Two small women, sisters, trudge over a tall sand dune on their quest. The sand slips beneath their feet and the sun is warm as it peeks through the clouds. The dune is higher than they thought, but seeing the East Coast wild horses has been the elder sister’s dream since she was twelve and read Misty of Chincoteague. At the top of the dune, we realize that walking the way the 4-wheel drive cars have gone in would have been much easier.
The day is a little overcast and the public beach is well used. A fence with turnstile gate separates the National Park Service area for the wild horses from the public beach. On the other side of the turnstile, several Corolla police and park rangers gather around their transportation – tricycle dune buggies.
I ask, “is there any chance we will be able to see the wild horses if we walk down the beach?” The police and rangers assure us that the horses are at the beach today, and only about a mile down. They point out the stopped cars in the distance and explain that the horses are near the water today so that the breeze off the ocean chases away the biting flies. They also suggest we hitchhike!
My sister and I start sticking out our thumbs as we walk down the beach near the ocean. Finally a woman with a jeep stops for us, although she tells us she thought we were kidding. Her name is Kelly, and she is the local postmaster on her way home after work. Kelly drops us off near the parked cars and reminds us not to get too close to the wild horses.
We snap multiple pictures and start walking back. This time we take off our shoes so that we can walk in the ocean (and also stay away from the biting flies). I lend the scarf from my hat to my sister to protect her head and face from sunburn. The horses are following us! We stop and snap more pictures but when the horses get about twenty feet away, they begin milling around. They want to continue down the beach, but we are too close. We hurry on down the beach a bit and let them continue at their own pace.
Huge seagulls and terns are landing and taking off again with bits of shell and possibly other sea creatures. The day is beautiful, my quest is satisfied, and I got to share it with my sister.
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