National Park Access Free

2014 National Park "Free Entry" Dates!! January 20th Martin Luther King Jr. Day; February 15-17th Presidents Day weekend; April 19-20th opening weekend of National Park Week; August 25th National Park Service Birthday; September 27th National Public Lands Day; November 11th Veterans Day

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

#13 - Cape Hatteras National Seashore

From mountains, to battlefields, to historical cities and towns, each hiking experience is a new and wonderful experience. Then you go to a place like Cape Hatteras National Seashore, soak in the natural beauty for a few days, and wonder if it gets any better than this! Of course, that's after weeks of snow and ice and mud...

There's no doubt a weekend break to the sunny shores of the Outer Banks was a perfect change of pace from recent excursions. Each time you go, this barrier island is as different as it is the same. Always shifting, always changing, always beautiful.
While the beach is never far, much beauty and wildlife is also found just off the sandy shores.
Dunes stretch across most of the 70 miles of the Outer Banks. Above is a view from Ocracoke.
A beautiful point in Hatteras. Where the Ocean meets Pamlico Sound

The trip was two-part: Therapy from the harsh Winter - and the first beach area hiking of the year! The Outer Banks stretches 70 miles or so, and I was able to hike various stretches of the entire length. Most hiking was accomplished in Kill Devil Hills, Hatteras, and Ocracoke. To take 10 days to hike the entire length of the island, exploring the nooks and cranny's in between, is a definite goal and very much achievable.

Outer Banks - Corolla to Ocracoke
 I found hiking this time of year to be comfortable, and both bug and tourist-free. There is enough wildlife, waves, dunes, and shells to keep things interesting and fun. Hiking in the sand proved different than the hills and mountains of the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah areas, however, the drag created by the sand, and the camber of the shoreline, kept it challenging through the miles.

Bodie Island Light House
Laughing Gull

Kinnakeet (Avon) Pier
Snapping Turtle

Scallop shell
Of course, I highly recommend the Outer Banks for hiking. Pirate history, shipwrecks (Diamond Shoals, aka "the graveyard of the Atlantic"); four unique lighthouses; miles and miles of unspoiled beach, and Wildlife, Seashore and Sound protected by the National Park Service and nearby Pea Island Natural Wildlife Refuge, make this area a great place to find the space you need to get some great hikes in.

Until tomorrow...

 See you on the trails!


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