I've worked out my next little mini-adventure, and am planning my gear for the trip. I'm going later in June for three days and am planning this with two other guys. It will be a fun - but at times difficult - trip.
I thought I would put out a new clue every 1-3 days and see if folks can hone in on where I might be going. I'll update this post every few days with the next clue.
Clue # 1. I'll be in the Tar Heel State, and hiking to a place where I have never been before. This means that this trip will count towards three of my hiking goals for 2013: hike 10 places I have never been; go backpacking at least twice; and hike in a state I didn't hike in during 2012.
Clue # 2. The Tar Heel State, and its neighbor to the west, the Volunteer State, have the highest mountains on the east coast of the USA. Go on a multi-day hike in those mountains, and you will gain and lose thousands of feet of elevation. But for my destination, although I'll be hiking some 20 miles, my elevation gain and loss will be measured in dozens of feet, not thousands.
Clue # 3. I always bring a map and compass when I backpack. But in this case, they are not necessary, and I won't bring them along. Even though the area I am going to, managed by the National Park Services, is about 2,500 acres and has no marked trails, it would be impossible to get lost. I will still bring my GPS so that I can mark our campsite if we explore at night and so I can map where I have been to show on this blog later.
Clue # 4. Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. We'll literally be surrounded by water, but there is no drinkable water (by humans) where we are going. Each of us will carry our own water for any drinking or cleaning up, thus, cooking will be at a minimum on this pack trip. I will carry 12 or 13 liters of water, which will translate to 26 - 28 pounds.
Clue # 5. Unless you walk on water - I don't, even without a heavy pack - a boat is the only way to get where we are going. You can take a kayak if you are experienced enough to handle potentially rough weather. I am not, so I'll be arriving and departing by water taxi: $25 round trip but well worth it.
Clue # 6. Based on satellite images of this area, it looks like there is a well defined sandy beach for its length to the south, running west to east. Behind this, there is an area of dunes. Behind this is an area of what appears to me to be a mixture of meadow and open lands and low trees. And finally, to the north, there is another coastal zone, probably muddy, backing up to a sound.
Okay, so if you have followed these clues, you are probably thinking - correctly, I should add - an island. But which island? Here are some more clues...
Clue # 7. There are no humans living on the island, even seasonally. With no drinking water, that would be tough. As far as I know, the only structures on the island are a boat dock and an outhouse near the boat dock, on the islands western end. This is where the boat we are using to get out there will drop us off.
Clue # 8. Despite no humans, the island is not uninhabited. There are about 100 wild horses living on it. They are believed to be descendants of horses that came ashore in the 1600's from Spanish shipwrecks. They have adapted to drink from ponds of brackish water that humans cannot tolerate.
Clue # 9. I would have to be amazingly fortunate, but there is a chance that if I up late one night, I could see a loggerhead sea turtle returning from the sea to get the next generation started.
Clue # 10. My final clue is this satellite image of the island.
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