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Completed Trail 12/26 - 12/27

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  • Completed Trail 12/26 - 12/27

    The day after Christmas I drove from my home in Holly Springs, NC to Oyster Point and parked there. My intention was to hike to Pine Cliffs and back over three days, stopping to hammock camp two nights. It was cool but still a lovely sunny day as I headed out on the trail.

    At the Blackjack shelter I stopped a few minutes to look around before continuing on. Then after crossing Alligator Tram Road I came upon two hunting beagles who checked me out for a moment. Further ahead I met the two hunters they belonged to and said hello. The section between Alligator Tram Road and the long dirt was the only one that had big puddles and muddy areas. While going down the long dirt road I passed another hiker. That must have been Alex, the other person who submitted a trip report and mentioned seeing a guy with boots and a pack (me).

    I stopped to check out Dogwood shelter too when I got that far. I only stayed a minute though because I wanted to get as far as possible before the sun went down. Well it did turn dark soon after I crossed Highway 306 but I pushed on and made it to Copperhead shelter. There a I met a father and daughter from Pennsylvania who were camping in the shelter. They had started from Pine Cliffs headed south.

    The night before, which was Monday, the weather forecast had shown a 40% chance of rain for Wednesday. By the time I reached Copperhead shelter the chance had increased to 90%. The highest chance was beginning about 7 AM. Since none of us wanted to be wet and cold we planned to wake up at 4 AM and hike out early.

    We enjoyed a nice fire and conversation before turning in about 10 PM. At 2 AM the sound of rain on my tarp woke me up. The rain was on and off after that point. We did get up at 4 and hiked to Pine Cliffs. Their vehicle was there and they kindly gave me a lift back to Oyster Point.

    Before I made it far on my drive home the rain became more steady and heavy. So I don't regret skipping the return hike this time. I would like to return to the Neusiock Trail in the future and do the full round trip. The trail is a wonderful natural resource. Much of the terrain reminded me of the woods that used to be between my parents neighborhood in Wilmington and the Cape Fear River. Most of that was cleared for more houses. I think having preserved areas like the Croatan National Forest is important.

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