July 22, 2014

Delmarva; Day 3: "Greenhead Horseflies"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014: We began our third day on Assateague Island with a hike on the Marsh Trail. This path brings its visitors by an area called the Snow Goose Pool. On the map, it looks like a gigantic pond, however, we found the place to be arid and looking more like the Serengeti. There were many patches of dry, cracked ground that looked exactly like the land that I've seen in many documentaries about Africa. All that the place needed was a few giraffes loitering in the distance and I would have been convinced that I had somehow traveled 7,200 miles due east. There was also an observation platform with built-in telescopes that I found to be particularly neato. I'd like to say it was all good, but there was one tiny drawback. It was here in the marsh that I encountered a swarm of what would become my very least favorite creatures in all of Chincoteague -- Greenhead Horseflies. These are nasty little buggers whose bites feel like tiny laser beams piercing into the skin. They are also relentless in their attacks. Luckily, I always bring along a bottle of insect repellent on hikes and I quickly dowsed everyone in the relieving spray. It did the trick and saved us from what could have been an otherwise agonizing walk.

After leaving the marsh, I stopped the car near a stream where I had seen many people hanging around the day before, very curious about what the site had to offer. As we walked by the water's edge, we found the earth riddled with tiny holes. At first, I thought that these were man-made, but I then saw a thumb-sized crab emerge from one and I knew better. A little more exploring of the area uncovered an entire legion of the little crustaceans, so many that the ground appeared to move. It was an incredible sight.

The road ended up once again at Tom's Cove Visitor Center. On a rear porch, the place has a row of rocking chairs set up that overlook the ocean. I was happy to just sit back and enjoy the scenery and the beautiful Virginia breeze for a while.

As we headed back to our hotel to spend a little more time in the swimming pool, we stopped off at Funland Amusement Park for a quick game of minigolf and then at the Island Creamery for some of their homemade ice cream (another suggestion from Captain Charlie).

In the early evening, we went back to Assateague to take a drive around the Wildlife Loop (which is only open to cars after 3:00). We parked the car at the head of the Swan Cove Trail and took a lovely hike to a secluded beach. I couldn't help but take off my shoes and step into the cool waters. The surf was intense and the rushing waves tugged at my feet nearly stealing my balance a few times. It was a marvelous setting. This was to be our last day in Chincoteague and I made sure to savor every moment of it. For I knew that the next morning we would be crossing back over the causeway bound for someplace in Maryland...

"I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit
in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled to the measure of all
the fullness of God."

~Ephesians 3:16-19