January is not a particularly tough month here on the coast of North Carolina. One of my few concessions to winter is that I wear cotton socks inside my crocs. The crocs still have plenty of ventilation, but I get a little protection from the socks. Only one trip to the mail box in January 2013, required that I change to my tennis shoes because of heavy rain.
Winter has not been totally absent here along Raymond’s Gut. We have seen a few days where we did not break forty degrees Fahrenheit. However, we are lucky that even when winter has found us, it has been tempered by outbreaks of warm weather like we are enjoying this last week of January 2013.
When it gets up over sixty or seventy degrees Fahrenheit in January, it is time to play a little. There are four things that I do to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area and take advantage of the warm weather that regularly slips into the area during January.
One is to take walks along the marsh close by our subdivision. We are such a protected area that even on the nastiest days, I often get to enjoy a wide variety of the area’s wildlife. I regularly seen loons, otters, great egrets, great blue herons, and king fishers among other inhabitants of the marsh. When the weather is really nice, our marsh inhabitants are often down wandering in the big marshes near Swansboro.
The second thing that comes to mind as warm weather blankets the area is taking my Sundance skiff out on the river. There is rarely a week, that I don’t run my boat down to Swansboro. It’s only ten minutes by water. It can be really cold out on the river, but a few warm days can make things nice enough to ditch the gloves and coat. However, just because the air temperature has warmed up to seventy degrees doesn’t mean that it is going to be that warm out on the river. On my most recent trip, the air temperature was well over seventy degrees Fahrenheit at our dock. I left the dock with my coat tucked in the back cooler of our boat. I was comfortable in my long-sleeved t-shirt. As I idled my way to the river, I was impressed that the top layer of the undisturbed water in Raymond’s Gut was over sixty degrees. By the time I got out to the river things were changing.
As my quick ride down the river at 30 MPH progressed, I could feel the chill in the air building as we approached Swansboro. When I powered back the motor as I crossed under the bridge at Swansboro Harbor, I noticed the temperature on the depth finder was reading just over forty-nine degrees. I put my coat on for the trip back up the river. I didn’t take it off until I turned into our inlet. I also noticed that after the boat had mixed the water in the marsh, even the water temperature there had dropped to just over fifty-three degrees. When you are riding on the water, you normally feel the water temperature more than the air temperature.
The third activity I like to do on warm days is go kayaking, but I generally like to have four or five warm days in a row when the water is as cold as it is now. If I can find a streak of nice weather, it is a good time to enjoy our inlet and even the nearby river like I did on Christmas Day and in early January.
My final warm weather January activity is hiking the beaches. I would likely have gone over during this last spell of warm weather, but we are in the midst of bridge construction and I couldn’t get free until almost four o’clock which is a little late to head out to the beaches this time of year. It also wasn’t that long ago that I hiked the Point at Emerald Isle.
Whatever I do on these magical warm January days, I manage to enjoy our beauty area to the fullest. The Southern Outer Banks are truly a wonderful place. It is sometimes hard to believe you can actually walk on the beaches and play on the water in January here.
You can find pictures of a boat ride of mine down the river at this link. I have also posted pictures of some kayaking that that I did on January 12. My latest January beach hike didn’t yield a lot of great pictures, but this is one that I do like.
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