It was almost a longer drive to Assateague Island than our stay here, but that’s ok. I’ve been wanting to camp here since biking to the island with my Bet and Christa several years ago on one of our bike trip adventures. It’s difficult to get a spot on the weekends, so when I saw a site available for just Wednesday and Thursday nights, I grabbed it.
Assateague Island is a National Seashore, a 37-mile long barrier island that spans the Maryland and Virginia coastlines. On the Virginia side, its claim to fame is Chincoteague and the wild horses that gave rise to Misty of Chincoteague and related books back in the late 1940’s. Bet and I visited Chincoteague after Assateague and were sorely disappointed by the honky-tonk nature of the town. There, the herd is fenced in to keep it safe from the zillions of tourists who flock to the town every year to buy tchotchkes and t-shirts and ogle the horses (if they can find them). Assateague is almost as opposite as a place can get — one end is a Maryland State Park, the other end is the National Seashore. Both parks fiercely protect the horses that live wild here. When you check in to the National campground, they make you read and sign a statement about the protection of the horses: don’t leave anything outside at night so the horses don’t try to eat stuff that will harm them; don’t stand closer than 40 feet; don’t try to entice them; if a horse approaches you, move as far away as you can.The reward for campers respecting the horses is that they are very visible. They walk through the campsites, take drinks from any fresh water spigot that is dripping, and nicely coexist with the campers.
The official herd count in May 2019 showed that there are 77 horses in the herd, 55 mares and 22 stallions. Within the past year, one foal was born and one horse died. The herd is on their own when hurricanes blow through, and they always seem to head to high ground when a big storm is coming. All survived recent hurricane Dorian.
The big, windy storm that is hitting Connecticut today blew through here over the last 3 or so days resulting in 10’ waves and a very dangerous rip current. Pictures don’t truly capture how the waves would explode as they curled toward shore.
As usual, we met some very nice people here, Marge, Pat, Marie and Mike from the Philly area. They invited us to their campfire last night where we exchanged stories about traveling, what else? Thanks for the new apps, Pat!
All in all, it was a short, but sweet, visit to Assateague Island.