Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from its original site

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from its original site

Much of the drive was monotony, passing sand dunes of crushed shells and dirt – they made interesting wind-blown hills of shades of tan, white and black all along the route. Marshlands and the choppy waters of the inland sounds were spied now and again.

We paused at a rest stop called Haulover, where the wind was as wicked as ever, and spied the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the country.

This was something to see; as a lighthouse on the edge of a barrier island, the tower was nearly claimed by the sea as the sandy island was reshaped and receded; it’s foundations ‘floated’ on a pile of logs driven deep into the sand, and on that, granite was added to make a heavy base to anchor the brick tower from the winds. A decade or so ago, the light was moved from its original location to it’s present spot – they cut through the granite, lifted it up, and moved it inland, where it should be safe for the next hundred years.

In warmer seasons, you can scale the lighthouse, but not today; just as well. We went through the visitor’s area, and into the clearing; to one side were the caretaker’s houses, also moved from the original site, both painted a bright white, with cistern gutters. To the other, the tower, with its bright pink painted and grey granite base, and a spiral of black and white colors on the tower. Even from the ground though, I could tell it was missing its majestic Fresnel Lens, a third-order one.

But most surprisingly, there were a pair of deer, a doe and a fawn we believe, grazing out on the field. We may have watched them more than we examined the tower. We even encountered one in the parking lot, totally unconcerned that we was only a few yards away from it. It just sauntered on its way.

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