*In order to encourage you to take this tour yourself, I am not going to go into a lot of details about the information we learned on this trip. It is worth paying the about-$40-a-person to take this tour yourself. I promise you, it will be better than a day of parasailing or watercrafts!
On the Friday of our vacation, the middle generation-ers took a morning to go on a wild horse tour with Corolla Jeep Adventures.
Our tour guide was John, and he was incredible. He reminded us of Matthew McConaughey with his accent, his energy, and his excitement, but the thing that stuck out the most was his passion. He loves these horses and knows them very well. He is an advocate for them, as many people are trying to control their populations by saying that they are an invasive species. I have to agree with John that they were anything but that. Peaceful, gentle, beautiful, and not at all harmful to the land. It was absolutely amazing to share space with these creatures who have evolved to survive but not demolish the land over hundreds of years on the island.
The 10 AM tour started with a quick overview before hitting the road in our open-air truck. Once we got to the 4-wheel beach, we zoomed down it for a ways, hitting the bumps and making me hope that the cage above us was a strong roll-bar… just in case. Thankfully I sat in the front, but I know that those in the middle and back rows had a LOT more bumps than us.
We veered off the beach to go to Penny’s Hill, the highest point on the island. From here, we could see acre upon acre, from the ocean to the sound. We also found a huge turtle up there, just hanging out. At this point, John taught a lot about the ecology of the island, including the signs to look for with the horses.
We also got some pretty incredible shots of all of us overlooking the area. Please excuse the wind-blown hair.
After a short drive more, we found our first horses, and John explained about this particular pack and the history of this harem.
We even found Santa’s summer home!
On driving back on the beach again, we found an area that was roped off, and John drove closer. Turns out that it was a beached baby seal, and it looked like animal control was trying to figure out what was happening to it and how they could help. The week before, a seal was found further south on the island, and biologists are trying to figure out why they are coming so far south. This seal was still moving, but we didn’t know if it was hurt.
We found a second pack of horses further north, and it just confirmed how peaceful and amazing these gentle giants are.
Upon racing back on the beach (after 2.5 hours of our 2 hour tour), we suddenly stopped at the water’s edge for John to pull something from the water: 2 pieces of fulgurite. Fulgurite is made when lightning hits the sand and creates natural glass. It turns out we had seen these all over the beaches of Corolla, but didn’t know what they were. Once we could identify them, we got tons and tons back at our beach house. I later found out that the 4×4 beach and the beaches of Corolla are the best places around to find fulgurite. What a neat beach find for a girl who loves searching for perfect (and imperfect) seashells.
And one final glance before leaving the 4×4 beach: a row of birds, enjoying the sunshine!