The Outer Banks National Seashore was the first part of our trek; we drove south from Nag’s Head into the skinny park that occupies most of these barrier islands.
The Outer Banks are far more densely populated than they would like you to think – there are major malls with big box stores, takeouts, huge hotels and plenty of houses, all crammed into the long thin sandy strip of dunes – rather like Florida’s coast, but without the obvious swamps on the inland side, as the broad inland sea provide a buffer between the isles and the mainland.
Since we started early – around 8:30 – the first ranger station was most likely closed, and we drove on into the park, which is intermixed with the little towns that were there before the park was created.
Boise Light was the first stop; the ranger station / gift shop wasn’t ‘quite’ ready to open, so Pops walked around in the brutal wind under the racing clouds and blue sky taking shots of the lighthouse and the pond where birds floated. Swans, ducks and geese were easy enough to see, and Trixie did her very best not to bark at them. The yellow grass of the marshes and bleached grey branches of dead bushes and trees cluttered the marshlands here, standing in marked difference from the tall stands of pitch pines that edged some of the roads, and the green scrub pines – except for the many ponds and inlets – not to mention the obvious low-lying nature of these island, the Outer Banks are quite a bit like Cape Cod, but far windier.
The shop, once the caretaker’s house, was sparsely appointed; a gift shop to one side, and a ranger’s desk to the other. Outside, water cisterns sat, collecting the runoff from the roof for later use. The lighthouse itself is impressively tall, painted black and white with massive windows looking east and west. It is obvious it Fresnel Lens was removed, and I am not sure if it is still used as a lit beacon.