Monday, June 20, 2016

The Outer Banks of North Carolina - Part 2

Because we saw so much in our day with our friends in the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina, we decided to split our wanderings into two blog posts. We'll start this one at the Jockey's Ridge State Park. Once we left the state park visitor's center and climbed over the first hill, we were greeted by a sea of sand that stretched as far as we could see. We could tell from the number of foot prints that this was an often-visited section of the park.

As we walked to the far reaches of the park, our foot prints were the only ones in the sand. Denisa snapped this picture of Connie, Steven, and Mark as they pushed against the wind to get to the peak of the dunes. That gusty wind is constantly moving the sand into wave-like patterns.

That wind also makes this a great place to go fly a kite. In fact, there is a kite festival at the state park the next weekend that should be spectacular if the weather cooperates. Today the wind was so strong that there were only two brave kite flyers.

We were watching this pretty hummingbird kite near us, when suddenly the string broke and it took sail without its tether.

Mark gave chase, but it's hard to run in the soft sand. He was losing ground when Steven shouted something like, "You're going to have to dive or you'll lose it." With this expert advice, Mark dove and barely caught the pink trailing tails of the kite. As he sat there, spitting sand out of his mouth, he wasn't sure if he should have followed his friend's advice. But the kite's owner was appreciative (and a little surprised that an old guy still had that kind of moves).

At the peak of the dunes our legs were being sand-blasted with the gusty winds. But from there we could see the bay side of the OBX island. 

There the kite-surfers were enjoying the windy conditions to fill the big kites that propelled them across the waters of the bay on their surf boards.

In the opposite direction we could see the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, just beyond the row of houses that were fronting the beach. But also between us and the Atlantic was a small group of people trying to use the force of the wind for yet another sport.

For a fee, the state park offers hang-gliding lessons across these dunes. Just like the Wright brothers that were learning to master the breezes at Kitty Hawk, these tourists were trying to experience flight. They were aided by two instructors running down the dunes, holding tightly to the tether attached to each wing.

One more advanced student was getting some time in the air by himself as he jumped off the dune.

That short flight down the hill means the glider has to be carried back up the sand dune for another short ride. The instructors handled that part for their beginners, but this guy handled his own. It's a very tiring sport. We watched him glide down several times, but this time the wind tipped him sideways, and the giant kite tumbled to the side. Still attached to it by a tether, the flyer had to tumble with it, as an instructor sprinted to help him.

It was quite a struggle to turn the giant kite over against the power of the wind, but the two of them got it back on its wheels once again. We are proud to say that this young man got back on that horse--we mean kite--and tried it again.

We were too busy today to take lessons, so Connie and Steven might be a little surprised to see themselves hang gliding in this blog post. Again, Mark has worked his magic.

Because Denisa loves lighthouses, we made another stop along the coastline. This is Bodie (pronounced "body") lighthouse, found near Nags Head. It is a sister of the one we had seen earlier today at Currituck. They have the same dimensions and design. But the bricks of the Bodie light have been plastered over and then painted in its characteristic black and white stripes.

A man with a big lens camera was giving Mark suggestions for camera angles while we were there. So we present the artsy pic of the day with the lighthouse centered between the porch pillars of the lighthouse keeper's house. You can barely tell that Connie and Denisa are in the picture, giving scale to the size of this tall light house.

We drove south down the lone highway of the OBX all the way to the small town of Rodanthe. The east coast has been hit by two tropical storms lately, and the remains of Hurricane Colin has left the streets of Rodanthe flooded.

Several years ago when Denisa visited here on a girls' trip, she saw the house on the beach where the Richard Gere/Diane Lane movie "Nights in Rodanthe" was filmed. It was leaning precariously towards the sea then, and she wondered if it would still be there now. Some investigative work and the google guru discovered that it had been relocated up the highway to a more solid location. It took some hunting, but we found "The Inn at Rodanthe."

We made another stop at the beach, this time along the section designated as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore just north of Rodanthe. We almost had the beach to ourselves.

Mark was taking pictures as the waves hit the beach.

We had been blessed by a beautiful weather day! Now we were just out wandering His wonders on a beautiful stretch of beach as the setting sun was lighting up the incoming waves.

Denisa took one more picture of two old friends enjoying the last rays of sunshine of a good day on the OBX.

The sun was setting over the water as we crossed the causeway back to the mainland. Connie and Steven must leave to go back to home and jobs the next day. We haven't convinced them to join us on the road yet, but it was sure fun wandering His wonders with them for a few days.

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