Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NC Summer Vacation, Part 3: Jockey's Ridge

There are many places I love in North Carolina. Home. Chapel Hill. The mountains. The red clay of the Piedmont. The beach. Even though I don't go in the ocean, I still appreciate our clean sandy beaches and our cool ocean breezes. 

When I travelled abroad, if people knew what North Carolina was, they knew it because of our beaches. Though I don't get there nearly enough, I love the Outer Banks the most. Probably because they are just so uniquely Carolina. 

My brother and I took a short, random road trip to OBX while I was home. We were able to stop at Jockey's Ridge and Kitty Hawk. I'd driven by Jockey's Ridge on family trips before but never stopped.

A description of how Jockey's Ridge likely was formed:
[Scientists have] concluded that Jockey's Ridge itself came into being about 7,000 years ago. The process of how this came about is unclear; however, scientists believe that minerals such as quartz were washed from the mountains of the state to the ocean, creating sand. This sand was pushed onto the beaches of the area by storms and hurricanes. Through a process known as saltation the sand was eventually blown onto the area now known as Jockey's Ridge where something caused it to begin building the dune system.
It was the largest expanse of sand I've ever seen. We felt like we were in the desert. (Thankfully we weren't actually in the desert as Joey commented that he "would never make it in a real desert.") It was definitely hot but there was also a nice breeze as we walked up. 

The closest I've ever been to an actual desert was when I went to Lanzarote. The beach consists of sand that blew over from the Sahara. It's without a doubt the most cohesive sand I've ever come across. I have some suntan lotion from this trip that still has sand particles attached four years, a trans-atlantic flight, and three moves later. (Sidebar: I should probably throw away that lotion.)

Sahara sand in Lanzarote.

The sand at Jockey's Ridge didn't blow over from the Sahara but it's NC sand and there is a lot of it. The sky wasn't the perfect shade of Carolina Blue due to smoke from the wildfires, but it was close enough.

Proof that the brother and I were actually there.

Not to get too deep, and I think I've written this before, but I feel closer to God in a setting like this than I ever have in any church. It's overwhelming to be in such a vast area with no end and sight and realize just how small you are. But it can provide some interesting perspective, too.

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