Monday, August 9, 2010

Assateague Island National Seashore

We deviated from our beach routine and headed south today. At the moment, Evelyn's bedtime novel is the 1947 children's book, Misty of Chincoteague, and she wanted to see the Assateague ponies first-hand. Assateague Island National Seashore was our destination . . . both the Maryland and Virginia sides.

We initially planned to hike two of the three short Maryland trails in the morning. However, there were WAY too many mosquitoes on the Life of the Forest Trail (even 40% Deet bug spray didn't keep them away), and it was too hot and sunny for the Life of the Sand Dunes Trail. We started out on both trails, but we bailed about five minutes into each one. Here is the only shade we found on the sand dunes trail; the girls didn't want to leave this sun shield.
As we drove out of the Maryland section of the park, Evelyn saw her beloved ponies. She was able to pick out the stallion (on the far left), the foal (scratching its head on the tree) and two of the stallion's mares. She particularly liked the mare with white patches.

We drove an hour and fifteen minutes further south to get into the Virginia side of Assateague Island National Seashore, which is right next to the town of Chincoteague. Shortly after entering the park, we saw a group of ponies. We pulled over to the side of the road to get a better look at the horses. If you look closely, in addition to the horses in the grass, you can also see horses in the trees on the right. These ponies were too far away for Evelyn to pick out the stallion and mares. However, she remembered that Pony Penning Day had occurred only two weeks ago, which meant we wouldn't see many foals on Chincoteague.
In addition to all of our pony sight-seeing, we stopped to check out the Assateague Lighthouse. After a short hike (through trees that weren't mosquito-infested), we wandered around the base of the lighthouse.

Knowing that Julia couldn't care less about going to the top of the lighthouse, Evelyn and I made the trek up 198 stairs to the top. This picture was taken looking east, toward the Atlantic Ocean.