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The Outer Banks, NC Part 1

The night at the parking lot of the visitor center was a bit on the noisy side. Despite the noise, I enjoyed a good night's sleep. I was nice and, cozy with my heated blanket after charging my power station at the gas station, where I plugged it into an outside outlet (with permission.) 

I'm heading to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I want to check out the lighthouses on the island. Many years ago, I read a book about a lighthouse, a very remote one, which captivated my imagination. I can see myself as a lighthouse guard in a remote area.

On the north side of the Outer Banks is Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, where wild horses roam the beach. If you have a 4x4 vehicle, you can drive on the beach or take a guided tour. Because this is the off-season, only two tour companies are open, but the one tour they offer doesn't fit my timeline, so unfortunately, I need to skip that part. I do drive to Currituck Beach Lighthouse at the tip of Corolla.

It's a beautiful day here with sunshine and crisp air. I walk on the beach—just me and a single seagull. The relaxing sound of the waves welcomes me to North Carolina. 

My next stop is the Wright Brothers National Memorial. I will share —a small confession. One of the reasons I don't need to spend time researching places along my route is because Susan kindly shared her Google Maps with me. Thank you, Susan! (Susan is one of my Joshua Tree girls from my adventures of last year).

If you want an inspirational story or to understand what it means to persevere, come here or read about the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. I love how the ground is left as it was back in 1903. You can feel the story as you walk around.

Driving through the north part of the Outer Banks, you cannot be unimpressed with the big houses that line the shore. Maybe a few years back, I felt attracted to them, but today, a tiny home excites me more than anything. 

It's funny how simple things like a shower and electricity can make me excited and happy. I am camping tonight at a campground. I find $50 for a camping site is pretty expensive, but a hot shower and a long night with my heated blanket plugged into an outlet to give me a full blast of warmth is priceless. 

After a restful night and pleasant morning temperatures to get breakfast going, I am heading to Jockey's Ridge State Park for a short hike. (From Google: Jockey's Ridge State Park covers a 427-acre area, and includes the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States.) 

So far, I find the Outer Banks a little too commercial for me. I am thirsty for nature. As I start my hike and climb up the dune, the landscape opens widely for an endless horizon. I found my water!

The skies are blue, and the gentle wind moves between my curls. The sand is so soft that the ripple of the wind is a beautiful show of texture. 

I have the company of silence again. As I get to the trail's end, I find a tree still standing up with so much of its root exposed, not giving up and still fighting to stay upright. What an inspiration. 

Only when I notice the tip of the sign I am supposed to follow, do I understand what an active sand dune system is. The textures on the soft sand create a story full of movements. The wind is the paintbrush, and the sand is the canvas. Even a single tiny leaf makes its own art.

An urge to feel the sand gets me to take off my hiking boots and continue my hike. Wow, what a beautiful feeling the cold, soft sand feels between my toes.

Bodie Island Lighthouse is my next stop. It's a beautiful lighthouse, painted with black and white stripes. Unfortunately, all the lighthouses are closed to climb to the top at this time of the year.

Tonight, I am camping at Oregon Inlet Campground. Several national park campgrounds along Rt 12 (the main road on the Outer Banks) exist. They are simple campgrounds and good enough for me. 

I am fine finding a site without a reservation at this time of the year. I set up my van for the night and go for a walk on the beach. There is a magical feel to the ocean at wintertime. I am all bundled up with a hat and gloves. It is another cold night here.

The skies are gray, but not gloomy. Maybe because the ocean always makes me feel welcome. Far in the distance, a long line of birds are flying just above the sea. There is something in that image that always makes my heart skip a beat. To my wonderful surprise, they suddenly changed their course of direction, and are heading towards me. 

A big smile takes over my face. Those are my Pelicans I fell in love with last year. I call them my ugly, beautiful birds. Yes, I know it seems strange how I can write two opposite words to describe this bird. Well, at first they seemed ugly to me, until I found their beauty.

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