Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Wolf Howling and Moving On

Saturday May 13-Monday May 15, 2018                                                    Most Recent Posts:
Oregon Inlet to Lewis Mountain                                                         Before and After Currituck Light                   
Cape Hatteras NS to Shenandoah NP                                              Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla              


Saturday is really our last day at Oregon Inlet.  Tomorrow we’ll be packing up to move.  So today I’m up at dawn, spend the day on the beach and we visit Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for a special after dark program.

It’s dawn when I see the moon setting.  It’s only a sliver of a moon but it looks beautiful in the sky and I of course take too many pictures.  But it’s my last dawn and sunrise over the ocean for quite a while and I just can’t help myself.

Consider it the anatomy of a sunrise.

So quiet, only the ocean waves rolling and the grasses blowing.


I can tell pretty soon exactly where the sun will come up.  Of course I know by now but you can tell too by the slight change in the color at that spot.

With dark clouds lining the horizon, soon the color shows higher in the sky.


Here it is just peeking out and burning the dark away.

Blazing its path across the water.

Couldn’t choose, included them both.

Turning everything on the shore golden for just a moment.


I love walking on the beach in the early morning when the colors are soft and most of the car tracks are gone at least from right near the water line.  The shells are exposed again.



Not another soul as far as I can see.  Truck marks, but no trucks – yet.

Just these guys in great numbers.


Good thing they have wings.


Wings make a quick escape possible.


They also make scanning the waves for breakfast possible. 
This may be my favorite shot today.


Calm before the waves.   Better grab a bite while you can.   I wonder why it took me so long to realize that life is all about eating?


Or maybe this is my favorite


One last look before heading back for breakfast.


I took no pictures of  our afternoon on the beach.  This one of my favorite view with no trucks and no people in it for the moment will do.

In the evening we drive over to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on Manteo Island for their wolf howl.   They don’t promise a wolf howl, they just promise the opportunity.

And boy did a LOT of people show up including two bus loads of kids.  I guess we all love wolves unless we’re farmers or careless pet owners.   Hope you can get a feel for the numbers if not from the people then the cars in the background.  We counted 40 and quit.  Oh and 2 buses.

The ranger tells us about the sad story of the deminishing populations of the native Red Wolf and shows this map of their original territory.

I cropped it so you can see clearly that their range was all over New England, out to the Great Lakes and down to Texas.   The area marked as “final range” is where they were found naturally and from where species were captured for breeding and reintroduction.

At its height in 2005-07 130 Red Wolves roamed the area..  They are now down to about 40 and their future is pretty dim.  The ranger shows us that their competition the coyote looks so much like them that wolves are often killed by farmers who mistake them for coyotes.  They also are now interbreeding with coyotes.    There just isn’t enough room with all the development for these predetors to thrive.   Two volunteers show us the difference between the fur of the two animals. Wish she’d put the smaller pelt on the smaller girl.  Which one is which?  I “think” the coyote is the larger one. 

The refuge has a captive group of wolves who have been hurt or are in need of attention.  These are the ones we are going to howl to.  

The other packs that roam free could be anywhere.  The ranger and wolf specialist know where this group is.   They bring us to this location up the road from the wolves.  They walk down closer and howl and the wolves howl back.  We can hear them.  What a wonderful eerie sound. 

Then the two come back up to us and we all howl too.   So loud, so many of us, I’m not surprised the wolves do not howl back.  We try 3 times with no luck.   Frankly, I think the wolves are smarter than this.  But it is the sad state of affairs on the east coast.  It does provide education and hopefully concern for the wolves that will translate into letters, phone calls, emails to those responsible for continuing and funding this program.  I lightened the picture considerably so it could be seen, that’s why the sky looks so odd.  It was pitch black and we could hardly see our hands in front of our faces.  Most of the pack of people is behind me.

Here are links to two very informative stories about the wolves’ fate.  One from 2016 and one from earlier this year.   After reading these, you can see the wolves need our help.


On Sunday we’re in a race with the rain to get things packed up and under cover for our move north tomorrow.   We manage but the drive on Monday is rainy.


We leave early for our uncharacteristically long drive of 300 miles today.

We have to make stops for propane where they can’t get their credit card machine to work and we spend an hour while they try in vain and tell us they’ll call us when the charge goes through.  I don’t like leaving my credit card number but what’s the choice?  We don’t have enough cash.  

Then we have to stop for gas.  We pull into a Pilot to fill up the vehicles which also turns into a fiasco when you can’t pay at the pump which means you have to go inside, stand in line, estimate how much you’ll want then go out and pump it and come back inside with the real amount and get a promise of a refund.  OR do it all over again in the case of a $100 limit on a single pump or if you underestimated as I did.   So 5 trips back and forth and we’re back on the road.

