This vintage photo, courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center, shows a herd of Ocracoke ponies traversing the sand flats on the island.
Notice the power pole in the distance. The poles were erected along what is now NC Highway 12. This photo was probably taken in the area called The Plains (between the edge of the village and the NPS campground). Before Hwy 12 was paved in 1957, and a continuous row of dunes artificially built up to protect the new road, the ocean periodically washed over the flats during exceptionally high tides.
Today this area is thick with yaupons, myrtles, cedars and other vegetation.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a reproduction of a 1960s booklet titled The Great Ocracoke Cat Hunt. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092115.htm.