Kelly: “Most people think of their weekend as Saturday and Sunday but in our line of work it’s more like Monday and Tuesday.”
Me: “But isn’t today Monday?”
Kelly: “Welcome to your weekend son!”
I recalled the words from earlier today as I sat on my tailgate alone on an empty beach. It was Monday but in the guide and tourism business, we were happy to have days off from the shop during the week. I had been in Aransas Pass for almost two weeks and even though I paddled almost every day for work at the harbor I had not been to the beach yet. Well, today was the day.
I loaded a camp chair and a small beach grill into the back of my gold F-150 pickup truck and headed for Port Aransas. Having your weekend start on a Monday wasn’t so bad. I drove down the causeway from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas with almost no traffic. The ferry ride across the channel took no time at all and before I knew it I was at the beach. The beach wasn’t completely deserted, but I easily found a spot to myself with no one in sight for a 100 yards in either direction.
First, I backed my truck in and dropped the tailgate so I could access gear stored under a platform I had added to the bed of my truck. I recycled an old tube used for floating I found from my river days to create the vinyl cover. The vinyl works great to protect the simple plywood structure from the summer sun, humidity, and rain.
Second, I grabbed a backpacking trowel and started to dig a hole big enough to bury my grill in the sand. I salvaged this grill from originally being thrown away when the legs broke off because it makes for a great beach grill. Once I had the bottom part of the grill set in the sand I dug out the side facing the water. I started with a wide fan shape that could feed wind toward a smaller tunnel under the grill. This way the wind provided oxygen that would be funneled up into the grill from the hole where the ashes fell through.
This feature allowed for the fire inside my grill to keep heat and flame while I kept the lid on blocking out sand from getting onto the food. I had a simple meal planned. Grilled corn and onions. It wasn’t glorious, but neither is camping out on the beach. We do it for the experience. The salty air, water, and sand is simple and washes away all our worries.
After I finished eating I sat on my truck bed and watched the clouds roll in. I have been many places and seen more than my fair share of nature, but the coastal clouds were a sight to see. The massive clumps of condensation could be spotted far off in the distance as they slowly make their way over land.
There’s a time for work and there’s a time for reflection. I don’t think I could’ve spent my time any better that day than reflecting on an empty beach watching the clouds roll in against the setting sun. The night was alive with the whistling winds hitting the side of my tent. I drifted off to sleep as the waves lapped softly against the shore.
First light woke me as the sun broke the glass of the watery horizon. I decided to go for a paddle in the surf before heading out. Like the night, the ocean was alive at daybreak tossing me from my kayak in a flurry of bubbles. I was wet. I was sandy. I was salty. I was happy.