It's choice, not chance, that determines your destiny

This is my blog about life - travel - new experiences - growth.
Please join me in my journey.......

January 07, 2011

Simplicity & Serenity

 Driving away from Corpus Christi out to Padre Island National Seashore is a lot of nothing, which is exactly what the National Park Service had in mind when they opened it for tourism in 1962 and it's remained largely an undeveloped wilderness since then,  which leads you to think you've stepped back into time.

There are approximately six beach areas within the park: North Beach,  Closed Beach, which includes Malaquite Beach, campground (where mom and dad are staying) & Malaquite Visitor's Center, South Beach, Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach. You can stay at North Beach and South Beach free of charge and you can drive South Beach for 5 miles before you even need 4-wheel drive. After that you can drive an additional 50+ miles before reaching Mansfield Channel, (at MP 60) which separates North Padre from South Padre Island.

Closed Beach, aptly named because it's closed off to vehicles allowing for tranquil walks along the beach is where Cooper and I spend our afternoons - but more about that later.

After being on the island for a few hours I settled on a place to stay which is Bird Island Basin on the western side of the Island. It's located on the shores of Laguna Madre, which offers fantastic opportunities for windsurfing, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and bird watching. I've since learned about sail fishing, where you can drop 15-20 shrimp-baited lines into the water. Dan, the guy who moved in next to me yesterday, does a lot of sail fishing for Red and Black Drum Picture of Black drumFish. He mentioned that many people like to fish for the Red because they fight more but that the Black Drum taste better. Since I'd never heard of Drum Fish, he promised me the next one he catches!

Bird Island was a good place for me to stay since I can conceivably stay there for up to 56 days a year for $30.00. The only "amenities" are two chemical toilets and two trash bins! Other than that, I don't have use of my cell phone, computer, TV or hook-ups (elec, water, sewer) unless I drive 10-15 miles toward Corpus Christi (cell & computer) It's a very simple life on the Island, which has been good for me, despite my early misgivings and anxiety about being so "disconnected"!

Since I seem to be such a routine person, here's pretty much my daily routine:
  • 5:30 alarm goes off, usually prompting me out of bed by 5:45. (I'm also a "morning" person!)
  • 6-7am - a nice hot cup of strong black coffee and usually a muffin or two.
  • 7-8am- Cooper and I head out the door for a nice 6 mile walk along the road. First we head out of camp to the east, watching the sun rise as we walk to the marina.
After a walk around the marina we walk up to the main road (Park Rd 22) and across to what used to be ranching land back in the 1800's
They still have the old Novillo Line Camp and bunkhouse there.

To the east are the dunes and then Closed Beach, which I hoped I could reach on my first walk down that mile stretch, but there were too many stickers which get caught in Cooper's paws and you're not supposed to walk on the dunes anyway (something about preservation!) so back down the road, across the Park Rd and 1.5 miles back to camp.

Then we putter around until afternoon....I read, knit, pure laziness until about
  • 2-3pm - I drive the car about 2 miles or so to North Beach & Closed Beach where I arm myself with bright yellow trash bags that the visitor center provides, and while Cooper runs and plays in the surf I pick up trash along the beach and there is a LOT of it. I'd say 95% of it is plastic, which is obvious, I suppose, because plastic floats. It leads me to wonder what sinks to the bottom of the gulf and also vow never to buy another plastic bottle of water again! Predominant southeast winds drive the currents in the Gulf of Mexico to this location in the northwest corner. Anything that is tossed in or falls in usually ends up on these beaches. In 2005, approximately 1,000 volunteers from the general public removed almost 153 tons of trash from the National Seashore's beaches. That's a lot of trash. They rely on volunteer help and periodic "clean up" days to keep the beaches clean. 
  • 5pm - scrounge for something to eat for dinner. Quiet evening sitting outside with a glass of wine and watching the sun set -  then one more walk around camp, maybe talking to a fellow camper or two, and back in to knit for a few hours before reading myself to sleep around 9:30ish
  • and then get up and do it all over again the next day!
Yesterday, along with mom and dad, we drove into Corpus Christi to the H.E.B market to buy groceries. After frequenting Walmart's the H.E.B (whatever that stands for) was a pleasant surprise. I even picked up a sushi fix and something from the olive bar! Then we drove to the Laundromat to do our laundry and I checked email on my computer but obviously didn't spend enough time at it so I came back here today to work on updating my blog and make a few phone calls! I've left Cooper in the car however, so I really must give him some attention and let him do some more running on the beach so adios for today.

As the sun sets on your day, remember to keep on living the life you love.....



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