After our fun trip to Cape May, we were so excited to go on our next adventure to Assateague Island. This day trip has been on our list for awhile and we were told by so many people that we “had to go” so we were thrilled to finally go and see the “PONIES!” I probably drove Dave crazy chanting “PONIES” all weekend long. Have you seen the Jimmy Kimmel piece, “I Gave My Kids A Terrible Present?” To get an idea as to how I said PONIES, at about 3:50 in the clip you can check it out here, or below.
You’ll see the little kid talking about how he got PONIES from Santa. HI-LAR-IOUS. And if you haven’t seen the entire video, you should watch it. Anyway, once we arrived in the park, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center to grab some pamphlets and maps. Then we were off to the races.
We wondered if we would actually see PONIES because sometimes we don’t have the best luck when it comes to observing wildlife. We couldn’t believe it when we rounded the corner and there were 2 ponies, not one, not TWO! We (or I) was over the moon. Of course we’ve seen ponies before, but not Assateague ponies. We saw a few more before arriving at our first stop, Marsh Nature Trail. It’s a short little roundabout trail that offers nice views of the marsh. Throughout the day, we saw tons of hoof prints and I was afraid that we’d stumble upon the horseys, startle them and cause a stampede. After that nice little circuitous jaunt, we headed off to hike the Dunes Nature Trail.
We learned at the Visitor’s Center that about 60 years ago, the island was going to be developed, but a storm submerged the island and put a stop to everything. It was so bizarre to walk along the trail and see manmade features in such a beautiful place. We walked on crumbling asphalt that was slowly eroding away from the natural elements and passed by signs indicating the plots that were going to be for sale. The day was hot and it felt like we were walking in a desert. The whole trail was a walk in the sand and we were thankful to have our hiking boots.
By the end of this hike we were ready to hit the beach. We started walking along the beach and as in our usual style we just kept walking and walking until we were the only ones on the beach. We were getting ready to turn around and start heading back when Dave spotted them….a herd of wild ponies off in the distance. They were a good mile away so we plowed forward hoping that they wouldn’t run away….and they didn’t. We sat on the beach and took so many pictures. We reveled in the moment. They were so beautiful and it was so awesome to see them playing and trotting around. We hung around with them for a good hour before they headed farther into the dunes. What a fantastic end to such a beautiful Easter Sunday day trip. (That evening we headed to Dogfish Head for dinner, got ice cream at Archies on Rehoboth Avenue and strolled along the boardwalk)
WHAT WE BROUGHT
1 North Face backpack
ShOW ME THE DOUGH
Fuel=~110 miles round trip=$12.00
It’s hard to believe that we hiked this trail 2 years ago, March 20, 2010. What do we remember about this hike? Well, it was a very hilly hike loaded with lots of steep inclines and declines making it an excellent workout. You can check out all of the hike details on Hiking Upward, our go-to site for our hiking adventures. We still laugh to ourselves because as we were hiking, we were wondering where the first overlook was…..and we didn’t realize until we were returning back to home base that we had passed it entirely. We have no idea how we missed it. It was looking us right in the face! I think what got us a little disoriented was that we couldn’t park at Bears Den…it was under construction due to a recent storm. So, we ended up parking along State Route 601 and hopping onto the trail a little bit further along from the “real starting point.” What we really liked about the trail was that it connected to the Appalachian Trail. Any chance to hike on the AT trail makes us giddy with excitement as it is one of our lifetime quests to thru-hike the entire trail from start to finish. The hike is adjacent to Raven Rocks, which was one of our very first local hikes. Details of that adventure can be found here. One of the highlights of the hike is that it’s located only about an hour away from DC.
Have you guys done any hiking recently? If so, where? Give us the scoop!
Well, the weather was fabulous. The scenery? Didn’t really match the weather……very brown for the most part, but we saw some green that was starting to peek through. Mason Neck State Park and Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge are about 20 miles south of Washington, DC. Who knew?! Did you?! Our main goal was to do some hiking and see some wildlife. If you click on the wildlife refuge link, it lists the hundreds of species of wildlife that can be seen on the grounds. We didn’t entirely strike out on our scouting expedition as we did see a fair number of birds, so if you like bird-watching, this is a must-go-to place. This is what we saw:
• 1 other bird that we’re going to go out on a limb and call the Tufted Titmouse just for the heck of it though we have no idea what bird this really is. (that is a real bird’s name)
• 1 Hawk
• 3 Bald Eagles
We started off at the State Park and hiked the Kanes Creek Trail–>Eagle Spur Trail (which leads to the bird blind…we think this is where you can see eagles, but we only saw the heron and some people canoeing and fishing ) and then we hiked back to our starting point and then walked along the Beach Trail. We then drove to the refuge, which is located on the same road and hiked to a pavilion that has a spotting scope. We saw the eagles from afar with the spotting scope. They were a good half of a mile away, but we certainly did see them and they were beautiful.
The state park/refuge is fantastic if you are looking for solitude and the terrain is pretty flat and the trails are well-maintained too. The park was pretty empty when we arrived at around 1:00 pm. (We got off to a late start thanks to Daylight Saving Time.) Dave was sure the park would be JP (jam-packed, the kid loves to abbrev. everything. but to his surprise it wasn’t.
WHAT WE BROUGHT
LIVE AND LEARN
We’d like to go back early in the morning so that we can catch a glimpse of the eagles feeding. We’ve also been thinking that we may need to invest in a good pair of binoculars. Any suggestions?