Wild Horses and a Chance Meeting ~ Cape Lookout National Seashore

“Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away.  Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them someday.”  ~ The Rolling Stones

Jutting out into the Atlantic, off the coast of North Carolina, runs a low, narrow ribbon of sand, dunes, seagrass, and dense vegetation known as the Outer Banks.  At the southernmost end of this strand of barrier islands sits Cape Lookout National Seashore, running 56 miles in length, and consisting of three barrier islands, Shackleford Banks, North Core Bank, and South Core Bank.

Shackleford Banks is nine miles in length and one mile across and is home to more than 110 wild horses, the Banker Horses.  Smaller in stature than other similar breeds, most likely due to the limited nutrients in their diet, many refer to them as the Banker Ponies.   Researchers believe the Bankers came over from Spain, via Hispaniola (located between Cuba and Puerto Rico) in the early 16th century.  We are on a quest for these wild beauties.

Hopping on a ferry to Shackleford, we were told not many horses had been seen recently but I was determined to see just one, that’s all I wanted.  Well ok, what I secretly desired watching an entire herd racing along the beach, sand and spray following in their wake.  A girl can dream, can’t she?

While others hopped off the ferry with beach gear in hand, we headed to the interior, hoping to find horses in a sheltered part of the island.  Cresting a sand dune an hour later, our search was over.  A band of eight grazed in the grassy meadow below us.  Not wanting to spook them, we sat down in the grass to watch, not the most intelligent decision we made that day, but more about that later.  These little beauties allowed us to share their space for 30 minutes…ahh, life is good.

What started as a beautiful day observing wild horses ended with Terry in Urgent Care a couple of days later, with a series of events in between that were just meant to happen (no coincidences here).

The next day found us scrambling to change our plans to take our RV, via ferry, to Ocracoke, thanks to a poorly constructed temporary bridge we happened to cross, one very rickety wooden, steeply pitched bridge that looked impossible to traverse without getting our home stuck.  And we had to cross this bridge to get to Cedar Island to pick up the ferry. 😦

Terry’s thoughtful decision to let the campground manager know about the bridge construction allowed us to meet a lovely couple from Maine the next afternoon, and a very lucky meeting it was to be.

Terry surprised me that morning by announcing he needed help ridding himself of not one, but three ticks, and guess where he most likely picked up these creepy little bacteria/disease ridden arachnids.  Yep, sitting in the grass at Shackleford.  Two of them were content to stop feasting on hubby but one was determined to stay.   Tweezers and some patience disrupted his plans but a part of me was still a bit nervous as we didn’t know how long they had been attached and they were teeny, tiny, not easy to identity.

Enter Richard and Sigrid, the lovely couple from Maine, who stopped by to discuss the bridge situation as this was also their planned route to Ocracoke. The conversation moved on to the subject of ticks, with them being quite knowledgeable, having spent their lives in Maine.  One look and they said “you need to have that looked at” and within the next few minutes we were headed to Urgent Care.

Yep, those tiny little ticks were what we had feared, deer ticks, potential carriers of Lyme disease, and they had been attached most likely in excess of 48 hours.  Before we had gotten to the doctor, a “halo” had formed around one of the bite areas.  A round of antibiotics and Terry should be good to go.  He was happy to surrender his halo, even though it would most likely be the only one he would ever have. 😉  Our many thanks to Richard and Sigrid who urged Terry towards the doctor, a place he, like so many, is reluctant to go.

We continue our exploration northward in the Outer Banks.  Brrr, what happened to spring?