Monday, April 11, 2016

False Cape State Park Trip Overview

Ever since I moved to Virginia, I have wanted to camp out down in False Cape State Park, Virginia's southernmost state park.  Less than 1,200 miles to Key West.
The park is located in the southeast corner of the state with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Back Bay to the west, and North Carolina to the south.  I've circled the area in red:

Here is a little more detail - my general trail track (30 miles of hiking over three days) is shown in the blue track lines, and the big red arrow marks the North Carolina border.  I walked within a couple miles of the Tarheel State.  You can see that the park is essentially part of a barrier island, and the northern part of my route was hiking through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The park is an amazing place - isolated, lots of wildlife, interesting habitats. There are two ways to get there - by water, such as a kayak, or on foot.  I did the latter, hiking in last Friday and setting up camp, day hiking Saturday, and hiking out Sunday.  The weather especially for the last two days was more like February than April, with incredible winds for much of my visit.  I tried to get a friend and my brother to go, but it didn't work out, so I went in alone.  However, I met a great group of six people there who were also camping, and they invited me to hike with them Saturday, which I did.  They were part of a group called the Hampton Roads Hikers, and I really enjoyed meeting them, hiking together, and hanging out.  I appreciate their hospitality.

Here is an overview of the trails I hiked on - I drew in the little purple segment that didn't get mapped somehow.  The arrow marks the area where I camped - about 600 feet or so from the ocean.  I could hear the surf at night.  In general, the tracks north of the arrow followed my route into the park and back out, and the tracks south of the arrow follows Saturday's hike.

I camped out in my little tent under the scenic live oaks, and was snug and warm enough, despite chilly temperatures and high winds.  I carried all my gear and food in with me, and my pack weighed about 34 pounds.  Yeah, not exactly ultralight, but I like being comfortable, and only had to carry it about 6.5 miles each way.

I had a great time - made some new friends, saw lots of wildlife, ate well, relaxed a bit, did some cool hikes.  I loved camping out here and exploring, and would certainly love to go back soon.  In the days ahead, I will post details and photos of each day of my three day adventure.

Here are the posts for each part of my trek:

Day 1 - hiking in and setting up camp
Day 2 - Exploring Wash Woods in changing weather
Day 2 and 3 - An evening hike and the hike out
Wildlife sightings for my trip
Best Back Country Breakfast Ever!

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