We were lamenting the occasional excessive harshness of national park rangers this weekend and it brought me back to an experience this fall when I stopped by (the outside of) Assateague Island National Seashore during the government shutdown and in the middle of a torrential rain storm. Despite the 'incident' and the park closure, the wild horses there truly captivated me and, while somewhat miserable, the rain soaked surroundings really supplemented the desolate feeling of the unsettled seashore. The horses were at close range, even outside the park, and while not overtly domesticated, were unfazed by my car. By far, the best part of my work conference to the Washington DC area, although it is a 3 hour jaunt from DC. As a side note, my research revealed the superiority of Assateague to neighboring Chincoteague Island for equestrian viewing-- the horses are supposedly fenced and very localized on Chincoteague and at Assateague they roam free.