Assateague National Park
During all the build up towards the NASA Antares Launch, the one thing I couldn’t shake was how bad I wanted to see those wild horses. Though Chincoteague advertised the horses as well, once there I found they were kept in a fenced-in area, with only a “viewing point” that was more a tourist buffet for the incredible mosquito population. Don’t get me wrong, the woods and beach were beautiful and all. But even from where they advertise you can see the horses there is, at best, a brown blob in the distance that one may loosely interpret as a horse-like object.
Then there is Assateague.
I was completely stoked- weird, considering that a few hours earlier that day I watched a friggin’ rocket go into space. But horses were everywhere as one entered the park and I quickly understood this is the horses’ land, and you have to play by their rules. If you don’t like that, fine, but if you think you can treat the animals like domesticated pets the visitor center has plenty of literature for campers about how the horses will fuck you up.
It was amazing. The campsites were perfect and everyone seemed to enjoy their shared space, save for one overzealous park ranger, and I was happy to be here of all places on my last day of the trip. Hell, even if I did somehow offend a horse and end up with a huge bite mark that just meant I was the sacrifice the island demanded.
Killing Time in Shenandoah
The downside to going to Virginia for a crazy rocket launch is that it’s not going anywhere unless the weather is perfect. All told, after getting into town the launch suffered two day-long delays that left me stuck out there hoping the delays wouldn’t continue and force me to choose between canceling photoshoots back in Chicago or abandoning the trip to, you know, make money.
I resolved there’s no reason to make that decision until the very last possible second, and that waiting around for a rocket is kind of boring. If I must twiddle my thumbs, I’d prefer to do so while trail running. Where better than the nearest area adjacent to the Appalachian Trail? As usual, I didn’t pack any of the right things for such an activity- good shoes, for example. I figured my Toms would be good enough, you know? The trail conditions weren’t, uh, exactly the chillest as you can see, but ending the day sweaty, dirty, with surprisingly no bruises on the bottoms of my feet made the launch delays totally more tolerable.
More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.
Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.
That's all the planning I do.
Using Amtrak to travel around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, explore new areas throughout the U.S., have surprising adventures, and document the experiences.
Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.
This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and continues to be updated with further adventures via train.
My name is Brent Knepper.
I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first Amtrak trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.