I drive up the mountain to Shenandoah National Park ahead of Winnona to see what sort of walk in site we can get.  We’re aiming for Lewis Mountain Campground but if that’s not available then I’ll have to go further north to Big Meadows.

IMG_3239On the way up the mountain I am pummelled by hail which fortunately does not damage the car as far as I can see.   David arrives with the rig in time for a downpour.  Our first luck of the day, there are sites in Lewis Mountain.

I’ve picked two.  Both are paved.   One is double wide the other is more level.  He  likes the double wide but by the time we get in and level the tires are a foot off the ground so in mid storm he backs out and somehow manages to get us into the other site in what is now dark even though it’s not even 5:00. 

By the time it’s over,  I’m soaked and freezing from being outside directing the back in. But it is a level site thankfully.  It’s been a long day and  so much trouble with the site is really not what we needed at the end of it.

Of course if we’d been an hour later than we were we’d have missed it all since just after we get into the site  and leveled the rain stops

But it’s a portent of things to come.  The rain has followed us here.   The sunset and colors revive our spirits. 



It’s what Will said. . . . “alls well that ends well”. 

We’re safely on top of the mountain.
Tomorrow will be a better day


  1. Getting settled in a storm is no fun. Nice pics.

  2. The sunrise pictures are lovely- you can't have too many of them! I like your shell and birds flying away pictures too. Love the dusk in Shenandoah Park one. Evidently Charlottesville is getting a deluge of rain. Water was way up at Free Bridge, parts of 250 near Ivy were washed out and 2 cars were swept away. One guy swam to safety. The 2 in the Prius- one found dead and the other not found yet. A lot of roads are under water. Scary. XXXOOO

  3. Your sunrise pictures are breath taking and made me wish for the wonderful early morning walks I once enjoy long ago.

  4. My favorite sunrise photos are 5 followed by 8...but you can never have too many!!! I've been wondering where you headed and so very glad you made it safely. Sure is a lot of nasty weather in the mountains along the Blue Ridge:o(( Stay safe and enjoy the cooler temps!!!

  5. Beautiful sunrise shots!

    There's a healthy population of Eastern red wolves in Ontario around the Algonquin area, a remnant of the original population. The park does wolf howls in the summer, and it is a magical sound to hear their howls.

  6. That golden sand pic is incredible. The skies and birds and waves are wonderful too - I agree with your two favs, they're very special. I'm so looking forward to being at the ocean next week! Maybe I can manage an early morning :-) The wolf howl sounds fun and informative if a little chaotic with all those people. I can't imagine the wolves ever responding to a large number of human howls. As you said, they're too smart. Of course the rain stopped after you were set up, Mother Nature has a sense of humor, often at our expense.

  7. Your last sunset photo is extraordinary! I enjoyed your "Anatomy of a Sunrise" series, too. And the lovely lacy wave and tiny shell portrait. It's those tiny pleasures in life that keep us sane and joyful in the midst of whatever challenges life brings, be they big or small.
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if the passion of the people who showed up for the wolf howl could bring back the wolves? Perhaps it isn't too late....

  8. The story of the wolves is sad. So neat though that they did howl back to the group leaders. Beautiful sunrise and dusk photos-never too many! Annoying events on the way to Shenandoah, but you made it!

  9. Ahh, you captured beautifully the breaking of the day and the changing colors! Then as the sun peeked through the trees before it ended the day was yet another beautiful capture.

  10. It's certainly sad about the demise of the red wolf. Your pictures are stunning and never too many sunset pics. Enjoy the cool temps!

  11. Great sunrise pictures. Your pictures are my most likely way of seeing a sunrise, as I am rarely up in time:)

  12. I've gotten lots of exercise over the years walking back and forth to Pilot and Flying J stores with credit card issues. Not my favorite way of getting my 10,000 steps in! :cD

    Silly me, of all the times I drove the Skyline Drive, I never have camped there. Of course, the Journey is a little large to fit in those sites and I can't get it on a diet to shrink...

  13. Spectacular opening shot of the sliver of a moon before sunrise. I am always happy to be somewhere that you can get out to the ocean for sunrise. A bit early for me usually, but ... Love your cruising pelicans too!

  14. Would love to have been on the wolf howl. It must have cathartic at least. I may try it tonight myself.

  15. I Love your anatomy of a sunrise and don't blame you for not wanting to leave, even with tire marks. I went to a howl-in in Washington that was a tingling experience. Bummer fuel problems and such a long drive. Why can't RV sites be even close to level. No fun in the rain.

  16. Always love your sunset/sunrise and beach pictures. Great story of the wolf howl.

  17. Just catching up. Thanks for all the great posts on OBX, the info will come in handy for our visit next April. Here's to a better tomorrow.


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