Small Precious Things

We’re such the assholes when we pull into a campground. We leave the diesel truck running in the road while we scope out our site. Once in, we crank down jacks with a drill, set up the starlink antenna, put up the tent, add lights. It’s a lot of stuff we disgorge onto our campsite with a lot of noise and a lot extension cords. For us it’s making our home for a week, but we must look like the biggest assholes bringing all this shit with us camping.

These last two weeks without hookups in the heat have forced us to set up differently. At the last site we didn’t bother with the tent, which meant unobstructed views of the dawn and dusk sky. Here, we’re sleeping with all the windows open, cooking on a fire (so as not to heat up the trailer), and listening to the cicadas at night instead of music. Heat bugs, we used to call them. It’ll be 97 degrees today, so I expect the heat bugs to start their leggy songs early.

We’re at the only place we could find a spot: Westmoreland State Park on the Potomac River, directly east of Fredericksburg, Virginia. It’s been a great find. For several blissful days, there was no one else in our loop (until the weekenders showed up). We showered the bug spray and sunscreen off every evening while we charged our phones in the campground bathrooms. And I love the design of this loop: each site’s tent platform is away in the woods, with a gravel path from your parking spot down to it. Private, shaded.

Lots of hiking trails, too. I was so excited to get out in the woods that I went hiking on my own the very first morning. I immediately slipped on sweet gum balls on a downward slope and fell, with my recovering knee bent under me. Somehow I did not tear it! It’s swollen, though, and my leg muscles keep spasming, so no more hiking for me for a bit.

I did limp down the easy trail to the beach early the next morning with Tracy, to look for fossilized shark teeth. The land here has eroded so that cliffs are exposed on both sides of the river, and weather washes the fossils out of the cliffs onto the beach. Pretty convenient!

In true Tracy fashion, he took a colander and a shovel and spent the morning bent over in the river, sifting through sand in a rough grid pattern. No dice.

I sat on a log to rest my knee and immediately saw two beautiful teeth. They’re from a shark called a snaggletooth. It’s astounding the tiny serrations have survived all this time unbroken, possibly 23 to 25 million years.

Shark teeth on the beach, fireflies at the campsite, cicadas in the forest. Not a bad stop.

8 thoughts to “Small Precious Things”

  1. Aside from the lack of air conditioning, this looks perfect. I’m not a camper, but the setup is great and collecting shark teeth is pretty damn cool. Question is… will you be making a necklace?

  2. I have to chuckle over Tracy’s colander escapades while you just sat down and spotted fossils without any effort whatsoever. I’ve always wanted to find arrowheads in the wild, but have never had any luck. Maybe I need to borrow your approach and sit down on a log to make it happen!

    1. To Tracy’s credit, he was not working within a grid, but I bet he was thinking about it. We have a friend whose sister finds arrowheads without trying, to everyone else’s frustration. I think not trying is the key to seeing. Welcome you.