Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beach Camping. Warmbrod Style

Spring Break 2011. Edisto Island State Park. Beach Camping. Bike trails- wooden bridges over salt marshes winding through a live oak forest. Dolphins playing in a sunrise. A dozen perfect sanddollars. 80 degree days and 60 degree nights. Restaurants and a candy shop within biking distance.
After 10 hours in the car, we arrive at the most perfect beach camping spot... Blaine and Drew pause for photo after helping mom and dad get the tent up.

Sunday, March 20- we wake to 40 MPH wind gusts... but the tent is still up!

A typical morning for us went a little something like this....
Who needs Starbucks? Tommy presses his own coffee. He makes us hot chocolate and oatmeal every morning on his camping stove.

Biking through the live oak forest and over the salt marshes...

Our Drew, who will tell you that he's four and three quarters, biked 5 miles on Tuesday morning.

A typical beach camping afternoon looks something like this:

A typical camping evening looks something like this...
Tommy makes dinner- Mr. Warmbrod's campfire steaks are incredible!

I always bring a batch of half-baked brownies in the cooler when we camp. This evening, I smooshed them down on the cast iron skillet and melted hershey's candy bars on top- delicious! This is the trip where I concocted what I call the Warmbrod Lazy Smore... On a cast iron skillet, layer Keebler chocolate covered graham cookies, then marshmallows, then a Hershey bar. Let it melt over the fire while you eat dinner.

Reading The Neverending Story aloud by the fire or in the tent.

Yes, the tent is very neat! We had a really good system for keeping the sand out, and as a result, the tent was nice, neat, and cozy!

We got civilized on Thursday night and went out on the town for dinner!

Our first night...Saturday, March 19- remember the night that the moon was SUPER big in the sky? We saw it rise above the ocean! I didn't get a great photo- the winds were blowing that evening at around 40 MPH and we went straight into the tent. Look closely at the vestibule on the front of the tent- this is the last time you'll see it- the overnight wind gusts had their way with it and we took it down the next morning.

There was a bit of rain overnight, but the new tent stayed extremely dry. Tommy and I didn't sleep well because the winds were beating the hell out of the tent and the vestibule poles were inverted on the ocean side.

Sunday, March 20- we wake to 40 MPH wind gusts... but the tent is still up! We get out of the tent and you can definitely see the strain on the tent stakes- they're anchored in sand, after all. We place the cooler and water24packs on the stakes to help stabilize them. At this point we are EXTREMELY worried about the tent making it through the trip. We walk out to the beach, and the wind is so fierce that the blowing sand stings your legs. We take the tent's vestibule down and decide to drive into Charleston for the day to get out of the wind.

We spend the day in Charleston with the kids- we take a carriage ride and learn a little history, stroll through parks with cannons. The winds are strong here, too, and we wonder throughout the day if the tent is still up! Still, we have a great day in Charleston- 15 years after our honeymoon and here we are again... this time with our boys.

I don't have ANY pictures of us that day in Charleston. Probably because we were tired and our minds were on the tent and the wind and how to salvage the trip. It was a wonderfully special day for all four of us anyway. I do, however, have pictures from our first trip to Charleston 15 years ago...

We make it back to camp that evening and guess what? The tent is still standing, but the wind is still strong! {I have video footage of the wind but somehow lost it in post-vacation chaos} We check the weather on our iPhones and the wind should calm overnight, but now we have another weather issue- there will definitely be flooding tonight. With the ocean just about a 100 yards away from the tent on one side and salt marshes about 250 yards away on the other, we're a bit nervous. Dinner is fried chicken at a picnic table under a live oak tree. We turn in early.

Blaine gets in a little basketball.

Drew is a great camper- no matter what the weather!

Sometime during the night, the winds completely calm- what a relief! Now that the wind is no longer the dominant sound, we hear the waves crash- it sounds like we're sleeping right on the surf! I wake periodically throughout the night and think there will be water flowing under the tent any minute from the rising waters. The tent stays dry all night.

Blaine and I wake early and quietly exit the tent and head to the beach for sunrise. You can clearly see that the tides made it way up on shore-- ending only about 30 yards from our tent. The rangers tell us this only happens a couple times per year. I have video footage of the beach showing how closely it came to the tent, but again.... can't find the footage anywhere!

So Monday is our first real beach day- the weather is fantastic.... just a little overcast. We see dolphins playing in the Atlantic from our beach. We grill hotdogs and steaks for dinner. We bike. We are settling in and thankful for the great weather!

Then we walked the beach for another two miles in the afternoon. This was probably the most magical Warmbrod day of all times- traversing long wooden bridges over salt marshes; a dozen tennis ball size sand dollars sprinkled around really cool tide pools. Hermit crabs and other critters.