It’s interesting how a place can change. Our experiences are an accumulation of circumstances. It makes me wonder if some of my bad experiences and avoidance of certain people and places are based on circumstance. Maybe that restaurant I swore to never go to again just had poor service because it was flu season and three people called in sick that day. Our trip to Sea Rim State Park for National Trails Day this weekend made me more inclined to give things a second chance. Timing is everything.
The first time I went to Sea Rim State Park, I went by myself and had a lovely day. I strolled through the marsh and ate my lunch on the beach. The park was still coming back from the destruction of Hurricane Ike. The debris was cleared but there were no bathrooms or picnic tables. In fact, I signed in at a self pay station and didn’t even see a park employee the entire day. There were very few people and plenty of wildlife. I just kept thinking how much my husband and son would love this place. If the two trips were reversed, I may not have gone back the second time and that would’ve been a mistake.
I brought my guys there this weekend because they missed the last beach trip and it was my last Saturday with my son before he goes to his dad’s for the summer. Don’t get me wrong, it was still fun (mostly because of such good company) but it was a very different experience. There were very few birds in the marsh but TONS of blue crabs this time. There were amenities like picnic tables, grills, and showers but the beach was almost completely covered in seaweed. It was so bad that there was only about 10-20 feet of sand. I’ve said before that this doesn’t bother me. Growing up on the Texas coast, I’m used to it. I actually like it. There are tiny shrimp and crab that live in the seaweed and shaking them out is one of my fondest childhood memories. I’ve never seen it this bad. It was so bad we didn’t even go in the water. It covered the beach and it wasn’t done coming in yet. It filled the first 10 or so yards of water. Unfortunately, in addition to the seaweed washing up there was a lot of trash washing up as well. I wanted to pick up as much as we could but we were not equipped for such an endeavor. In just flip-flops we sank down almost to our knees. The top layer was dry and crunchy and the bottom soggy and wet. Bleh! Also, my fear of a fatal bacterial infection prevented the impromptu clean up op.
What do you do at the beach if you can’t swim? Fly a kite, of course! T-Rex got some air time and made everyone just a little bit happier… after we realized the frame was upside down and fixed it. Not swimming gave us plenty of time to test out our new sand mat. I picked up a CGear Sand-Free Multimat from the REI Anniversary Sale. It’s a little uncomfortable on bare skin because of the hard texture but it does what it is supposed to do. It lets the sand fall down through the mat and magically not come back up. At 3.15 lbs it definitely won’t be coming with me on the AT but it’s worth it for a day at the beach.
We ditched the beach after a short while and set up one of the tents at camp with just the rainfly so we had some shade. We set up the sand mat with towels on top and the guys took naps interrupted by fat grey and orange mystery insects crawling everywhere. There were quite a few and they were extremely persistent. They looked like caterpillars with ant legs. I really like insects I’ve never seen before so it was pretty cool. Turns out I have seen them before just not in that stage. They were ladybug larvae! Hard to believe these turn into ladybugs:
After the guys woke up from their naps, we walked the short Gambusia Nature Trail, ate steaks while mosquitoes ate us, roasted some Starbursts and called it a night. Leaving in the morning, I felt bad for people who got overwhelmed by seaweed and mosquitoes and may never return. It really is a nice park. Timing is everything.