Monday, July 18, 2011

Outer Banks At Last

MST - Day 57 – 4-20-11 – Neusiok Trail from Blackjack Lodge Shelter to Oyster Point – 2.4 miles
After a peaceful, slightly warm night in our little tents, everyone was up early.  We had agreed on a start time – I don’t know, 7:30?  My morning routine is minimal since I do nearly all of my preparation before going to sleep, getting out clothes, packing up as much as I can, so I can linger in my tent as long as possible.  This sometimes makes my hiking friends worry that I am oversleeping (Danny knows better, though).  I may be the last one out of the tent, but I am seldom the last one ready to leave camp.  This morning we hit the trail before 7:00 a.m.
Even though we didn’t have far to hike, I was feeling pretty worn out from yesterday’s marathon and the couple of miles felt like a long distance.  My legs and feet were weary and I was glad to see the cars.

Dawn’s early light

“Turnpike” type trail, built up in the center for water runoff in swampy areas

Danny and I said our goodbyes to Terry and John and we pointed our cars toward the Cedar Point Ferry.  We had reservations for 3:30 p.m. but since we finished the Neusiok so early we wanted to make the 12:30 p.m. ferry.  We drove the route that Jim and I had previously biked and that Danny will walk after our Outer Banks stint is completed.  We stopped for refreshments at Davis Shore Provisions in Davis and the owner there remembered me from last month.

On the drive to the ferry

We also took a detour following signs to Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge and met its sole employee, Kevin K, a fantastic ambassador for the refuge.  His memory is long, as are his answers to questions, and we were reluctant to interrupt the flow of his narrative.  Eventually we had to thank him and continue on to the ferry.  Someone really needs to interview Kevin K. and capture his knowledge before it’s too late.

We made the earlier ferry and relaxed during the 2+ hours cruise over to the town of Ocracoke.  This fellow’s pickup bed was filled with an impressive collection of shark’s teeth.

Outer Banks, here we come!

First view of Ocracoke

Ocracoke is a very cute town but not fun to drive in.  Everyone is on bikes (no helmets) or walking in the streets (sidewalks are very narrow).  Everything is walking distance so a car is not really necessary during your stay.  Cute shops and restaurants abound and everything is very casual.  We enjoyed the first of many seafood dinners. 
Interestingly, the Ocracoke Lighthouse is on a back street, not on the shore.  It is closed to the public but still worth a photo for the scrapbook.

Danny’s research led us to a British cemetery on another back street, the resting place of four WW II British naval servicemen who died when their patrolling vessel was attacked by a German submarine in waters off the Outer Banks.  Every year a memorial service is held to honor them.

Our home for the night was at Edwards of Ocracoke, very quiet on a side street, the type of place where guests hang out on Adirondack chairs in the courtyard and grill out on little Hibachis.  Danny arranged with the owner to set up our shuttle for tomorrow’s hike, saving us some valuable time as we learn what hiking on the Outer Banks is all about.  Tomorrow:  SAND!

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
~e.e. cummings

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