Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wild Horses of North Carolina

After we left Washington, DC we made our way towards the “Outer Banks” of North Carolina. Our goal was to get to Corolla, NC and the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge which is located on the north end of the Corolla Island. We were going to see the wild horses!

The history of these wild horses living here started about 500 years ago when the Spanish explorers arrived to this coast area. Because these coastal waters are very shallow the Spaniards would sometimes need to toss heavy items overboard to keep afloat. The ancestors of the horses that inhabit this area now are descendents of those who swam ashore.

The horses adapted to this coastal region and in the mid 1980's a paved road was built and some serious construction of homes began. Sadly, the horses would be hit by motorists, so a fence was put up that spans from the Atlantic across the stretch of land to the sound on the other side to contain them in an 1800 acre refuge. They are safe now.

The highway which runs up this area of the outer banks also extends on to the beach and similar traffic laws apply, with reduced speed, maintaining a minimum of 50 feet distance from the horses and obeying standard traffic laws. Of course, we saw every one of these laws broken during our tour. People can be really stooopid!

Here is a shot of the highway.

As our tour guide drove us down the beach we were lucky enough to see several horses enjoying the cooling breeze and ocean air. What an amazing sight this was!

A mama and her babe!

We were also driven inland to find more horses and we saw several, but the shots didn't come out so good. Except for this one. This is a horse they have named Cyclops...for an obvious reason. He only has one eye. He lost the other fighting to maintain his herd of females. You can tell by his attitude towards us, even enclosed in our vehicle that he means business. His females were just on the other side of a thicket. Our tour guide was very respectful of Cyclops and kept a good distance from him, well over the 50 feet mandated by law.

I was able to find my home out here! Isn't she beautiful?

There are 100's and 100's of these homes all built out in the sandy dunes of this refuge. I can only imagine the amount of money required to get the materials out here along with the labor. Most of the homes were built as vacation rental units. What a fun time that would be!

There are also many weddings held out in this area. We spotted these two. This one with the guests just their fancy the sand!

And this one where the happy couple have already taken their vows and are now having some stunning photos taken. What an amazingly beautiful location for such a special event.

Back onto the “highway” and headed down the beach to see more horses we also saw these amazing cypress tree stumps along the shoreline. Remnants of an old cypress forest that grew here peek up out of the ocean waves. I am so intrigued by the thought of just how old these stumps are and that they remain even with the constant motion of the water. 

And these sweet little birds that get to forage around these ancient stumps and shells washed up along the shore. This is truly a magical place on the planet.

After our amazing adventure, we had some of the best BBQ I have ever had a little place called the Duck Deli, in the town of Duck. If you get to this area make sure to stop here for a meal. Crazy good!

See you at the next stop!


williamsburg beader said...

BBQ on the outer Banks is OK, but the seafood is out of this world! Great photos! I'm glad you had fun!

Patricia Williams said...

That's right Beki, you can't beat NC BBQ...its the best ever. And the NC coast is really a special place. That is why I call NC home! :D So glad you enjoyed our little slice of heaven! Safe trip home, gf. Pat in Cnarlotte

LoriF said...

I'm obviously way behind reading, but I had to laugh at this post. Small world! I'm 95% certain the house you pictured on the Outer Banks is the one a friend rented for a vacation in...hmmm...2004? I recognize the balconies and the color..
Beautiful photos!