This past weekend was fourth of July weekend. Usually, this is the day where I typically drink too much and get rowdy with fireworks, but this year I wanted to get out-of-town and chill out on a vacated beach with a select group of people. I had also seen a documentary at the University of Texas at Austin a few months ago on the National Parks of Texas, where they showed a segment on the National Seashore off the Gulf of Mexico, it looked amazing and thus the seed of camping desire settled into my brain and finally sprouted into action.
Our trip started Friday evening, in Adam’s blue Subaru, where Adam, Ian, and myself chatted for the 3.5 hour drive to the shore while snacking on delicious cherries. When we hit the beach, it was dark, the ocean could not be seen, but only heard as we drove alongside the wet sand to find a vacant spot to set up our camping headquarters. We sheltered about 6 miles down from when the pavement ended in the National Park. The wind coming from the ocean was powerful and made it less easy to pitch a tent but, it also provided a cool atmosphere which I was appreciative of none the less. Adam and I slept almost immediately to the soothing sounds of beach breezes and crashing waves. There was also a starry milky sky peering at us through the mesh of the tent ceiling and a warm feeling of having each other near as we fell into a dreamy slumber.
Waking up on the beach is something I suggest everyone experience. More often than not, beach visitors will stay in hotels blocks from the beach, having to walk to and from every trip, or even drive. Yet, waking on the beach skips all those steps of getting ready, eating a little breakfast, prepping a cooler, and packing a beach bag. Not to mention all the minutes you spend looking at your phone applications and waiting on others to get ready. On the beach, you wake when the sun does, and it gives you a feeling like you have been on the sand for years. Time becomes the sun’s position in the sky as it rises over the ocean before setting behind the dunes and your shadow is the dial. The lives you connect with are the ones that are around you, right there right then, whether it be with human or critter companions. Nothing else seems to exist.
Adam and I had awoken possibly about 8:00 am, when the sun was still weak but deceptively bright. Ian was walking behind the dunes near camp exploring the lit environment around us. We went at a sea snails pace, taking our time cooking and eating breakfast tacos before jumping into the refreshing sea. We spent hours going back and forth, taking naps in between, and drinking cold beers before and after. It was peaceful, quiet, and again, incredibly timeless. As if we were on the set of Castaway, but with plenty of resources and conversations. However, we didn’t chat consistently. There were moments of consensual silence between the three of us, as if we all heard and agreed to listen to the same particular ocean wave flowing through and onto the fine sand.
(Photo taken by Colter of Ian jumping around the sand dunes)
Saturday afternoon, after a long daze of swimming and laying, a caravan of friend’s of friends spotted us on the beach to join our small encampment. Two nice guys named Mark and Colter. It wasn’t too long after them that another car of ladies arrived to join us as well. Our encampment became a neighborhood, and the canopy that provided shade, drinks, and food became the center of our block party. We watched the sunset together, made dinner, and told ghost stories around a camp fire until the end of the night. We slept at what felt late, but in comparison to my usual bedtime, was actually pretty early. It makes sense though, because when you wake with the sun you also become accustomed to dozing with it shortly after descending.(Adrienne, Jessica, Ashley, Ian, Adam, Colter, and Mark lounging on the shore)
(home sweet encampment)
Sunday consisted of the same luxury. A routine of sleeping, eating, swimming, lounging, rinsing, and repeating became a ritual. The grains of sand that stuck to my body were finally embraced and I was used to my hair being in my face. I was also really enjoying not having to wear real clothes. I guess when you work Monday through Friday in an office it feels liberating to escape civilization for a few days. Fleeing to a place where you don’t have to wear pants and where holes in your favorite thrift clothes, feel like they have a purpose.
Another group of friends arrived about 4pm with more provisions. We original settlers of the blue Subaru didn’t need to leave the beach once because of the steady flow of friends arriving. They picked up on the ritual of chill real quick. There was another sunset, more cooking, and different stories to go with a resurrected fire. Though, it took us until the third night to notice that the yellow flowers that were along the dunes by the beach, were blooming each night as the sun set! I watched one bloom right before my eyes, making sure to not take my gaze from it until I was absolutely sure that it was opening.
(Colter, Ashley, Kelsey, Adam, Ian, and Susie in the back, enjoying a sunset)
(Sunset scoping with Ian, Kelsey, Ashley, myself, and Colter)