In early December, we’re doing a GetBackpacking! trip on the 21-mile Neusiok Trail. It’s a two-nighter, with a 2-mile hike in Friday evening, 8 miles Saturday, an 11-mile hike out Sunday. Pretty good distances for a backpack trip.
It also makes for a great day hike — a great long day hike.read more
The Neusiok runs for 20 miles, from the Pine Cliff Picnic Area on the south bank of the Neuse River not long before the Neuse gives it up to to the Pamlico Sound, to the Newport River. Near Pine Cliff, the trail more resembles the Piedmont — even the mountains in spots. But once it crosses NC 306 headed east, it’s coastal forest all the way, passing through cypress swamps, bottom land forests and pocosins. Warm weather tends to arouse some of the regional denizens — some with little wings, some with no legs — that can make hiking an enjoyment challenge.read more
One of the first paddle trips I took east of I-95 after arriving in North Carolina in the early 1990s was to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. I’d driven past the 154,000-acre lowland several times on my way to the Outer Banks, but for some reason never thought to bring a boat. Then I saw that the refuge was leading weekly paddle trips, so I signed up. As we were paddling the expansive Milltail Creek east toward the Alligator River, someone in the group asked why we weren’t seeing the refuge’s namesake reptile.
The ranger leading the trip told us to raft up and watch the river bank to the south. The bank was dominated by three-foot-high reed grass and what appeared to be fallen logs in the water.
“Watch,” he instructed. We did, and before long we noticed that the logs were blinking.
I tell this story a lot when explaining the allure of exploring Eastern North Carolina. There is so much to see east of I-95, it sometimes just takes a little extra patience and perseverance. I’ve since embraced that approach in telling the adventurous story of Eastern North Carolina, a story that’s yet to be fully appreciated by a larger audience.
We hope to change that in the months and years ahead. One way is by teaming with our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Greenville to form GetExploring! Greenville.
Our goal is two-fold:read more