It was a much harder drive than I wanted to make but I also wanted to arrive at Chincoteague with some daylight left, I pushed through Raleigh as the Duke basketball team were enjoying their spotlight for winning the NCAA crown (listened to their rally on the local radio station), This was also the beginning of a continuous yellow haze of pollen which literally inundated the air like dust – I don’t think I have ‘seen’ pollen to that degree, it was like smoke. Again as I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel there were long yellow streaks of pollen floating across the water, on the upper peninsula of Virginia it lightened up, thank goodness for Clariden…
Chincoteague Virginia by nightfall and then located a campground, sure there were Hotels near – but I for this night didn’t need a tv, plus camping gives me an early start to the next day (with a shower). I really don’t mind this ‘freestyle’ camping in the winter and cooler months – would think twice in the summer.
Beverage and a cheese-steak sub while watching the lighthouse blink, five second rotation, two-flashes and then three seconds (thereabout) – I guess thats how mariners used to orient themselves. It was a comfortable evening, feet-up.
In the morning I had rested well on the cot, the constant breeze from the bay helped alot – then up early for a shower and across the bridge to Chincoteague. Five bucks get you in for the day (No Pets), I figured I might try to kayak ‘Tom’s Cove’ but it was windy and not one staff person could tell me if it was ok to put-in inside the park.
The ponies origin is unknown, but they are decedents either from a shipwreck or from farmers who avoided taxes by putting livestock on the islands in the 1600’s, anyway they are around, just inside fences – I thought Whats the difference in looking at horses along the highway? nothing that special in Chincoteague. It is a national Wildlife refuge, so from that standpoint the birder’s could get their money’s worth, I just wanted to some calm water to paddle.
So I moved on. Assateague island is part of two states, Chincoteague Va. is on the south end and to the North is Assateague State park which is in Maryland – there is not a highway from one end to the other. It is necessary to drive back out into Virginia and North to access Assateague, what I found when I finally made it there later that day was well worth it, and kayak friendly – but first………..
along the way I explored some backroads and found ‘Greenbackville (nothing there, barely a turnaround – just thought the name was neat), but with ‘Georges Landing (Virginia) I hit pay-dirt, it’s between the mainland and island and there was a kayak trail there, along with a dilapidated and abandoned oyster shed (which I had to explore).
Still a bit windy I wanted to make Assateague and kayak, I wasn’t dissapointed.
It was every thing I expected and more, the ponies were free-roaming and everywhere, their ‘land-mines’ were all around… it was kinda neat and how it should be. The fee was 15.00 which I thought was high but its good for 7-days, I will return on my homeward trip.
I put in at the old Ferry landing and went against the breeze to the South, more horses – and solid paddlin. In the coves it was possible to get out of the wind, but in moving around them – well, being a novice it just about kicked my butt, the hours in the kayak were worth it.
Much of the shoreline was hard crusted oyster-bed.
So I may just return and get my $ worth after I get some brush cleared in Delaware, if you like to camp, sight see, and bike-ride with the kids (no pets) go to Chincoteague, Va,
But if you like to kayak and want to see the horses in a wild state (don’t feed them) – go to the North end at Assateague, Md. It would also work if you had someone drop you off and paddle the bay from Chincoteague to Assateague (or Ocean City) with the southern breeze, an all day trip – that would be the best.
From there it was back into the evening jungle of the seashore, Ocean City – a full day – but I’ll be back to do something more with what I have learned about Assateague.