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Hike to Bald Head Island

posted May 11, 2017, 7:32 AM by Justin P   [ updated May 18, 2017, 5:39 PM ]
Saturday morning, we would be hiking to Bald Head Island.  It's possible to hike to an island?  Yes, thanks to Hurricane Floyd, Bald Head Island is technically no longer an island and connected via beaches and dunes to Fort Fisher at the southern end of Pleasure Island.  After waking up, I broke camp as I needed to head home after our hike to catch a flight in the morning.  Then we started driving south along US-421 to the end of the road at the Fort Fisher ferry dock.  Parking here, we made the short hike back up the road, passing the aquarium to arrive at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.  From here, we accessed the beach to begin our long hike.


It was a beautiful day, though a bit windy, but not too hot at all.  And there were enough clouds in the sky to avoid a sunburn.  It was also low tide, so we could walk on the firmer sand near the water level, which made the hike a bit easier.  Once a short ways past the beach access, we saw very few people, besides the occasional fishermen who had driven 4WD vehicles down the beach.  Past Fort Fisher, we passed into Zeke's Island Coastal Reserve.


Along this section, we passed into Brunswick County and crossed the former inlet that is not filled in to reach Bald Head Island State Natural Area.


At this point, vehicles are prohibited and we didn't see anyone else until reaching the populated section of the island. We had a short snack break behind the dunes and then continued hiking southbound.


A few more miles and soon we started to see the homes on the island.  We went as far south as we could to Cape Fear at the southeastern tip of the island.


Looking south, the waves were crashing along Frying Pan Shoals and it was clear how so many ships had run aground here - the Graveyard of the Atlantic.


After some pictures, we got off the beach and made a stop at the Bald Head Island Conservancy to use the facilities. There was a cute little corn snake at the entrance.


After using the facilities, I walked around a little to see some of the other residents, including box turtles, yellow-bellied sliders, and a beautiful diamondback terrapin.


From here, we followed Federal Road through Bald Head Woods - a beautiful maritime forest.


Although it's a small island, it's really interesting to see the different environments present - beaches, dunes, forests, and salt marshes.


As we approached the western end of the island, we made a detour to see the Old Baldy Lighthouse.


Although not as tall as many lighthouses, it has a very unique design.


After some pictures, we continued on to the harbor and had a late lunch at Mojo's.  After lunch, we caught the ferry to Southport and walked to the ferry port to head back to Fort Fisher.


Due to a mechanical issue, we had to wait until the 615 ferry, but fortunately, that one was not impacted.  I was getting a bit worried as I needed to get home and pack.  Back at Fort Fisher, I said good-bye to everyone and then made the drive home.