. ~Author Unknown
The plan is a “go” for my pre-trip trip to Assateague Island National Seashore. The picture above was taken about 4 years ago as the sun set on the bay side of our back country campsite after a long day of navigating a group of kayaks around disorienting marshes and sporadic islands. This weekend we will return to the Assateague back country, this time camping on the beach side. Instead of kayaking, we’ll be huffing it on foot a few miles down the beach carrying everything (including water) in and then back out, leaving no trace. I’ll be looking to get some sunrise images, this time over the beach.
Assateague is well-known for its wild pony population that is not shy around people in the least. Ponies often roam from camp to camp, like a train conductor taking tickets, and rifle through your things looking for food. While they are a sight to see, they can also be a pain in the ass. There’s not a whole lot you can to if they decide to pay you a visit, despite their smaller size, they are still very powerful and have been known to stamp and charge. Like any wild animal, it’s best to give them their space and prevent the situation by securely storing your food.
Back country camping, if you’re up to it, is always the better choice for me. It’s more remote, less chance of rednecks (they usually don’t like to haul their beer on foot for miles), and the environment is (usually) less disturbed. Typically you find like-minded people in the back country. People who are there to relax, unwind, and de-stress themselves.
Assateague also allows a limited number of people to drive on the beach. There is a ridiculous fee for an annual OSV (over sand vehicle) permit ranging from $90-$115 – and that doesn’t even guarantee that you get on the beach as it is first come first serve up to a low maximum number of people per day. My last trip the OSV folks were lined up long before the gate opened to reserve their spot for the day. While it is disappointing for those like myself who would love to drive down the beach, it is easily understandable and the method works to keep the park from being destroyed by everyone and their brother flying around like it was their personal sandbox. I can accept this, and in fact prefer it that way.
The weather may not cooperate, as it’s looking like there’s a chance we’ll be rained on. Rain or shine, I’m going to the beach and setting up a tent. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
Just inside the 2 week mark now. Getting closer!