Beach or Bust

August 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Our fleeting summer comes to an end with the first day of preschool next Tuesday, and with high’s very much in the nineties, we decided to head to the beach. I have fond childhood memories of Lake Jocomo and Longview Lake beaches in Missouri, mom floating on her raft while we kids would dig in the sand, play on the shore, and float on our inner tubes. Good times. I did a little research and decided El Dorado (that’s El Doe-RAY-doe in these here parts) was our best bet, just under an hour’s drive, and with two beaches to choose from. I called ahead and was told the beaches were at Walnut River and Blue Stem Point. A quick google map view led me to believe that Blue Stem Point would be more akin to the beach experience I was used to. Mind you, I wasn’t delusional enough to equate a lake beach to the beaches in Florida. I even remember how trashed the beaches in Missouri would get by late August. I truly wasn’t expecting much.

But. Ick.

We arrived at the mud hole, erm, beach at Blue Stem Point, and after briefly contemplating the goose-turd-laden shoreline and general quagmire look of the water, I decided to flee in search of Walnut River. I also had fond memories of camping at the North Fork River in southern Missouri, so perhaps we’d have better luck at a river beach.

Indeed it was a tiny bit better – at least there were a few other patrons that deemed this particular mud hole swim-worthy. Perhaps Florida has made me a beach snob, but this place was the pits. Poor Liam wanted to see the Lake Beach, which I’d been talking up all summer, so we had to make do. The sand was still goose-turd laden, but we managed to find a relatively clean spot near the shore to put our stuff.

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IMG_2252Gross. I know. At least they had covered picnic tables so we could enjoy our lunch in the shade. I brought my beach umbrella, but I had no intention of sitting amid the poop on the beach, so I left it in the car. Instead I brought my chair down to the water, and after taking a dip with Liam in the deep end (which he actually seemed to enjoy better without the waves we typically encounter at the Florida beaches), I could relax with the latest issue of Nat Geo while Liam made a mess of himself building sand castles. Or, rather, filling his bucket with wet sand and dumping it out, since I told him there was no way I was letting him build goose-shit castles on the dry sand.

By late afternoon I managed to convince Liam it was time to leave. We took a little stroll through the nearby campground, following a trail that snaked along next to Walnut River. But after walking through a few too many spider webs and smacking a mosquito on my forehead, I decided I was getting just a little bit too much nature on me. 

All the way home Liam praised the lake beach, how much fun he’d had playing in the water, mucking around in the sand, and going on our nature hike. It’s funny to think that perhaps my memories of Lake Jocomo are equally inaccurate – perhaps it, too, was a mud hole that my mom merely tolerated taking us to because we loved it so much. But she’d never lived in Florida, so I doubt her disappointment was as bitter as my own.

Perhaps next summer we’ll try exploring some of the other lakes in the area – I hear there are three other beaches worth checking out. And perhaps in early June they’ll be in better shape. Or, more than likely, James will have set his sights on a new locale for us. Maybe something near the shore in a warm climate. Sigh.

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