Ed Bernal here and I've been enjoying this site for over a year. I'm from Northern New Jersey and like most of you I really enjoy getting outdoors and exploring new and interesting
places. Camping, canoeing, hiking, (a little) biking and fishing (especially fishing!) are what we love to do on our excursions. My 11 year old son Mason is my primary camping buddy and
my wife will occasionaly visit us if we are close to home and she beach-camped with us last year in Long Island, New York. This is my first trip report here on ExPo and I hope you
enjoy reading it as much as we enjoying experiencing this trip. It took while from me to post this as I had a VERY hard time sending, downloading and re-sizing the pictures. I have
never been much of a "picture person" but I am getting around to becoming one. The tech side of digital picture taking is a bit of a challenge but that too is getting better.
Our last trip was back in October to Cranberry Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of NY and while we planned and prepped big-time for it Mother Nature decided to make things pretty
miserable for us as it rained almost non-stop for 4 days. After a long (albeit mild) winter, we were ready for another outing. Since camping and fishing are we like most, I try to combine
the 2 as much as possible. I found 3 places on the east coast where beach camping is available: Montauk NY, Assateague Island MD, and the Outer Banks in NC. Last spring we camped
in Montauk and fished a Party Boat out of Orient Point NY for cod and blackfish. We liked it so much we went back in the fall. To me, there are few things I enjoy more than having a nice
dinner of just-caught fish and cold beer around a campfire - especially on the beach. Simply awesome....
This year I decided to head south and explore Assateague Island in Maryland. We had a 3 day weekend coming up and decided to take advantage of the long weekend to embark on our
first outing of the year. I made my customary round of calls to all my buds (especially the ones that have kids) who I think may want to join us but as usual, no takers.
Of course, the beach and the fishing were the primary draw, but one unique thing about this place is the presence of wild horses and I was looking forward to seeing them (and boy did we!).
It is believed that the horses ended up on the island either due to a shipwreck of a spanish galleon (there is a shipwreck fenced off in the campground) or they were brought there by early
settlers. "Wild" is a relative term with these animals. Unfortunately, the horses have become very accustomed to people and basically have run of the campground, casually walking in and
out of campsites eating anything left out on tables. They open coolers, rip open plastic bags, etc. and then they look at you as if to say: "What, you got a problem, dude? This is MY HOUSE..."
So I planned our route and called the ranger station to reserve. Turns out that no reservations are accepted from October to April. With it being April AND Easter weekend, I figured the place
would be pretty empty. The other major thing we planned for was to fish for blackfish on the party boat Ocean Princess out of Ocean City. I reserved 2 spots for us for the following morning.
We headed out about 6AM on Good Friday with an ETA of noon which we pretty much hit right on. We had a light breakfast and around 11 requests for McD's started
coming in. Halfway thru our Big Macs Mom calls in to see how her boys are doing and reminds us that today was Good Friday, no meat and all.... Well, now that we had punched our tickets
to hell, I figured we would redeem ourselves at dinner. Down the road a bit we came across a Seafood Restaurant / Market that advertised "best crab soup on the east coast" so Mase
said "Dad, stop there!". I didn't get the name of the place but wow, did they have a NICE stock of various fishies! I got a big swordfish steak for us to share and a quart of thier famous soup and back
on the road. We finally pulled into the ranger station at noon and check in. I was shocked to learn out of close to 200 sites 195 were taken but we were pretty happy with the site they gave us. Honestly,
I didn't see a bad spot anywhere in the campground.
After pulling into the campsite, first things first: Check out the beach!
We then set up camp and went for a long bikeride to checkout the whole campground
Even though most of the sites were filled and I tend to really dislike established, crowded campgrounds, I can't really say that I felt like the place was packed. There was plenty of elbow room
and everyone we met were very cool and laid back. Here are some shots of our slice of the campground:
After a few hours of checking out the whole oceanside portion of the park we went back to our site for dinner and obligatory campfire. I had just finished building a galley for our expo trailer
and I was anxious to christen it. I must say, I certainly could have done worse in selecting the ingredients of our meal. The swordfish was super-fresh and the crab soup looked and smelled good.
Mase informed me that we did not bring any sauce for the spaghetti so I chopped up the pasta and the crab chowder became crab-noodle soup. The fish was straight-up awesome and the soup was
delish as well.
Sizzle - sizzle
We cleaned up WELL to avoid night-time visits from the local wildlife and began to prep our gear for the following day's fishing trip. Just as we finished packing up the gear into the jeep, my phone rings
and its the boat captain who begins to tell me that due to the high winds, he was cancelling the trip. I stop him mid way and hand the phone to Mase so he gets the bad news straight from the horse's mouth - no
pun intended... So we switched to Plan B and decide to fish the bayshore instead. We woke up early and after a quick breakfast we headed over to a bayside pier we saw on the way in. We spent the morning
there - no bites but it was a nice time and a very beautiful place...