Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer is for Camping, Concerts, and Baseball

Summer. The word conjures images of rest, relaxation, and time to recharge. Or at least it does when you are a kid. :) For me it also brings to mind civil war battlefield anniversaries (thus far during the past two summers I have photographed commemorative events at Richmond, Second Manassas, Harpers Ferry, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Vicksburg), never more so than at present when I just returned from spending the last week in Gettysburg, PA helping to document the commemoration of the largest, most costly, and most well known battle of the war. For me this was, quite literally, a dream come true, but that is a story for a later post. :) This one is about the other activities of summer.

My Mom recently sent a text message reminding me that 23 years ago, on one of the hottest days ever recorded in Phoenix, we went to watch the circus animals unload from the train when it was 122 degrees outside. Thankfully the temperatures in Virginia do not reach that height, but with the humidity, the experience can easily be just as miserable. I personally find the humidity to be far more intolerable than the dry Arizona heat and it can be challenging to find summer activities that can be safely done outdoors.

One of the best options is to go camping in the mountains, something I have succeeded in doing all three of my previous summers in the area. This year, we had recently discovered that some good friends of ours had never been tent camping and had not yet had the pleasure of visiting our beloved Shenandoah National Park. Thus we were presented with a perfect excuse for a Weekend Camping Excursion into the Mountains.

As it turned out, a large storm reminiscent of last year's derecho rolled in the day before we departed, which was an ideal scenario in which to begin a camping trip. The result of the storm's passage was near perfect weather for the entire weekend and a notable lack of bugs, which can be quite noisome in June. The weekend was everything we hoped for, complete with grilling a pork tenderloin, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, hiking to waterfalls, blackberry shakes, and blackberry ice cream.

No summer would be complete without baseball and we have tried to take advantage of our proximity to the Washington Nationals to catch games whenever we can. These past couple of weeks included series with the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Diego Padres. We were able to get to at least one game in each series, and I went to one of the Rockies games on my own (Alison had to work) in order to get a free tote bag. :) We generally sit in the $5 nosebleed seats, which is still fun and provides a nice overview of the game. A few weeks ago Alison came across a Groupon deal for the Padres game on July 5 that included seats on the 3rd base line and $10 in credit at any concession stand. It was too good to pass up, so we used money I had received from my birthday to snag four tickets so that we could attend with two friends as well.

The bummer about it was that the game was the same day that I returned from Gettysburg, so I was 
pretty wiped out, but it was still a lot of fun to be so much closer to the game. It was also great to enjoy an italian sausage and Ben's Half Smoke without actually having to pay for them!

On June 23 the largest full moon of the year, the "Supermoon" made its presence known. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try and photograph it so Alison and I positioned ourselves near the Iwo Jima Memorial in hopes of catching the moon as it rose over the city. It turned out that the cloud cover was so heavy that the horizon was completely obscured and we didn't have near the dramatic moon viewing opportunity that I had hoped, but we were still able to capture some Impressive Shots of the Memorial with the Moon Behind it.

The next evening, on June 24, Alison and I joined a sold out crowd to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers perform at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.Ever since we heard them perform "Me and Paul Revere" (the story of Paul Revere's ride told from the perspective of his horse) during the Capitol Fourth concert two years ago, we have both been fans of their music. We actually walked down the aisle to one of their songs and danced to another at our wedding. We had oft commented that it would be fun to see them live and when we found out they were coming to Wolf Trap it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Alison gave me tickets to the show during our Weekend Retreat to Cape May and we enjoyed a lovely evening in reasonably tolerable summer weather.

Thus far, despite the humidity, our summer has been a good one!

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