This past weekend, Paul and I trekked down to Eastern Maryland to celebrate our friend's wedding, and because we're really cool, we decided to stay in a mini-cabin (read: one room with electricity but no plumbing) at Pocomoke River State Park for the duration of the trip. We convinced our friend Heather to camp out in the park with us, and even though an incredibly heavy rain/thunder storm raged through about 90% of the trip (including the wedding, which was outdoors and amazingly wonderful despite the rain), we all had a fantastic time.
There was some very cool wildlife to be seen in this lush forest on the Delmarva Peninsula, too (best name ever, by the way), and the environment looked distinctly different from anything I'm used to, even from the woods around my family's home in central Maryland. We went for a hike on Saturday morning, and the path took us through cypress swamps, something I didn't even know Maryland had until then.
It was drizzling throughout our hike, and it started to seriously rain halfway through, but there was still enough time to take a few pictures of some cool things. There were big spider webs stretched across the path every few yards (or at least, that's what it seemed like, since I walked through so many of them). Some webs had spiders on duty, but this one featured what looked like a partially-eaten katydid, and instead of a spider, a huge European Hornet (Vespa crabro) was munching away on the catch:
I don't think I've ever encountered one of these wasps before, but it was very, very large -- the katydid should give a pretty good indication of its size.
We were lucky enough to encounter two Eastern Box Turtles also out for a stroll on the path. The turtle in this picture is the first one we found -- the second turtle we had to practically leap over as we ran back to the cabin in the quickly-worsening downpour:
With the rain and low light, picture-taking conditions were far from optimal, so my photographic record will have to end here. We saw a few more creatures, though, who were completely awesome, and just far too quick for my camera: When we opened the door to the building where we were supposed to check in, a little skink with a brilliant blue tail dashed immediately into a crevice and out of sight. And amid the pre-rain congregation of birds in the trees in front of our cabin on Saturday morning, we saw -- I swear -- a family of flying squirrels gliding and scurrying around. I'd never seen a flying squirrel before, so even the brief glimpse I got through the binoculars was pretty darn awesome!
So the rain kept us from wandering around outside too much, but we got plenty of compensation: board games on the covered porch, a beautiful wedding under a big protective tent, and a restful sleep in a cozy cabin with rain pounding on the roof. This weekend was certainly an adventure, and I'm glad I got the chance to share it with family and friends!