Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Ocracoke

 

Starting with 857.6 miles, 93,850 ft.
ascent

MST232-emptybeach

Cedar Island Ferry to Ferry

15.4 miles, 200 ft. ascent

After getting off the Neusiok Trail so early, Sharon and I drove east to catch the ferry to Cedar Island to continue our Mountains-to-Sea Trail trek. If you’re really familiar with the MST in this section, you’ll note that I skipped about 45 miles on the road. Sharon biked that section and she certainly was not going to walk it with me. So I’ll catch it later.

We took the ferry to Ocracoke on Cedar Island. Ocracoke is a small, upper -crust island town. The only way to to get on and off the island is by ferry. Even though it’s touristy, it’s not crowded.

The next morning, we’re walking from the ferry site through town. But going through town is very quick and soon we’re on the beach. We’re now in Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Finally on the beach. I never imagined we’d actually get here. It’s buggy; the gnats and mosquitoes swarm my hat. We go through a Park campground and barely stop to eat because it’s so uncomfortable.

Back on the road for a few miles and we pass the Pony pens. Ocracoke ponies ran free for centuries. But when the road – NC 12 – was put in in 1957 and the ponies had a few encounters with cars, the National Park Service penned them in.

After that, the tourists are gone.MST232-Dannyonbeach The only things on the beach are sandpipers and dowitchers. The wind has seriously picked up and the waves are topped by white caps. The bugs are gone and the only stuff going into my eyes is sand. My hat blows away and my legs are sandwhipped.

In at least two places, the beach is closed to pedestrians and everything else.MST232-Signonbeach

Endangered piping plovers are nesting and so are loggerhead turtles. We have a choice of:

*  Breaking the law – NO. Getting caught in a National Park would be so embarrassing.

*  Leave the beach via the dunes but the dunes are protected as well

*  Walk in the water. This is the option we choose. I get my shoes and socks wet while Sharon takes off her shoes.

MST232-feedingfrenzyWe takek the ferry to Hatteras. Children are feeding the sea birds creating a feeding frenzy.

When I finally take off my shoes, I find a new blister on my right little toe. I also find a tick on my waist which I remove with a large needle after I bust my blister.

I thought that this section of the MST was going to be easy but it’s a jungle out here.

 

Cumulative after 69 days, 873.0 miles, 94,050 ft.
ascent

 

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