Maeryn and I took the Mobile out this morning. I wasn't sure what we'd do.
I thought maybe a stroller ride around Ann Marie Gardens to check things out. Both my children are enthralled with the place.
Then I thought maybe just the plain old playground would do us both some good.
We did neither.
We went to Greenwell State Park. An old favorite of our family, but we'd stopped going because the beach maintenance was somewhat lacking in the past months and we hadn't the money to pay the $3 entrance fee.
Today, armed with my checkbook, Maeryn and I headed to the park. I figured we could walk a trail and wade in the water a little and maybe check out the horses.
When we got there, I paid the entrance fee (with some trouble, since it was just Maeryn and me, I had to pee, my pen was not in the same location as the checkbook, there was just a tiny table to write on while I juggled my purse and Maeryn's lovey, and Maeryn was wandering around the parking lot just begging to be hit by a car) and we started for the beach trail.
On the way, I remembered a rose garden that Michael used to take people to for photo shoots, and I thought Maeryn might like it, so we went and strolled about a bit. She seemed to feel a little trapped in there, and wanted to leave, so we did, and as we were leaving, I noticed something I had never noticed before.
There was a long, paved, ramp with a hand rail that seemed to lead straight down to the water next to the rose garden. It was unmarked, but I thought it might be pretty, so we headed down the hill. I held Maeryn's hand and she ran, while I trotted alongside.
When we got to the bottom of the ramp, I realized that it led to a trail. I imagined that this particular trail led around to the beach on the other side, but I was positive, so resigned to follow it. Maeryn was eager to jump over the rock bank and into the water (a good six feet below a drop off), and screamed when I held her hand, so I carried her awhile.
As we rounded a corner and passed a picnic table and grill, I noticed a little secluded beach on the opposite side of the hidden cove we'd found at the ramp's end. I determined that Maeryn and I would visit that beach, rather than the beach clearly marked by the park's signage.
We headed over the slightly overgrown trail toward the beach. At the end, I realized that the trail ended at a rockslide that tumbled into the water below. The beach was a natural one. The path was meant to be an overlook. Access to the beach was denied to those unwilling to dare to climb down the rocks below an old tree whose root system had been largely carved out by the water- you had to pass between and around the remaining roots and a somewhat foreboding cave to get to the beach, not to mention climbing down the rocks.
I firmly grasped Maeryn's hand, and we descended the rock pile.
It took some quick thinking on my part, but we made it down without injury, kicked off our shoes, and waded through the water. We spotted some raccoon tracks (accompanied by a half-eaten fish) - the tracks were a quite fresh; I think we interrupted the poor thing's meal - and several shells and pretty, smooth stones. Maeryn had an amazing time splashing around. It was over all too soon.
Maeryn screamed when we left and kept trying to run back down the rocks after we made our way back to the top.
I had wondered why I'd been directed to Greenwell instead of our more usual haunts, but I'm glad God took me in that direction today. It was a special gift.
I'll be dragging the whole family to our little "hidden beach" as soon as possible.
For now, it's a Mother/Daughter Secret.