right now

right now

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!


  1. That takes a lot of energy to bike & hike in that heat.Great photo shots of the marsh lands,and you are very knowledgeable about them. I HAVE A GREAT UNCLE WHO CO-AUTHORED THE BOOK"TREES" AND AFTER HE PASSED ON HAD REQUESTED HIS ASHES TO BE SPREAD OVER THE EVERGLADES OF Florida.

  2. Thank you for the trip, I enjoyed every moment of it.

    Happy anniversary! Mr. Granny and I have you beat by forty years, but I have no doubt you'll make it that far ;-)

  3. Happy Anniversary! What a fantastic place to explore, bike and canoe. I've always wanted to get a canoe and go out on our lakes.
    You have one handsome looking family.

  4. Judy, it was too darn hot!
    Gran, 49 years is amazing, I hope to do it with as much style as you :)
    Sparkless, you must canoe! It's such a cheap, quiet way to enjoy nature, and you can take them anywhere on a car even. I'll take the sound of water dripping off my paddle any day over the screaming of engine noise on motorboats!

  5. Looks like a great memorial day for your family.

  6. Wow, you got some bee-yew-tiful pictures! I'm not sure I would have made it in the heat and humidity but you all look like you had a great outing. You did a super job of planning your Memorial Day Weekend holiday. (No wonder you're tired though!) Thanks for sharing it with us AND . . . very, very Happy Anniversay to you and that man you live with. You two are a fantastic duo!! Best wishes for oodles more.

  7. Happy Anniversary!! Nine years- you're practically still newlyweds!
    Beautiful trip. Thanks for the tour. I remember going on some very scenic boardwalk walks through the swamps.
    Glad you had a fun weekend.

  8. Happy Anniversary to you guys!
    And I have no doubt you'll have many more! What an enjoyable (and exhausting!) weekend. Going back to gardening will seem positively leisurely!

  9. Happy Anniversary. Beautiful pics. Love that family shot, it's priceless. Stay cool!

  10. Hi Nellie! Hope you had a great weekend too!
    Mama Pea, without the shade and copious amounts of bug spray, we probably wouldn't have been heard from again, we'd be part of the many stories of the haunted swamp LOL
    Judy, thanks! Too bad we couldn't have replicas of the swamp everywhere without the heat LOL, but then maybe it would lose its luster.
    Sue, I think I'm going to "duck and run" garden today, it's miserable hot out there.
    Lorie, hope you had some fun yesterday, you did so much work the past weekend! Today's going to be a hot one.

  11. Happy Anniversary! That a fabulous weekend to celebrate! :) Looks like you had a great time with lovely sights surrounding you. The pictures are great!!

  12. Happy Anniversary Erin! Looks like you had a fabulous time, I love all the pictures you took. What an amazing place to visit!

  13. Absolutely beautiful pictures, Erin~! And happy anniversary - and many more happy years to come!!

  14. Those are some of the coolest pictures ever! I would love to see those 'for real'. Way cool.

    Happy Anniversary!!

  15. I can't wait until Jonathan is old enough to go on a hike with us. He still insists on being carried half of the time. SOOOOOOOOOO annoying! LOL!

    Glad you guys had a fun sweaty time.

  16. Thanks for the anniversary wishes everyone!

    Thomas, don't despair, I know it seems to take for - ever....! We love going backpacking but when carrying kids in the backpack we couldn't carry our gear LOL! Then short hikes on short legs were quick and they got tired, Now it's short hikes but we are making them carry their own lunch and camelbak of water. Loch was quicker to take it all on but Finn is more of our lagger. Don't worry, I'm sure when they are old enough to mow the lawn, go hiking, biking for long stretches it will seem like time flew by :)