At the beginning of the summer, Natalie, Mike, and I made a list of all the things we wanted to do while she was out here so that we wouldn’t find ourselves at the end of the summer with too many things to fit in before she left. This list included things like go to an outdoor movie, get a cupcake from Baked and Wired, go to the National Gallery, and also go to Chincoteague Island, VA, known for its wild ponies.
Chincoteague got rescheduled a couple times because of weather, but we found a perfect weekend earlier this summer and headed 3 hours east. Along the way, we stopped at Cracker Barrel located on Kent Island, Maryland (on Google Maps, it looked like Cracker Barrel was the only thing there – this didn’t turn out to be the case, but it we still called it Cracker Barrel Island the whole time anyway).
After eating, we continued on and finally got to Chincoteague in the mid-afternoon. It ended up being a little later than we’d hoped, but it actually ended up working out really well since we got there and found out that they were going to round the wild ponies up at 6:00 to do a checkup on them and give them any medical care that they might need. The volunteer fire department in Chincoteague technically owns all of the ponies and are responsible for taking care of them. They’re wild in the sense that they aren’t exactly tame, but they’re not left on their own like other wild animals.
To pass the time until the round up, we decided to take a couple of short hikes to see if we could see any ponies roaming around before they got rounded up. We didn’t see any ponies, but we did see other wildlife (mosquitos). Mike got 66 bites in about a half hour walk – it looked like a mosquito version of chicken pox. When he was at work the next week, he was telling someone about his trip and how he got completely bitten up, and someone ran over and was like “Chincoteague?!?” So I guess it’s pretty common!
Closer to 6:00, we walked back to the areas where they were going to round up the ponies. On the way, we saw a strip of sand with a bunch of tiny holes in the ground. We noticed that if we looked far enough ahead of us along the sand, there were a bunch of tiny crabs sticking out of the holes, and they would dart back in as soon as they felt our footsteps. By standing in one spot long enough, they would eventually come back out again. They were really cool looking!
Finally, we heard the ponies running along the path in front of us and could hear the firemen cracking the whips to get them to gallop. We even got to see them cross through stream which was really cool (that sentence sounds the opposite of cool now that I’m actually writing it, but it was!). The were probably about 100 ponies in the herd, and they were all different colors. It was really fun to see them all together like that. When we were walking back to the car, we even saw a golf cart drive by with two people sitting on the back of it holding a tiny foal on their laps.
It was a really fun day trip for the three of us and we’re all glad we had it on our summer list!