Friday, June 3, 2011

Wild Horses Keep Dragging Me Away - Wild Mustangs of the Outer Banks

Stump and I headed north of Nags Head into Corolla (pronounced Cor-ah-la), in search of the wild horses that roam free on the dunes and beaches of the island.
The horses have inhabited the island since the 1500s. It is thought that they are descendants of Spanish mustangs, who were casualties of the numerous shipwrecks in the area. Some think that they escaped the shipwrecks, others think that they were thrown overboard to lighten the loads of ships that had become stuck in the shallow water off the coast. Either way, these beautiful animals have survived in the wild for a half of a century.

Coralla is about an hour's ride from Nags Head. We had reservations with Back Country Safari Tours in Corolla Light Town Center for 3:30. We arrived a little early, so we stopped just across the sidewalk at Uncle Ikes Sandbar and Grill for a little lite fare.

Not my best picture. It was soooo hot!

A couple of beers and a wonderful seafood nacho plate complete with crab meat and cheese. To. Die. For.
Our guide, Vinny

We would be driving to an area of the OBX that can only be accessed via a four wheel drive vehicle. The sand is soft, fluffy, and deep. Even with the 4-wheel drive, our guide said they had to keep the tire pressure to half of the recommended PSI to avoid being stuck. 
We pulled off of the paved road onto the beach, where we would be driving farther north for approximately one half hour. Riding on the beach was very enjoyable. There was a cool breeze coming from the ocean, which is just what we needed to beat the heat.
We turned left and drove up a huge dune in search of the wild horses. I've never been four wheeling in the sand, but it is definitely something I would love to do again.
Just across the dunes, there was lots of vegetation growing in the sand for the horses to feed.

We spotted horses feeding outside of people's homes
Some were feasting on top of the dunes

Basil grows wild in the area and is very plentiful. Our guide pulled some from a branch for us to smell. The aroma was incredible. This is as fresh as it gets!
All of the homes in the area were over-the-top. It was hard to imagine having to get to your house with a four wheel drive. 911 calls can take up to 45 minutes out here.

Coast Guard building in the dunes

A colt feeding on grass
The center of the "city" boasts a fire department/rescue squad

The only double-wide trailer on stilts. I guess a redneck would really be at home out here!

The house on the right is a 25 room rental. Most people use this for weddings. It can be your beach rental for a mere $25,000 per week! Talk about waspy..
"The Christmas Tree House", as referred to by the guide
We saw several horses on our safari. There was also other wildlife to observe on the beach. Memorial Day weekend had brought out the party-goers in droves. Just look at this truck transformed into a party boat. This vehicle was complete with a sound system and a flame thrower. They were really partying!
The "Gypsy Queen" - Half truck, half boat
A tow truck comes to the aide of stuck beach goers - A dog sitting on the back as if he owns the business himself. Our guide said the tow truck owner considers the dog his partner. The dog keeps the children entertained while his master rescues the parents.

Stump on the beach after a great wild horse safari.

I really enjoyed this adventure. It lasted about three hours in total. Our guide was awesome, and we would love to have him again. I highly recommend this to everyone, young and old, when you visit the Outer Banks.


  1. Holy cow...this place looks AMAZING!

    Like paradise!

    "Basil grows wild in the area and is very plentiful. Our guide pulled some from a branch for us to smell. The aroma was incredible. This is as fresh as it gets!'

    Basil is perhaps my favorite herb, so I would have been grabbing handfuls and taking it home!

    Awesome photos! Love the shots of the horses.

  2. Ron, the pictures don't do this place justice! If you ever get a chance to go to the Outer Banks, jump on it! It *is* like paradise!

  3. Hi,
    My name is Sarah and I'm with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about Corolla to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)