As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we have our Facebook contest winners! Here is the second place story written by Yvonne Shepherd of Chesapeake, VA.
Twenty-one women met at the southern-most end of Virginia Beach for a Wild Women’s Weekend to be held at False Cape State Park. Our backgrounds or reasons for being there were diverse and multi-faceted. Some of us were there with one or more friends, while others came alone. It was a time to reflect, a time to dream. It was a time to become Wild Women.
We loaded our bags onto an old school bus and Mary Jo, park interpreter, drove us the seven miles from Little Island City Park to the Environmental Education Center (EEC) at False Cape. We had to pass through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and along the way we saw an osprey nest, the results of rooting feral pigs and three different types of egrets- the great egret with their yellow bills and black legs; the snowy egret with black bills and yellow feet and cattle egrets that once lived amongst the wild horses roaming Virginia’s Outer Banks.
Our arrival at the EEC was met with the aroma of simmering tomato sauce and garlic. Patti, our chef, had prepared a wonderful array of fruit, hummus and salsa as appetizers. Before the evening meal, kitchen duties were assigned for the weekend and we found our beds- bunkhouse style. We soon began the transformation from our regular daily lives to the calm and peace that False Cape offers all visitors. Conventional time was slipping away to be picked back up on Sunday afternoon.
Our first night included a Night Hike where we called for the Barred Owl, the Eastern Screech Owl and learned about other night creatures. Flashlights were used sparingly as our eyes adjusted naturally to the darkness and moonlight. Our path led us to the ocean where the solitude on the beach wrapped around us like an old friend. We welcomed its embrace as thousands of stars looked down from the heavens.
Saturday was self-paced with options for yoga, nature walks, journaling, or gathering plants and herbs for dinner. Vickie was our naturalist guide and she taught us about edible plants and herbs along with survival tips. After another delicious meal on Saturday evening, including some herbal tea from our gathering, the moon began to rise over Back Bay. Its arrival was celebrated by Sara, our fire dancer. Her graceful dance was accompanied by recorded tribal music and live music played by the women on drums, didgeridoo and clap sticks. We were then given our own glo stick for a chance to participate in a much less harmful type of fire dancing.
Sunday was bittersweet as we gathered our belongings for the trip back to civilization. Cameron, assistant park ranger, showed up with the Terragator- a multi-access vehicle designed for low impact on the environment. The trip back along the ocean’s edge was the perfect mode of transportation for the Wild Women. New friendships had formed, old ones were renewed and our spirits had been lifted. Our weekend living as Wild Women would remain in our hearts forever.
Yvonne Shepherd won a free First Landing State Park.