Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our first beach trip.

   I think we did it!  We ended our week on a pretty positive note.  I was so busy on Thursday getting everything all set for the weekend so that we could take a trip to the ocean on Friday.  A homeschool family that we rarely get to see was coming up near our end of the state and we were all excited to meet up with them and spend time together.  It wasn't easy and we had a crazy morning trying to get packed up and cleaned up and ready to go but it was worth it!  We had a wonderful day Friday. 
   We headed to Bluff Point State Park and settled back with our book on CD for a long car ride.  The boys were in good spirits and the sun ended up making an appearance, even though the forecast had called for mostly cloudy skies with chances of rain and thunderstorms.  We had never been to Bluff Point and were not sure what we would find; other than the ocean! 
   I had no idea it was almost an hour walk out to the bluff and the beach that abuts the bluff or else we probably would have packed even less than we did.  We brought our lunches (in a backpack cooler), a blanket to sit on, three towels for the boys, a few pails, a shovel and a fishing net.  After walking for 20 min. the boys were ready to mutiny and tried to pass off their load onto me.  I explained that we were all tired and hot but we SHOULD be there soon.  I felt bad that they were miserable but I reminded them that we always have a long walk from the car to the beach.  If we weren't so focused on meeting our friends and seeing the beach we would have really enjoyed a leisurely stroll up to the bluff.  We had the woods on one side of us and a marsh on the other.  We did enjoy watching the planes land and take off from a small nearby airport.  We saw a few unusual trees and noticed some waterfowl too.  But, we were so happy to finally see the sun tent of our friends and the beach. 
    Bluff point does not have nice sandy beaches, but there is a beach made up of small stones and shells.  It was difficult to walk on and kind of hurt our feet but we were determined to have fun-- and we did!  The boys had a great time digging holes in the beach, searching for shells, catching crabs in our buckets, walking on the rocks, and visiting with their friends.  They played all sorts of imaginary games with one another and enjoyed being out in the fresh air and sunshine.

hunting for critters in the rocks

I've got to find this book for us!  I loved looking through it

Ian found so many tiny crabs!

One of the crabs

Alec and Evan spent most of the day talking.

Alec decided to explore the rocks; but would not step one foot in the ocean

catching seaweed

Seagulls abound!

It was almost hypnotic to watch the seaweed moving in the water

We found a large piece of driftwood and it became a pirate's plank,
a surfboard, and a few other things by the end of the day

Tossing the football; Ian learned a few new techniques for throwing it more accurately

We saw lots of planes overhead all day and compared them to one another

Digging holes; trying to make a damn at the beach

one of the shells we found; pretty neat to see inside the whole thing

They reached groundwater and we observed all the layers of sediment on the beach

Lots of different colors

They kept digging deeper and tried to get the water out of it using a bucket

Ian shows me a crab, close up

Alec loved that the marsh had a savannah look to it

The airport

   We were all dreading the walk back to the car.  Knowing how long it was did not make it any easier, in fact, I think it made it harder.  The boys complained a bit but Alec complained a lot and really struggled to carry to bucket of shells and rocks.  He had picked  a few really large rocks to bring home and study and I had tried to warn him that they were going to get really heavy to carry all the way to the car.  I encouraged him to empty them out of the bucket but he insisted on keeping them.  Unfortunately, he walked slower and slower and complained his arms hurt, his ankle hurt and his knee hurt.  I felt bad but I didn't want to slow down and keep waiting either. 
    We did stop and watch a few pileated woodpeckers (or what we assumed were pileated woodpeckers since we did see black and white feathers and a red head with a large beak though Alec insisted the birds just weren't big enough).  There were three of them and they kept flying from tree to tree; never stopping long enough or close enough for me to take a picture of them.  After getting home and looking up lots of photos of woodpeckers I'm really not sure what we saw but I think it was a red-bellied woodpecker.   Alec did perk up at the sight of the bird but soon was back to complaining.  It was a looooong walk back to the car and I was ready to get home and drop the boys off for the night with their grandparents and spend some time without them.  I love them dearly but even on a good day I often think a break sounds like heaven.  I tried to keep our focus on the fun we had AT the beach and ignore the complaining during the walks & the fact that Alec left his water bottle on the beach and did not realize it until we were back at the car and driving home (to which I think I replied in a not so understanding manner "oh well, I hope someone else enjoys it because I'm NOT walking back for a water bottle!").  I told the boys we'd try this beach again and plan better next time.  We'd arrive earlier so we could enjoy our walk, bring just the blanket, some light snacks and drinks and a pail or two and wear comfortable sneakers or water shoes that could get wet and still protect our feet from the shells and rocks.   All in all I think the aggravations of the day were worth it and it's a day that they'll look back on and remember having fun with their friends at a "new beach." 


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