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Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Than Just Beautiful Beaches

We have been through some really nippy weather recently, but Saturday when almost all of North Carolina and Virginia were suffering through snow, sleet, and freezing rain, we only had to endure a very cold rain. There must have been a few snow flurries late in the night because there was a dusting on the roof our house this morning. The walkway to our dock was also icy. However, by the time we got back from church all the ice had melted away, and even the winter pansies were starting to recover from the cold. While most of the state was cleaning up after the Saturday storm, we were all looking for something to do on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon. It did not take much time outside to figure out that a walk on the beach might be a chilling experience, but a walk sheltered by the woods could be a very nice experience.
We had driven through the Croatan trails access in Cedar Point on the way home from church and were surprised at the number of people who had the same idea a nice winter Sunday activity. We were still in our church clothes so we figured that by the time we had lunch and changed, the early afternoon walkers would be spread out on the trails.

If you have never hiked the Croatan trails you are missing a real treat. While the trails wander through the woods most of the time, there are a number of beautifully done bridges with aluminum walkways which cross the marshes. We never fail to see some neat birds and have a great time.

Unfortunately for our hiking plans, I got a call just after lunch from some clients wanting to see a listing. So we gave up our hiking agenda and headed off to show property.

After the showing, my wife and I were standing in the sun in a sheltered spot, and I could not help but think how nice it would have been on the trails this afternoon.

The good news is that Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the first week of February will all be sunny and warmer than today. By Wednesday the temperatures are expected to rise into the mid-fifties. The February sun in North Carolina is more powerful than most people expect.

Sometimes when we don't have time to hike the Croatan Trails, we go over to the Emerald Woods Trail just off Coast Guard Road. While the Emerald Isle deer herd is thinned, the Emerald Woods Park is closing at 4 PM each day, but the trail is a quick one and enjoyable unless there is a strong north wind like today. The Emerald Woods Trail is a very accessible one with boardwalk almost the whole way.

For those who enjoy camping, the Cedar Point Croatan access has a beautiful campground that is walking distance from the water. Near the picnic grounds, there is also a ramp where you can launch canoes, kayaks, and small boats.

As you can tell from the picture, the marshes look like a great place for fishing. I have a friend who did quite well there with red drum last summer. This link will take you to more pictures that I took from the small dock at the Croatan Cedar Point access. There are some pictures of pelicans from Cape Carteret and a few taken in Bluewater Cove, but most of the water pictures were taken at at the Croatan Cedar Point access.

You can find actual pictures of the Cedar Point Croatan Trails and the Emerald Woods Trail at this website. We enjoy hiking there more in the winter and spring than we do in the summer.

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