Walking between Irene, Katia, and Maria

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Hiking on the Point at Emerald Isle, NC

Hiking on the Point at Emerald Isle, NC

The Point at Emerald isle, NC is about as dynamic a piece of sand as you can find within walking distance of a parking place along the east coast.  I feel fortunate that it is less than fifteen minutes from my house to those few parking places near the Point.

One of my great memories from my youth is coming to fish on the Point with my Uncle Austin. I think it was the summer of 1969 we came down to the area in my old lime green Bronco.  We had to drive several miles down the beach to get to the Point, but I can still remember my Uncle teaching me how to drive on sand.  We didn’t catch very much, but as most fishermen will tell you, it doesn’t take fish to make a great memory.

Today I approach the Point from a different perspective.  It is a very unique spot with spectacular scenery along the Southern Outer Banks which has a whole gallery of great natural beauty. The Point is a place that I go when I want to be close to the elements. While I was pleased that our area survived Hurricane Irene with little damage, I was both concerned and excited to see what happened over on the Point.  I haven’t been disappointed.

I long ago subscribed to the view that sand is going to move where the tides and wind take it in spite of man’s delaying tactics.  The Point is a great a great laboratory. You can see sand move and change almost daily. There aren’t many places on earth where you can be one of the first people to walk on new land.

While my estimate of several acres of new sand is awaiting verification from the real surveyors of the beach, it is obvious to anyone who is familiar to the area that change is the norm at the Point, and that Irene brought lots of change.   As long as change doesn’t destroy the Point, I enjoy it for whatever it is when I walk there. Irene actually made the Point even more interesting.

With Irene’s visit, there is even more of a difference between walking at high tide and walking at high tide.  The slope of the beach seems even shallower after Irene’s visit.  You notice it especially when we have a big storm off the coast sending huge swells to the area.   When I made my second trip after Hurricane Irene on September 7, I noticed a number of places that had been over-washed that day.  If I hadn’t known better, I would have guessed that Coast Guard Island might have been back on the way to becoming an island.  However, I knew that we were getting some high tides along with swells from Katia.

One of the neatest things is to find newly deposited sand while hiking.  Sometimes it is dropped in layers.  You’ll be hiking along and think that you are about to step into some deep soft wet sand only to find that you’re actually stepping into two inches of new sand that has been deposited on a very solid base.  You can see the layers very well in some of the new cuts that were made in what I call the cliffs of Emerald Isle.

The real surprise is how few people really explore the Point.  Like most beaches people tend to congregate around the spots closest to the parking.  Once you walk around the actual Point, which I define as the most westerly spot on the island, you will find very few walkers.  Eventually you run into people who have beached their boats on the backside of Coast Guard Island, but it is rare to run into more people that you can count on your fingers when you start walking north along the edge of Bogue Inlet.  I guess the hike it too long.

We’re lucky to live in area protected on the backside by Croatan National Forest’s 158,000 acres and one flank by the 56 miles of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. It doesn’t hurt to have Cape Lejeune on our other flank.  While there are still plenty of pastures and fields to be developed, I don’t think there is much chance of the Southern Outer Banks ever becoming another Myrtle Beach.  I am glad of that.  Just the possibility might keep me awake at night.

I would hate to live in an area where there is no room for changing sands.

If you are interested in visiting the area, check out my “Welcome to the Beach” page.

Pictures taken on my September 7 hike to the Point.

 

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