Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Hatteras and Avon

Starting with 873.0 miles, 94,050 ft. ascent


Village of Hatteras
13.75 miles 200 ft. ascent

Sharon and I start on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at the Hatteras Ferry on Hatteras Island. The town of Hatteras has many fanciful houses with several balconies, porches and staircases.

Then the trail takes us on the beach where a solitary whimbrel feeds along with a large number of sandpipers and dowwitchers. A whimbrel has a long straight beak and then a little downward curve at the tip. But we’re not on the beach for long.

We walk through Frisco campground and we’re on a real trail, Open Ponds Trail, through a maritime forest.MST233-inletpond

The walking is not as easy as it sounds since the sand is so soft. Over four miles of slogging through sand giving our legs a real aerobic exercise.

MST233-HatteraslighthouseWe reach the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and Visitor Center. I have see replicas of this lighthouse in people’s front yard since the Piedmont. It is an icon.

In 1999, they moved the lighthouse further from the ocean since it was about to get washed away by the sea. It took 23 days.

Hatteras Lighthouse is the only one of the three at Cape Hatteras National Seashore that visitors can climb. So we do – 257 stairs and 165 ft. up. The warnings from the rangers make it sound like you’re walking up to Mt. Everest.

“Let’s go up first,” Sharon says, “so we don’t get trapped by a lot of slower people.” We’re up in five minutes.

From the top, I can see Diamond Shoals, a point where the Greenland current meets the Caribbean Current – a very dangerous spot.

MST233-RangerJenniferHaleI had talked to Ranger Jennifer on the phone a couple of weeks ago.She was very friendly and helpful. Now I meet her. It turns out that she worked at Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Smokies.

It’s a small world after all.

Cumulative after 70 days, 886.8.miles, 94,250 ft. ascent

Through the town of Avon

14.3 miles 100 ft. ascent

MST234-AvoncoffeeshopThe trail today takes us on the beach for several miles.

It’s hard walking with Off-Road Vehicles tire tracks all over the sand. Do we walk on the level soft sand or do we go on a slant toward the water where the sand is firmer?

Two oystercatchers are digging in the sand. But it’s the piping plover that I want to see. No luck so far but we have several more days on the beach.

MST234-DwayneandwifeAvon is a relief from the sand. The town is charming. So are the people.

We stop in a coffee shop and ask a customer to take our photo.

Dwayne and his wife treat us to coffee and we tell them about the trail. Then back to the beach.

We move onto Rodanthe, the town made famous by the movie A Night in Rodanthe. It sounds very posh.

Cumulative after 71 days, 901.1miles, 94,350 ft. ascent

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