I had a marvelous time backpacking three days on Shackleford Banks, part of Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. I'll be writing a number of posts about the trip, and have something like 200 photos to comb through, but I'll make this overview my first post.
My two compadres and I drove down Friday evening, going right through Tropical Storm Andrea, and finding a motel in New Bern. It took us nearly an hour to find a hotel. We wanted two beds plus a rollaway or a pull-out sofa, and the best we could do was a king and a pull-out. What would women do? I bet most of them would sleep two in the big bed and the third would take the pull-out, but men just are not going to do that. Just about the time we had resigned ourselves to one of us sleeping on the floor, we found a great place at a reasonable price with the two beds and the sleeper sofa. Hurrah!
We drove to Beaufort, NC in the morning and took the 10:00 boat over. My pack weighed about 55 pounds: roughly 7.5 pounds for the pack and empty water containers, 14.5 pounds of camping gear like my tent and sleeping pad, 28 pounds of water and Gatorade, and 5 pounds of food. I needed help just to put the pack on my back! But the good news was, that after the boat dropped us off on the west end of the nine mile long island, we would only hike 3-4 miles with the full pack weight before making camp. And when Chris suggested making camp at 3 miles about one mile in, he got no arguments from Carlton or me.
Shackleford Banks is a truly beautiful and interesting island. No one lives there, and there is no drinking water - unless you can desalinate it. There seemed to be four major zones moving from south to north: a beautiful and wild nine mile Atlantic Ocean beach with a pronounced dune system,
I walked and walked and walked, and then, I walked some more. On Saturday and Sunday alone, I took over 84,000 steps according to my pedometer. Assuming 2,300 steps per mile for an average, that would translate to nearly 37 miles in the two days. A lot of those miles was looking for great seashells, and did I find some good ones!
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