Wednesday, August 26, 2015


We went camping last week at Cape Henlopen State Park.  Tim and the three boys went last year, and again this June, but this was the first I had brought the girlies.  We had a lot of fun.

We went to the beach

to get bowled over by waves

or sit on the sand and dig.

Walked in the woods

 Found critters.

Sat around the campfire
and got sooty.

 Tim turned 37

and we had a steak dinner over the fire.

We explored the Cape Henlopen Bay.

And visited Fort Miles.
Fort Miles was an American military installation constructed during World World II to defend the Delaware Bay and the Delaware River to protect domestic shipping from foreign attack.  It had a base in Cape Henlopen, DE and one directly opposite Cape May, New Jersey, which is the land you can see across the water in the background, forming the opening to the Delaware Bay.

They constructed several gun batterys, like this one

The design was that people in the lookout towers would pinpoint the location of a German ship in the water.

They would call their information into the room where they would do page-long trignonometry equations to figure out where to aim the gun at the ship.

The control room would call their information down to the gun room,  

who could not see anything but only positioned the gun to where they were instructed, 
which would be loaded with the 12-16 inch wide shells.

The gunmen basically had no hearing protection, and after firing the 16 inch shells, the ears of the gunmen would bleed.  They were told to turn away and cover their ears and open their mouths to prevent their eardrums from exploding because the pressure from the gun firing sucked all of the air in the room momentarily.

The Delaware Bay also contained mines in case of submarine attack or a German ship.

The installation never saw major action, as no German ships ever attempted to enter the Bay.  It took 48 people to man one gun battery.  At it's peak, Fort Miles housed 2,200 people.  After the war, the land was turned over to the State Park.  It was a very interesting tour.

The last of the four nights we stayed, it poured rain at about 3 AM, two inches within one hour.  I thought we were ok, with only the barest of raindrops finding it's way through the tent cover, until I sat up to move some bags away from the side of the tent and realized that the entire floor of the tent was wet with the exception of the slight rise of the foam mattress I was sleeping on.  I immediately checked the girls, and lifted Caroline out of the puddle she was sleeping in, and she dripped water as I laid her on my bed, but didn't wake up.  Layla was also lying in water, but didn't wake up until I woke her for us all to run out to the minivan in the pouring rain where I tried to figure out what to do.  I ended up driving home, soaked to the bone, and we drove back the next morning after getting a good solid chunk of sleep in dry beds. :)


The odd intimacy
of a campsite in August
bared, tan limbs
makeup free faces
stubble and sweat and soot

We shuffle too and from the bathhouse
in the mornings
bedheaded and frowsy
yawning and puffy faced
clad in sleep clothes

Sharing bathrooms
and shower space
I blink at the profusity of a stranger's hair in the drain
and go about my washing

Brief smiles exchanged as we meet on the dirt path
we retreat back into our own personal space
cooking and laughing and fighting and birthday songs
on our side of the invisible line between campsites
yours to view with veiled curiousity
or apathetic detachment

hair pulled back
comfy clothes
flip flops

strangers living among strangers for a span of days
relaxing into their own patch of earth and sky and sand
to just be

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