One other incredibly important part of my weekend:
Jesus Todd emailed me Friday morning, inviting me to go hiking/swimming at a “sand lake” in an undisclosed location. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I decided to go anyway…and bring Janelle along.
Anyway…it turned out to be the coolest thing I have done all summer. Dan (you can call him “Mr. Todd” if you prefer) drove a carful of rowdy girls (okay, there were only three of us…but we were pretty giddy) out to the Pine Barrens. We parked along the road next to a spooky Christian camp with a creepy abandoned religion-themed miniature golf course. (Note: Janelle and I will be returning to this spot for a ye olde photo session). As soon as we got out of the car, we coated ourselves with insect repellant (mosquitoes really, really love me). We walked for about 15 minutes to the entrance to the forest. Along the way, we passed a 90s big screen television that was heaved over the guardrail. It was a pretty impressive piece of litter.
The forest was filled with whippoorwills and buzzing locusts. Of course, we saw a lot of beer bottles for the first 15 minutes. After that, it became more and more apparent that we really were in the middle of nowhere. We came across some railroad tracks…filled with the longest line of seemingly abandoned oil tankers. There was something really creepy about it. JT agreed with me on this.
We emerged from the pine trees into what seemed like a mirage: white sand as far as the eye could see, with a beautiful clear lake in the center. The lake was a lot bigger than I imagined! Dusk was approaching as we made our way to meet up with the others (various friends of Dan and JT). A big fire was built just as the very orange moon began to rise from behind the trees.
The water was surprisingly warm.
The sand felt like powder.
The beer, chips, and vegan cookies that we brought with us tasted better than ever.
The sky was so clear…Janelle and I lamented our lack of in-depth constellation knowledge.
Little frogs hopped around along the water and in the forest. We saw no fish and there were no plants in the lake.
We stayed until 2 am…the hike back out of the forest and to our car was long. Several times I felt very frightened, but I kept it to myself…no need to freak out the girls (Dan was back at the lake camping with the others). At one point, I thought I saw a man hiding in the trees. I couldn’t stop thinking about how cliche horror movie the entire scenario seemed. Three women, somewhat scantily clad, walking through a desolate forest. It was just begging for an axe murderer to emerge from a dark corner. Later JT admitted that she had a few moments of panic, too.
Even though I lost my keys at the sand lake (all easily solved with a few phone calls and a night spent on Janelle’s sofa), I am itching to return as soon as possible. Janelle and I are hoping to go out there in late August. We want to take photos, possibly wear costumes, swim for hours, and watch the stars. Who wants to come with us? Does anyone excel at building fires? Wildlife photography? Carrying heavy supplies? We want you!
P.S. I will never tell you the actual location of this spot.