Rock Spring Pond


Westmoreland State Park 2016

Last updated June 22, 2016



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Day One | Day Two | Day Three

On June 17-19, 2016, several of Norma's and my friends with kids joined us for a car camping weekend at Westmoreland State Park in Virginia. The day before our adventure began, it rained quite a bit. But I think the storm drew in all the humidity so when it passed, we were left with clear, sunny, dry weather.

Day One, Friday, June 17, 2016
Some of us drove out on Friday afternoon. Norma and I left the house at 1450. This was not a wise decision. Traffic was hideous. But we made it with more than enough time to get set up with plenty of daylight. Spots are first come, first served. Rekha and Harald were the first to arrive so they snagged several nice sites in a cul-de-sac for our group. It eventually became a haven for small children throughout the B loop.

I tried to build a campfire and failed miserably. But Harald had some lighter fluid and with his help, we got it stoking. I guess I would not have made a good Boy Scout. We all ate hot dogs that Harald grilled.

Day Two, Saturday, June 18, 2016

We put away our food before bed last night but I left out my Nerf football. In the morning, I saw several chunks of it scattered about. My first thought was to blame Aalisha because she has a reputation of being a little destructive but it turns out a wild animal came through our campsite and chewed it up.

Norma and I prepared an egg and sausage breakfast with eggs from our chickens and sausage from her sister's farm.

Malar's family showed up. I think her two youngest girls grew about six inches since I last saw them.

We drove to the visitor center and then walked on Big Meadow Trail to Fossil Beach. We were there for about two or three hours, looking for shark's teeth, and playing in the water. I found 21 shark teeth, four pieces of ray dental palate, some petrified wood, and something that looked like molten rock. See first photo. Jimmy had the most interesting find, a segment of cow shark teeth. After I told them what it was, they did some research and reported that cow sharks are
Typically found in northern cold deep waters and only occasionally found in shallow waters for feeding or giving birth. They are very aggressive meat eaters and have 6 to 7 gill slits as opposed to the normal 5 of all other sharks. Can range in size from about 4 to 18 feet.

At the Beach Chair Scientist website, I found some cool shark information along with this image (second photo) that identifies various shark teeth.

On our walk back, we saw Rey, Federico, and their sons. We all walked back to the cars, drove back to the campsite for a rest, and then went swimming at the park pool. Rey and I did a short swim race. I'll let you guess who won (not him).

Back at the campsite, we had a feast which included grilled chicken and goat made by Malar. In the third photo, Rey, Federico, and their kids enjoy fine camping cuisine.

In old-fashioned camping tradition, the kids (and some adults) roasted marshmallows and made smores. See fourth photo.
Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Day Three, Sunday, June 19, 2016, Father's Day

In the wee hours of the morning, I heard a barred owl and then coyotes howling.

Jimmy, Joyce, Harlem, and Aalisha left early for another commitment but before they left, we took a group picture (first photo, first column). From left to right in the back are Nidhiksha, Joyce, Dursha, Jimmy, Aalisha (toddler), Malar, Thanusha, Rekha, Danny (in front of Rekha), Harald, Joshua, and Federico. From left to right in the front are me, Norma, Harlem, Julian (in front of Danny), Rey, and Tao't. Not pictured is Ryan who was still sleeping.

The rest of us ate breakfast which included bacon that Rekha cooked.

Rey, Federico, and their sons went to Fossil Beach while the rest of us did an approximately two mile loop hike from our campsite to Rock Spring Pond Trail, Rock Spring Pond, back to the main road on Laurel Point Trail, and finally to the B loop on the Conservation Corps Fitness Trail.

We saw a seven point buck. See second and third photos, first column.

At the pond (fourth photo, first column and photo at the top left corner of the page), we saw a frog (fifth photo, first column) and turtle (sixth photo, first column).

The fitness trail has various stations set up for exercises which the kids (and some grown ups) tried out. See first photo, second column.

Our final adventure at the park was kayaking on the Potomac River. They don't let kids under six use their boats (Julian is five) so I had him and Harald use my Ocean Kayak Cabo tandem while I paddled my Cobra Expedition. The boat rental place loaned Julian a personal floatation device (PFD) that fit him just right.

The boat ramp was closed for repair so we carried my boats to the beach where we launched with the other rental boats. After being on the water for less than ten minutes, one of the girls fell out. I pulled her back in and we continued. We paddled along Horsehead Cliffs which looks very much like Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay. Both are well known for being good places to find shark teeth. Unfortunately, the staff at the boat rental facility told us not to land at the cliffs. On the return, I passed a couple of other kayakers whose boat was submerged. Fortunately, they weren't far out from shore so they could swim it back easily.
  • Second photo, second column: Danny and Rekha in a tandem kayak.
  • Third photo, second column: Julian and Harald lead the pack.
  • Fourth photo, second column: Dursha takes the lead.
  • Fifth photo, second column: Norma and Malar.
  • Sixth photo, second column: Horsehead Cliffs.
  • Seventh photo, second column: Dursha demonstrates good paddling form.

  • Back at the campsite, we all packed up. Rey, Federico, and their kids headed home to celebrate Father's Day with their wives while the rest of us drove to the town of Colonial Beach where we ate a late lunch at Dockside.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    For a few people, it was their first time camping. This was a great introduction to easy, family camping. There was plenty of stuff for the kids to do and it was far from "roughing it." Norma and I felt it was a big success. Maybe we'll do it again next year, choosing someplace different but just as fun!