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Jockey's Ridge Hikes

posted Apr 8, 2019, 2:01 PM by Justin P   [ updated Apr 14, 2019, 2:59 PM ]

Sandy had Saturday off so we took Alex to the coast for some beach hiking and camping.  We left early in the morning, arriving at Jockey's Ridge State Park just before 10.  The first order of business was getting Alex's passport stamped.

Then we started hiking the Tracks in the Sand Trail that led through a small maritime forest to the dunes.

This area is somewhat of a surreal landscape hiking across the dunes.

The harsh environment is mostly devoid of life.  For a moment, it was easy to imagine being in the desert.

The short trail turns around at the sound.

We saw a pair of ospreys in their nest over the water.

The trail led along the sound a short ways before looping back to the dunes.

Back at the dunes, we ran Alex around, up and down the steep sandy ridge.  He really loves playing in the sand, I think it reminds of him of the snow.  We also made a detour to go up to the highest point on the dune.

We could see the hang gliders and people flying kites and both the ocean and sound are visible.  Finishing up our hike, we headed to the beach access at Hollowell Street and went for a walk on the beach.  It was a really beautiful day at the beach, partly cloudy skies and big waves.

Again, we let Alex run and play in the sand and chase the waves.  He tried to get as close as possible without getting wet but a few sneaky waves got him.  We hiked north about a mile and a half and found a nice place to rest and enjoy the view.

Then we headed back.  Our next stop was the Soundside access back at Jockey's Ridge State Park.  It was about lunch time so we had a light lunch and then walked the short Soundside Nature Trail.  There were nice views of the other side of Jockey's Ridge from here.

At the far end of the loop there was an enormous live oak, sheltered by the massive dunes.

With the huge ridge in the background, the hike was reminiscent of a mountain hike, though we couldn't be further from the mountains.  Hiking back, there were some longleaf pine with their pollen cones formed.

Allergy season will be coming soon.  Although there were no views of the sound from the trail itself, a number of side paths led to nice views.

Swimming and other water activities in the sound are available from this end of the park.  The trail is short and we finished up soon.  After finishing the hike, we started making our way back to the mainland with a stop at Roanoke Island Marshes Game Land.  Most of this area is impenetrable marshland, but there is a 1 mile loop around an impoundment.   As we left the parking area of NC-345, there were a lot of yellow jessamine blooming along the canal.

Soon we approached the waterfowl impoundment.

Near the middle was a wooden overlook where we took a short rest to enjoy the views.

Just behind this overlook was an an enormous osprey nest in a tree.

The ospreys were flying around way above.  Continuing on, we could see the bridge connecting Roanoke Island with Whalebone Junction.

This area was really scenic, though it was too late in the year for many birds on the impoundment.

There was also some Canadian serviceberry flowering here.

We finished back up at the parking area.  After finishing, we continued west on US64 to the mainland and got takeout from China King in Columbia and had a picnic dinner at Pettigrew State Park.  We then set up camp and made a short evening hike to Somerset Place.

A couple goats were in a pen  - Alex was very interested in them so we kept him away.

Somerset Place is an old antebellum plantation near the lake.

Heading back, we took the Lake Shore Trail boardwalk.

A boardwalk went out to the swim area.

Then we went out to the boat launch for a nice view of the lake in the evening light.

Back at camp, we built a fire.  Right before sunset, I walked down to the boat ramp for some pictures.  It was a a really beautiful one.

Then back at camp, we enjoyed the fire before going to bed.