Sable Island Expedition – June 25, 2012

Day 8: I felt rejuvenated and ready to go. Today I wanted to get a better look at the dune landscape further east, beyond the first Bald Dune. I started out walking the tideline and soon came across a group of bachelors. They were out this morning to have fun! They played in the surf, rolling and pawing. Together they pawed and dug a hole (drinking trough) and slurped sea water from it. Then a wave would crash in, filling the hole, and they would splash in it again. Amazing.

I cut inland with the intent to find the 2nd Bald Dune. I followed miles of horse trails heading east. The rain-soaked vegetation glistened and the moisture enhanced all the wonderful colours of the heathlands and grasses that cover these sand hills. I saw only few horses and it was still a little foggy when I sat down top of one of the hills to relax for a lunch break.

Suddenly the quietness was broken by the sound of thundering hooves. I scrambled to my feet, peering out across the valley. A group of stallions flew out of the mist running full out. At first I was not sure what caused such a rush, and then out of the greyness appeared another much larger stallion running full tilt behind them, giving chase. He pursued the bachelor group across the valley and over the next hill until they were out of site. As if in a movie, he stopped on the skyline, spun around and screamed. He had successfully chased off the challengers, but in the process had left his mares unattended. He took off again, this time even faster, bolting back across the valley to reclaim his herd. I was so engrossed in the scene that I only captured the final moments on camera.

Sunshine!!! The day quickly changed to a beautiful sunny afternoon and I had new-found enthusiasm for hiking. The landscape eventually became more desolate and I entered an area known as second bald dune and further along, third bald dune. It now resembled a lunar landscape. Here the winds and rain had shifted massive amounts of sand, and over time created remarkable and other-worldly sand shapes. Expectedly there were fewer horses here and I wondered why any of them would choose this location over the more lush areas of the island. My excursion to 3nd Bald Dune was a success and it only served to whet my appetite to come back tomorrow. I felt that I was getting fit and if the weather co-operated, I might be able to make it all the way to East Light!

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