Assateague Island+Chincoteague wildlife refuge fall 2016-Where the wild horses are…

This fall for school break we decided to go a long road-trip to see the wild horses at Assateague Island in Maryland. We left from Columbus  and stayed in Delaware the first night we hot wired a really nice hotel and the next day drove a short 2 hours to the island.14721704_10210796355602742_6035072580910012159_n

Assateague island is also a national seashore so our park pass worked for the entrance, we enjoyed the visitors center first,picked up a map and then drove into the park.

Now we went in the middle of October so we expected to potentially run into rainy and cold weather, but instead we had some of the sunniest and warmer days. We drove to each trail that was clearly mapped out on map that we got from the visitors center and walked around the boardwalks in search of the wild horses. We saw plenty of other wildlife,birds,fish and even butterflies, as you can see in the picture above, we got a great pair of binoculars since our Yellowstone trip! Look at those blue skies! 14572811_10210825414889206_2164138588069172261_nimg_0060The upkeep of all the trails and walkways was amazing and made our visit more enjoyable. img_0049Finally we saw the wild horses! right away you could tell who the leader was and how they worked together to navigate the marshy terrain was amazing. img_0085As we walked back to our car from the trail we got a very closeup view of the ponies, they walk all over the island and have free range of all the roads. One of the most important things to remember as a visitor are the instruction to maintain at least 10 feet distance from the ponies and not to pet or feed them, we unfortunately witnessed several people not following these rules and I am so glad no one got hurt that day.img_0088 I think that horses,just like any animal,are curious and when you make eye contact they can take that as challenge so we just averted our eyes and took slow steps until we were past them. I have to admit it was a little nerve-wracking.

It was so nice to see the horses roam free and around every corner we saw amazing views,I was so happy to use our new camera on this vacation! 14702328_10210826101706376_4234780388656498395_nWe explored the northern part of the island, the boardwalks really let us get close to the marshy areas, and they even have clamming at certain times. 14705748_10210826101466370_6386976475641394803_nThe beach trails had a little standing water on them,but nothing we couldn’t walk around. The pictures below are of the beach trail that contained remnants of a road that was in a town in the 1920’s, this shows how changing the island is and how manmade things can’t always withstand the forces of nature.

After exploring this part of the island we left the park and drove down to the Virginia side of the island,we drove onto the island and went through the Chincoteague wildlife refuge we used our park pass again (yay). Some of the trails had so much water that we couldn’t gain access but it was October and had recently rained, so we were not that surprised.

We did gain access to the beach and spent a few hours walking the beach and hiking to the abandoned fish hatchery and Coast Guard buildings, this was a pleasant hike and the views are worth the hike!

We went closer to the coast guard building and all of a sudden we started getting attacked by what we think were sand flies! They bit into our jeans and any exposed skin, we had to run back to the water away from the tall grass (it reminded me of a Jurassic park moment) we should have brought some bug-spray,we survived thankfully and next time we will bring some. The waves crashing and the blue of the skies really made this a peaceful and serene visit, not too many people and miles of beach to walk.

We loved our short visit to the islands of Assateague and Chincoteague, it is on our list of places to go back to! If you are ever near these island we recommend stopping in and exploring.

A few things we would do different next time

  1. Bring a tent. They have a lot of camping sites and with a beach and trails this place would be great to stay and explore.
  2. Bring bug-spray. We didn’t like being attacked by bugs and if you’re in certain areas they might be more concentrated.
  3. A off-road vehicle. Some of the beaches have areas you can drive an off-road vehicles, we thought that would be fun.
  4. A tripod. The wild horses are often far away from the main areas and our long-range camera lens could focus but the stability of my hands sometimes made the shots blurry.

 

Have a great week and COME back soon to read more of our travel and life adventures! as always comments and questions are welcome.

until next time,

cheers !!!

Rafaela S

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