A couple of months ago, I organized a backpacking trip to False Cape State Park, down in Southeast Virginia on the North Carolina border. I immediately got six people to sign up, and was very happy about that. Then two dropped out, then two more. Seven had become just three. I collected the money from the couple that remained, reserved the site, and contacted them on Monday before the trip to set up final arrangements. "Sorry, hiked 40 miles this weekend doing the AT through Maryland," she said. "Ankle is swollen, Achilles tendon is sore. Have to drop out!"
So, down to just me. But I contacted a friend, and he was able to join me - even though he nearly had to drop at the last minute when his boss wouldn't give him that Friday off. They compromised, he left work a couple hours early, and hiked into the campsite just at dark. This was Friday, April 7. I'd started hiking about 12:30 and even though it was incredibly windy, had enjoyed the hike in, set up my new tent, done some bird watching, and had eaten dinner by the time Carlton got there.
Here is where we were, The top part, above the red line, is the hike in Friday and out Sunday. Below the red line is where we hiked Saturday. The state line is indicated by the dashed line (and arrow). The park is part of a narrow barrier beach with the Atlantic Ocean to the East and Back Bay to the West. It's a wonderful place to hike and camp.
The hike in through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is always interesting. Due to the cold and windy conditions Friday, I didn't see any snakes or turtles, but did see a number of birds, starting with these American coots:
Most of the hike in is through open marshes, but eventually, you reach a pleasant maritime forest to hike though with pines and live oaks.
When you get to the park, it is maybe another mile and a quarter to the campsite. We camped near the ocean.
I loved these red maple seeds on the way to camp.
After setting up my tent, I went down to the beach. About five miles down the beach is North Carolina, with its "McMansions." I am glad that Virginia protected our beaches here from that kind of development.
Because it was a nice level hike in, and I was camping from a base camp, I carried in a little extra gear, including a small fry pan to make pancakes for breakfast. And of course, what are pancakes without maple syrup? So I packed in a little of that as well. It hit the spot!
Next post: Saturday's 14 miles of day hiking and bird watching (and listening).
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