It's not really the end of the world, but it feels a little like that when you come to the fence. So, of course that makes me want to go beyond the fence to see what's there.
For the past ten days, we have been visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks is surrounded by water on both sides, as you can see on the map. We stayed in Corolla, all the way north on the Peninsula. The main road through the Outer Banks is North Carolina Route12. The road comes to an end just north of Corolla. That is, the paved portion of Route 12 comes to an end. Officially, Route 12 continues along the beach, all the way to the Virginia border. In order to continue on Route 12 on the beach you must have a four-wheel drive vehicle.
But what about the fence? The fence was put there to protect Corolla's wild horse population. The horses have been here since 1520, when Spanish sailing ships landed here. Before the fence, the horses roamed the town of Corolla freely. As the area became more popular the problems with horses mixing with traffic increased. The fence was erected to keep them north of town. The horses are free to roam north of the fence, including the beach and the dunes. In this area you can see beachgoers, 4-wheel drive vehicles and wild horses all mixed together. It is a law that people go no closer to a horse than fifty feet and that they do NOT feed the horses.
This is where the paved part of Route 12 ends and the road continues on the sand.
Of course, you can go through the fence on foot, but you must be sure to close the gate after you go through, for the protection of the horses that live here.
Farther inland, behind the dunes there is also a Wild Horse Preserve, where the public is not allowed. The horses are wild. They are Colonial Spanish Mustangs, descended from horses that were brought on sailing ships over 500 years ago.