Despite a forecast for HOT, HUMID, STICKY, and GENERALLY UNBEARABLE, my girlfriend and I loaded our girls into the van and headed out on an adventure. Despite awakening with a killer head cold, I dug out the jeans and packed bug spray, snacks, water bottles, and extra clothes.
This already sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? I promise it was wonderful.
We stopped at the local bait and tackle shop to buy our access permits and headed out to Hog Island in Surry, VA to the Wildlife Management Area. The blackberry bushes were in varying stages of ripeness and were lining the birding trail between the James River and the island's marshes. We decided that since both of our husbands had served on Navy nuclear ships, we weren't going to stress that this beautiful island full of berries is located just past the Surry Nuclear Power Plant. And when I say just past, I mean that we drove through the plant's security gate, complete with vehicle search and ID scans, past the reactors and over the little discharge river. Fun!
Now don't panic, that little discharge river flows in the other direction. I'm pretty sure.
View of the James River and marsh grasses
We picked and picked until our little fingers were stained red. And several of our mouths :) The older girls picked from the edges of the walk, while the adults braved the briars and ventured further into the fray for fruit. Irish Jig wandered among us collecting berries in her basket. I later figured out she was eating most of them.
Several times, we had to rescue a girl from the briars. And maybe ourselves - they were pretty brutal.
Nursing an injured finger
The girls were excited to see (and maybe chase) herons, geese, ducks, rabbits, and a plethora of birds we weren't able to identify. We talked a little about the Island's history and that it was inhabited by the town of Broadwater during the 1800's. Rock barriers are now spread around the perimeter of the Island to protect it from tidal erosion. I really enjoy living in Southeastern Virginia - an area so packed with rich history and wonderful off-the-beaten-path venues. Our little group was the only human contingent today, giving us time to explore at our own pace.
I love that this child of mine (truly she is mine) is so fair and blond and curly.
She looks nothing like me. At all.
And her berry stained face is priceless.
**** Extra points to anyone who can name the song and/or 80's girl band responsible for today's post title.