American Locations 8 – Corolla, Outer Banks

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Corolla, Outer Banks, North Carolina

 

We drove back onto the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk and turned north on Rte. 12. Where stopped for our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Since it was our first day on the beach we posed for photos.

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As you can see, there wasn’t anyone out swimming. A few were wading in the surf, or fishing, but most people were merely enjoying the sun on the beach. The surf was still strong from the lingering effects of the just-vacated hurricane. Did you notice the red flag in the previous photo? Red flags were out everywhere on the coast.

We got back in our motor home and drove north on Rte. 12 to the end of the road.

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As the sign says, four-wheelers are allowed to continue north on the beach. And, of course, you can walk as far north along the beach as you desire, as long as you can find a parking space, which are scarce. The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge is just north of the end of the road. Here is a Wikipedia entry about the place:

 

Currituck National Wildlife Refuge (/ˈkʊrɪtʌk/),[1] located on the northern end of North Carolina‘s Outer Banks, was established in 1984 to preserve and protect the coastal barrier island ecosystem. Refuge lands are managed to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl and to protect endangered species such as piping ploversea turtles, and seabeach amaranth.

Habitat types common to most barrier islands are found on the refuge. Moving westward from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound, these habitats include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, interdunal wetlands (flats), maritime forests and shrub thickets. Currituck Sound’s shoreline is made up of brackish water marshes and occasionally, mudflats that have been exposed by wind tides. A few forested islands also exist on the refuge. Monkey Island, a noted bird rookery, provides nesting habitat to several species of wading birds. It is also currently the most northerly known native habitat of the Sabal minor palm.[2][3] In addition to Sabal palms, vegetation within these diverse habitat types include several varieties of beach grasseslive oakloblolly pinewax myrtlecattailssedges and rushes, black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) and giant cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides).

Various types of wading birdsshorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, mammals (including feral horses), reptiles, and amphibians common to the eastern United States, are found on the refuge. The endangered piping plover and loggerhead sea turtle sometimes nest on refuge beaches and dunes.

The refuge has a surface area of 8,316 acres (33.65 km2).[4]

 

The main attraction are the wild horses that live on the beach. Unable to park, we turned around and drove back south on Rte. 12. Our next stop was to see the Currituck Lighthouse.

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I climbed to the top. My wife wasn’t up to all the stairs.

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The view was great from up there.

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I descended and rejoined my wife, who was patiently waiting on the front porch of the visitor center.

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A park ranger had one of the wild horses that had been brought in from wildlife preserve just to the north for people to view and interact with. It didn’t look too wild to me. We walked on a boardwalk through billowing sea oats – the wind was blowing pretty hard, an effect of the receding hurricane – to the beach. As you can see from the deep footprints in the third photo, beyond the boardwalk was thick mud. Needless to say, we stayed on the boardwalk.

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From the end of the boardwalk we could look back to see the lighthouse.

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And across to another boardwalk.

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Next Location – Duck, Outer Banks

 

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