Friday, July 22, 2011

Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Part II

If you didn't see my last post about Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Why You Should Go. Forever. , please check it out. It is my personal guide to visiting the island. After i wrote it, i simply couldn't take it anymore, so i packed up my Jeep in a matter of hours, grabbed my 4 yr old son, Tanner and drove 8 hours to the island. My husband had to work, so he didn't make it down with us. It was a Mommy & Tanner camping trip filled with perfect 85 degree weather and the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen in my life.
Every day we were there, we drove out to Ramp 55 {last ramp on Hatteras} and spent all day at the very end of the island. 
Trekking to the beach by yourself and a small child can be fairly challenging. I was a little worried that i couldn't handle the whole experience without my husband. Now that i look back on it, it feels good that i depended solely on myself for everything and that i totally rocked ass at the whole thing - including driving 8 hours alone, setting up our huge tent that typically requires 2 people for setup, lugging a big packed cooler around, cooking on the beach, making sure Tanner didn't burn into a crisp in the sun, not to mention building sandcastles, playing cars, keeping calm during vitamin deficient meltdowns AND taking the time to appreciate my surroundings every now and then!
Granted, there were very few meltdowns. 
Tanner had the time of his life. How could you not? It IS Hatteras after all.
I built him 2 different sandcastles, but this one was the pimp macdaddy castle complete with bridge, helicopter landing pads and driving tracks! It only took me 2 hours!
The beach and water were breathtaking every day -  a deep Turquoise and clear to the bottom. You wouldn't expect tropical in North Carolina, and the pictures don't really do it justice.
On Saturday, we took the Ferry to Ocracoke Island and spent the entire day there. The Ferry ride was perfect and you could see the bottom of the ocean floor!
Ocracoke is teeming with wildlife. From rare seashells and jellyfish to big beautiful pelicans! This one came up to us at 1 foot away! He actually scared the living hell out of us as his beak is no joke. I think he might have wanted to eat my child! And i think he might have been able to!
Ocracoke's Beach is massive. 
It's sunsets are one of a kind. The ocean was behind us. We sat on the roof of my Jeep and watched Earth radiate her brilliant beauty.
I think the highlight of our trip, however, was on our Ferry ride back to Hatteras from Ocracoke. We were personally invited to join the Captain and Tanner even got to steer the ship! I was actually more excited than he was! What a special treat!
Now i might be brave enough to trek to Hatteras alone with my 4 yr old, but i did NOT take him to the top of the lighthouse by myself. I think I will save that for a trip with the hubby. It is still, however, a beautiful site to see from the ground.
I am reluctant to even promote the secret spot at the end of Hatteras Island. I feel like it is a rare jewel that only very few people seem to know about. But it was such a huge part of my experience, i must share it. If you drive all the way to the end of Hatteras Ramp 55 and take a right at the last turn, then follow the Jeep signs LEFT down a one lane sand road, you will find yourself at the very end of the island.
This Tanner's favorite spot - full of spots to play with his cars and calm Sound waters.
For me, it is the most perfect place on earth - the edge of the world. It is where the ocean meets the sound and you can stand at the point where the two waters collide. Ocracoke in the distance. The sun turning the water into a purple and orange majestic liquid painting come to life. My camera literally died on the last sunset day i was there. It almost as if the earth said this one is for you only. I cried, it was so beautiful. I have never seen a sunset so magical in my entire life. 
200mm lens in Automatic
I am only learning how to actually work my camera. Some of these are in Automatic and some are in Manual at 18mm with an ISO of 200, f/22 1/30 sec. {like the one above}
For me, leaving Cape Hatteras is like leaving the love of your life. I cry during the last moment i drive off the beach for the last time. My heart and soul ache for it when i'm away. The drive to and from can sometimes be excruciating. But when i am in Cape Hatteras, i am home. I am happy. Full filled.  And seeing my child appreciate it at a young age makes the challenging trip of going alone completely worth it. 
I love you Hatteras and i thank you for the memories you bestow upon me.


  1. i REALLY want to go here now, Rania! your photos are amazing :)

  2. Seconded: Going to have to save up and get over there! Looks beatiful...

  3. That was incredible! I'm packing right now!

  4. I know we don't know each other and all... but next time you go, could you call me???? Your pictures are stunning!!

  5. What beautiful and breathtaking shots. Love it. These pics are amazing. Thanks for sharing them and totally making me want a beach trip!

  6. Wow! I keep telling my husband he has to take me to the Outer Banks! I miss the ocean like crazy! I have never lived so far away from it in my life.