Off the shores 7
Long Weekend - Wish it was Longer
Always changing, always beautiful
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
We had to utilize the day best whatever manner and back in my mind was the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial and before this nearby was Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest natural sand dune system stretching to 420+ acres and one of the most significant landmarks on the Outer Banks. Always changing, always beautiful to visit and explore Friends of Jockey Ridge informs. Their gift shop in the Visitor Center features a museum about the cultural and natural history of the park including sand dunes, plants and wildlife, weather, pirates and local maritime history and has a hang gliding school as well. We approached the dunes from the back deck of the visitor center via the board walk and a climb uphill further reached us to see the magnificent view of the wide stretch of a desert-like spread. Thrilled we started taking shots after shots jumping in joy. Nature trails, a sound access and picnic areas were available and visitors came for viewing the sunset over the sound, bird watching and kite flying. Highest sand dunes on the east coast, these do not blow away because NE and SE winds blow the sand back and forth. Separate handouts informed about the environments its flora (southern red oaks, hickory, American sweetgum, loblolly pine, dogwood, sassafras and other small trees forming a sub-canopy) with flowering and fruiting in different seasons, nature trail with the type of fauna (gray fox, six-lined racerunner, Virginia opossum, tiger beetle, eastern spadefoot toad and antlion) including worms, insects, and reptiles and one on the benefits if wind power that Jockey’s Ridge has the turbine converting wind energy into electricity fed directly into the power grid. Wind energy system, it says, do not generate pollutants, produce hazardous waste, deplete natural resources or cause environmental damage nor does it requires significant amounts of water during operation.
Wright Brothers was a must see when we reached 60’Monument atop the Kill Devil Hill to have a bird’s eye view of the widespread Memorial Park with First Flight Airstrip. With full scale reproduction of the 1902 Glider and 1903 Flyer and Hangar with Quarters/Workshop, every year they continue the tradition of honouring Wilbur and Orville Wright at the celebration of the first heavier-than-air powered flight. A granite boulder marks the First Flight Boulder smaller stone markers First Flight Markers charter the four flights’ paths, distances, and landings with timings 12 seconds / 120 feet, 12 seconds / 175 feet, 15 seconds / 200 feet and 59 seconds / 852 feet. Some picture shots taken we rush through there as time was getting short of.
In the process we nearly missed our lunch as we had to report to the Wild Horse Adventure Tours by 5 but yet we had a hurried but sumptuous meal with bitter taste of Indian Pale Ale going well with my system attuned with no-no to sugar and potatoes though difficult to resist the tempting finger chips all these recent years. Vimal mentioned an anecdote about its origin - in olden days American had ventured out to India with the beer that went bad not lasting the journey period that prompted them make it bitter giving this name. To consume all these things my morning session of Yoga practice was of help that I took here also religiously to atone the sins done to my gastronomies all the while within the sharp loving eyes more of our daughter than her mother well accustomed to my ways bearing these all this far.
We rushed to the place for the Humvee Safari well in time to register ourselves with name, date of birth, place coming duly signed on the digital screen on the counter in the office where its gift shop had souvenirs depicting wild horses. Hummer Adventure Tour with our seatbelts tightened for the bumpy ride through rough terrain along the beaches and sand dunes with bushes, shrubs and dwarf pines, abundant equally was the houses some hot properties to own at the ocean front. When there were no sight of wild horses believed to be breed of the Spanish Mustang left ashore from the sunken ship more than 400 years ago, we had lost hope as even one quickly sighted by Vimal-Rachna and somehow unseen by us that Karthik later telling us back in his mind there arose an apprehension whether they would be refunding for the flop show in case we failed to sight any as per their website wildhorsetour.com with TripAdvisor had rated 5 stars from 4164 travel reviews. As we were half way through this two-hour adventure, some horses were seen and more later on, one with baby not more than two or two and a half months old that the young driver Ryan doubling as tour guide mentioned. Ruled by Tide magazine writes, Wild horses aren’t the only residents of Carova; two hundred people live here too, in deep connection with nature and each other. Ride was thrilling and much enjoyed Rachna capturing the joyful moments with apt words for comments to share.
Late lunch and the adventure trip made us stay back at Tern Inn, skip dinner allowing kids night out to enjoy. Their boardwalk near the Sunset Grille at Duck made them see plenty fishes and crabs in water from close quarters attracted by the bright light from the shops as Vimal found it so close and easy enough to pick them up with bare hands even. Earlier in the afternoon we had seen a family happy catching crabs container full and more in the basket at one place (rules disallow crabs less than 5” wide and more than 50 at a time while smaller ones should be returned to water) at another place a man trying his luck with a catch just made Karthik wishing him good luck chatting briefly interested on the hobby.