Then a run was made over to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, as I wanted to climb the spiral stairs to the top and see what kind of view it afforded me.
-The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. This current forces southbound ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
-The new lighthouse was lit on December 1, 1870. The 1803 lighthouse was demolished in February of 1871. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse received the famous black and white stripe daymark pattern in 1873. The Lighthouse Board assigned each lighthouse a distinctive paint pattern (daymark) and light sequence (nightmark) to allow mariners to recognize it from all others during the day and night as they sailed along the coast.
The lighthouse is a conical brick structure rising from an octagon-shaped brick and granite base and topped with an iron and glass lantern. It is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States and measures 198.49 feet from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the pinnacle of the tower. This height was needed to extend the range of the light-beam from the towers low-lying beach site. The towers sturdy construction includes exterior and interior brick walls with interstitial walls resembling the spokes of a wheel. There are 269 steps from the ground to the lens room of the lighthouse.
-The Fresnel lens installed in the 1870 lighthouse was powered by kerosene and could be seen approximately 16 miles from the shore. The keeper had to manually rewind the clockwork apparatus each day. The Fresnel lens usually took 12 hours for a complete cycle. When the lamp was electrified in 1934, the manual mechanism was no longer needed. Damaged by vandals, the giant glass Fresnel lens had to be replaced by a modern aero beacon in 1950. Today, electricity provides the rotating power and a photocell turns the light on and off.
-In 1999, after years of study and debate, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was moved to its present location. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet in 23 days and now lies 1,500 feet from the seashore, its original distance from the sea. The Double Keepers Quarters, the Principal Keepers Quarters, the dwelling cisterns, and the oil house were all relocated with the lighthouse.
It is a long strenuous climb to the top but well worth the effort !!
You get an amazing view looking back North up Route 12.
I feel fortunate to have the cool weather on my side. I'm sure it can be very tough on a hot and humid day. That is something to consider when visiting this area.
Also, an interesting view of the Cape, which is where the Diamond shoals lie, is to be had fro this vantage point.
Before heading back down I took a picture of the light at the top.
While in Buxton I decided to fuel up before heading to dinner since the plan was to head back North in the morning.
53,536 - ODOMETER
251 - FUEL TRIP
5.763 - GALLONS PREMIUM
43.55 - MPG