Assategue Island was like coming home. I returned to the visitors’ center in hopes of seeing my friends. I would not be disappointed. Shortly after stepping up to the counter, Dick smiled, greeted me with a handshake and an earnest hello. We chatted for a bit and then he informed Kristie that I was looking for her. The energy she carried was still present. As before, she announced the birth of new foals and convinced me to look. Why did I listen to her? Once again my check book appeared as I prepared to adopt Dewey, a Pinto with blue eyes. I have to admit, he’s a cutie.
I made my way across the same bridge as before and began my search for wild horses. It didn’t take long before my wish was fulfilled. Not far from where I had noticed my first sightings, stood three horses in the dunes munching away. I joined the crowd that had gathered and began to click away for fear they would leave. I coasted further into the park and found at least ten horses scattered throughout more dunes, grazing on grass. One was so close you could touch him but I didn’t. (I followed the park rules!) After a very short walk on the beach, temperatures over 36 degrees and windy, I returned to my car. Just as I descended the sand dune, I noticed the familiar Audi S5 leaving the parking lot. You may ask yourself, how does she know it’s his car? Easy, by his vanity plates, Chase Me.
I ran back to the Element, finding a note stuck between the glass and wiper blade. It read, “Beautiful, aren’t they?” The search for Monsieur was on again. Although he had the lead, I would find a way to gain ground. In the park the speed limit is 30 miles per hour and then the road was mine. For a moment, I forgot that I wanted to see the Assateague Lighthouse which required a drive across the Virgina state line. I eased up on the gas pedal and headed towards Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. After crossing a small bridge and using the roundabout, (I hate them) I finally made it to the Bateman Center/Refuge Visitor Center. This is a beautiful building with displays and an ample gift shop. I garnered my National Park Passport book stamps and moved on.
As I traveled towards Toms Cove Visitor Center, (managed by the National Parks Services) several horses were seen in the water area. They mingled in the bushes, among the trees and along the wet pathways far away. As you proceeded, numerous ducks, egrets and various wildlife greeted bird watchers and onlookers. This was a holiday weekend for Martin Luther King Jr, so all National Parks were free. It surprised me how many people took advantage of this and were rewarded by natures beauty. After gathering more seashells, I saved the best for last. A small trail led to the alternating red and white striped lighthouse that was rebuilt in 1867. I hate that I missed the opportunity to climb those old stairs to look out of the crow’s nest at all around. After several photos were taken, it was time to call it a day. The sun had given its last rays of light and the cold air was reclaiming the night. There were no regrets at all for this day. Ponies, a lighthouse and a handful of seashells courtesy of the ocean. A good life indeed.
- Assateague Pony