Hiking at Carolina Beach
Cloudless sulphur butterflies head north just above the dune line at Carolina Beach.
Southern North Carolina Coast beach walks. About 12 miles total.
As has been noted in some summer past, it is on the beach – where The Day Hiker seeks shells – that I am able to keep up with her. And even occasionally turn around to check on her, as she does to me sometimes in the woods of the mountains.
Part of the beauty of that is that when she gets home and spreads things out on a table, she can tell you what beach she was on by the little clusters of shells. Or shell fragments even.
I don't bring that kind of distinction among sandy walks. Wrightsville, Oak Island, Holden, Ocean Isle, Carolina Beach – sometimes the shore is a little slopier than others, but it's pretty much the same. Well, it's not the same running as it is walking, as a mile run on a beach is among the longest you can find; a mile walked on the beach is gravy, especially with all that warmish water slapping against your feet and legs.
The best beach walks, of course, are those that take you to dinner on or near the beach. We had two of these among our five walks, complete with good mysteries, as we returned in the dark, about what those shapes or lights or movements were up ahead.
One little wonder of the southern N.C. coastline: You get up early and go out to look at the sunrise and it's… not there! Oh, there it is, due left, as the coastline here faces just about due south.
One other wonder, noticed on the last day: Along the beach, and for the first 50 or so miles of the drive inland, there was an endless stream of Cloudless Sulphur butterflies, headed north. A report on a Wilmington TV station a few days after we saw them notes that they are highly migratory – flying north as long as it is warm and then turning southward again. We went for perhaps two hours where you could see at least one at any time.
How to get there: From the west, I-40 east and then hooking south across big ol' North Carolina.
Hikes, August 28-September 4, 2010