May 30, 2011
Memorial Day Weekend - Day 4 (lots of pics)
Completely exhausted. Cooked. Done!
Today we went biking out in the swamp forests and salt marsh. I am so proud of Finn, he did it!
Loch & Finn when we stopped for lunch
Really hot today, in the 90's with horrible humidity, but it was pretty much total shade out where we were, which makes for a much more pleasant riding & hiking.
The below photos are what our area of Southeastern VA is supposed to look like, before the swamp was filled in and cities and oceanfront hotels were built. It's my little secret, most of the hikers and kayakers are well aware, but you would be surprised at how many lifelong residents of this area don't know this still exists in places. I don't offer the info either, unless asked specifically :)
That being said, if you are ever here and looking for unspoiled swamp and salt marsh, let me know and I'll tell you where to go to avoid the nonsense and really see it the way nature intended.
Check out the bark on this tree...
The Bald Cypress here are simply beautiful. Here is the base of one, these grow plentifully here and are part of what makes our swamp waters the dark, tannic brown color.
More Bald Cypress
Today was a snake free day I am pleased to say, we didn't see even one. I know there are some snake fans out there but when you live in an area with plentiful Water Moccasins and have children, you treat all snakes as if they were venomous!
An interesting side note: there have been alligators as far north as just about 40-50 miles south of us for years now, but our first confirmed alligator in the swamp on the VA side was just last month. It was a large one, 9-10 ft long. I think it will be awhile before we have to worry about sighting one ourselves, but it's yet another thing to have in the back of our minds as we kayak and explore. In a way though, it makes me smile... it means that the area is deemed hospitable to another species, and that makes me feel good.
We followed nature from the swampy forest all the way out to the salt marsh that opens up to the sound. The sounds then connect to the ocean.
More sun filtering in shows us lots lilypads, grasses and flowers
Massive ecosystem here, can you see the turtle below?
The first of the tall salt marsh grasses are these cattails, the water here will still be tannic and murky with a mucky bottom.
Below you can see where we left the forest and how vast the cattails are
The water is a tad more open between the next expanse of a different marsh grass. Walking out into the open salt marsh there is full sun here and a wonderful tidal salty scent heavy in the air. We are on a boardwalk at this point because it is all watery marsh below.
Below is a shot of the salt marsh. The cypress dot the area less and less as the swamp gives way to the open areas leading to the sound, the bottom here will become gradually more sandy. This is brackish water here.
Another shot of a young Bald Cypress, clouds and trees reflecting on the dark water
These are the things I will miss the most when our time comes to an end in Virginia. Although here courtesy of the military, I realized today that not only was I born here (courtesy of dad in the Navy, too!), I've lived here for the better part of 22 years now, so I guess it really is my home away from home.
Last but not least...
It was our anniversary weekend! It's been 9 years now and for the most part we can still find things we like about the other :)
Tomorrow we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming, the garden needs work! G'night y'all!