Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ohmygah--TX really does have beaches!!

Lovin Padre Island!!  See AmAZiiNG pics from Jan's camera Here.
My weekend at Padre Island Nat'l Seashore was heavenly!!  I was soooo pleasantly surprised that I could Go to class in a city in the middle of cow pastures and oil drills and later that day find myself still in the same state but on an uninhabited barrier island!

Padre Island Nat'l Seashore beach break.  Wave period was pretty short, rolling in one after the other b/c of the shallow shelf of the Gulf Coast I think.

        My soul got some major warming up.  I couldn't believe I was in Texas!!  My o0hmygah-there's-actually-a-nice beach-here!!-disbelief  was beneficial in 2 ways: it confused me into feeling like I was in NC, which I miss very much and 2) made me feel more comfortable with living in TX, because if you're like me, you certainly don't ever think of gorgeous sand and surf when you think of the Lone Star state.  Plus, in my coastal management units in oceanography and environmental science courses at UNCW, I almost always saw that Galveston, TX was a terrible example of what hardened structures can do to a local coastline..not quite "New Jerseyization," but close!  So I was very relieved about this island, which is like 70 miles long and totally protected!  Unfortunately, there was quite a lot of careless litterbug refuse, and according to a (bilingual!) sign I saw at the visitor's center, tar balls and other oil drilling artifacts wash up too.
View from the top of the dunes at daybreak on Sunday.  That's one of our tents there to the right.
 Back to the soul-warming-up..ohman, this vacay was so refreshing.  We set up our tents in the moonlight and strong prevailing winds, everyone laughing and helping eachother out.  Saturday, we just hung out on our spot of sand all day long.  Jan, Fenix, Alicia, and Sammy the dog went for a lil dune hike and Eric went for a run midday, and that's when I took refuge in one of our tents..too hot and oppressively sunny out!  And, I was the only one who didn't get even a touch of sunburn..my mother and years of lifeguarding have taught me well :D  I went birdwatching in the late afternoon and was so happy to observe common and least terns, piping plovers! and a great blue heron standing at the surf's edge?!  And tons of brown pelicans were soaring over us all day, which is what really made me feel like I was at home on WB.  There are actually white pelicans over in the Laguna Madre, and tons of other cool/rare birds that I will have to search for on subsequent trips.
    The water was probably 82*F, and all foamy and delicious.  My sinuses soaked up the saline solution (I suffer from nosebleeds when I'm away from the coast or a bottle of Ayr) and my skin relished the scrubbing it got from rolling in sand all day.  I heart sand. 
     Most people are uncomfortable with sand in their bed, for instance, but not me.  I got very used to it (and sweeping my wooden floor a lot) last year when I lived on glorious Wrightsville Beach and now my sheets feel boring with out it.  Funny combination, now that I think about it--how I prefer high-thread count egyptian cotton w/ the sandpapery tinge of sand particles..I now realize that the sand was just a symbol that reinforced the fact that I was sleeping within a whelk's throw of the ocean, so the sand became a comforting reminder, as that reality had just been a dream (or week-long vacation) growing up.

180* from other pic--The view out across the ~1.5 mi-wide Padre Island, a rollicking dune ecosystem until you reach the Laguna Madre, one of only 6 hypersaline lagoons in the world!
Magazines are great reading materials because you can a) get them all covered in sand, or even wet and not worry at all..I took a New Yorker (a rather somber issue, dedicated to the topic of Sept. 11th, the memorial, and the decade since the attacks) and actually read it all-- between the day on the beach and the drives there and back.  It was about a 6 hour trip...kinda long, but soooo do-able!  Speaking of transportation, my bff returned to my life today--that's right, my bicycle is all repaired!  And I bought a front head lamp, which is actually required for riding on campus at night!  Punishable by $140 fine.  The new Bike Safety Katy thinks this is a pretty good rule, as giving cars a wave if they're pulling out on to your road just isn't the same.


  1. That beach looks so pretty! I've never been to a beach in Texas (and I live in Texas!). I agree about magazines!! They're the best. I love Runner's World and People. Glad your bike is repaired. :)

  2. Yes it really was gorgreous! If anyone spontaneously invites you to go to Padre Island with them, tottttallllly take them up on it!