Near the Point at Emerald Isle, NC

Near the Point at Emerald Isle, NC

Perhaps I just could not wait any longer. Maybe my beach senses operate on the number of hours of sunlight. It could be a combination of blue skies, little wind, and warm temperatures.

Whatever the reason, I made my way over to the Point on March 27, 2014. The Point is a special place but few people take the time to thoroughly explore its most distant sands.  It is typical in the modern world for people to hit the convenient areas and miss the places which require a few miles walking.

The Point never stops changing and is always just one storm from returning to its wild state. It is a great place to explore what even to locals is a somewhat mysterious place. A lot of people walk the areas of the point between the access ramps but only a relative few go beyond the yellow house.

Even in the summer time I can escape our limited crowds by hiking just a couple of miles farther along the beach. While I often find peace on the water in my kayak, the Point is also one of those unique spots where nature makes it possible to be alone with myself.

By the end of March, it is not unusual to find that the waters of Bogue Inlet which flow along the Point are begging to be waded. That was not the case on my recent trip. Our area waters are still very cold after a winter that has refused to let go and a spring that started with lingering cold. Still I was anxious to get out and see the changes on the Point.

I always make the trip with idea that the sands there are always changing and that I will find some feature that has disappeared or been added.  In the fall of 2007, the sands at the Point were gone as you can see from this picture. Today there is well over a quarter of a mile of sand from the vehicle access ramp west to the edge of the sand by the inlet and the water closest to Bear Island.

My first 2014 hike was a leisurely hour and one half walk of a little over three miles. It took me from the parking lot at Coast Guard Road and Station Street to the eastern most access on Wyndtree Drive and then west and north to where the beach gets very narrow by Coast Guard/Bird Island.  Then I took the shortcut back across the now dry part of Coast Guard Channel.  I made my exit from the beach at the vehicle ramp. You can follow my hike with this map. If you switch the map to satellite view, it is pretty obvious that even Google cannot keep up with the changes at the Point.  When I have more time, I usually walk all the way back up the beach.  It adds almost another two miles to the hike and brings the total walk close to five miles.

The weather on this first trip of the year was much better than I expected. If I had gone a day or two earlier, I would have been sand blasted so I pleased with the lack of wind. By the time I reached the most western point of sand , I had to shed my jacket. When I turned and headed north, I seemed to lose any hint of a breeze. I was actually happy to pick it up again as I headed back across the Point to the vehicle ramp.  There was a great view of Bear Island today as I turned the corner and headed north where I shed my jacket.  When I looked closely at my pictures in the evening, I could see the roof of one of the pavilions on Bear Island.

Perhaps the only place by the water in our area where you might get an even more complete detachment from the world is over at Hammocks Beach on Bear Island.  It is another one of my spots where I find some space that lets me unwind from the challenges of the world.

I have been coming to the Point since the summer of 1969 when the only way to get there was a four wheel drive ride down the beach. A lot has changed like roads being added hundreds of houses being built in Emerald Isle since then but the Point is still a magical place that has the power to draw me when the wind and temperature are right.

There were some wonderful evenings that I waded the warm fall waters at the Point in the fall of 2013. Most years we have a few really great days that let me visit even in January. That was not the case in 2014 and might be the reason that I was so anxious to have my first real visit of the season.

You can have a look at the pictures I took on my hike in this album and see how things have changed since I wrote this post, The End of the Sand, nearly a year ago on April 8, 2013.  That beautiful body of the water featured in that post picture no longer exists. If you want to see the pictures on a map, this Picasa web albums link should do the trick though you have to watch closely for the “Go back to Picasa web albums” message or you will end up in the Google+ album with no map.

You can read more posts about why we live on the Crystal Coast at this selection of older posts.

If you would like to see some pictures of the spectacular scenery in our area including some really great pictures of things at the Point which have disappeared, check out our recently published $2.99 Kindle reader book, 100 Pictures, 1000 Words, A Crystal Coast Year.  It is worth clicking on the link just to see the free sample of seven pictures.  Kindle reader software works on just about every platform including iPads and iPhones.

A little over a month ago we sent out our first newsletter of the season.  We will be sending  the next edition about the upcoming season on the Crystal Coast around the end of the March. Our first festival of the season, Emerald Isle’s Saint Patrick’s Festival, managed to have great weather and kick the season off with impressive crowds.

Some perfect steamed oysters have helped me get into the mood for beach season.  I have already had my boat serviced for the year and my kayak is patiently waiting on the bulkhead just a few feet from the water so I am ready for the warm weather and some serious time on the water now that I have had my first beach hike of the season under my belt.

You can also get our comprehensive travel guide to the area.  We will be publishing a free electronic update for people who buy the 2013 edition.  There is no greater place to vacation with a family than North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.

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