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A Stroll on the Neusiok Trail - Dec 2017

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  • A*Stroll on the Neusiok Trail*- Dec 2017

    Jon Maxwell sent me this article that he wrote and gave me permission to post it on the forum.

    I did pass him and his friend in between Hwy 306 and Hwy 101 while they were hiking the trail.

    A Stroll on the Neusiok Trail

    By Jon Maxwell

    On a crisp cloudless winter morning, my fellow hiker Russell Triplett and I set out to walk through the coastal swamp, wetland bogs, sandy peat soil, and woody shrubs of the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest. We look forward to a change of scenery from the peaks and valleys of the North Carolina mountains and piedmont.

    The Neusiok Trail, named for an early Native-American tribe, was constructed primarily by volunteers from the Carteret County Wildlife Club in the 1970's, with the assistance of the United States Forest Service. It runs about 21 miles from the Pine Cliff Recreation Area, off of Highway 306, along a sandy beach of the Neuse River, then southward through cypress swamps and longleaf pine savannah and atop hardwood ridges, all interspersed with bogs. In many places deep vegetation and shade almost block out the sun, but the trail also crosses three minor roadways and even tracks a dirt road for about thirty minutes. The Neusiok has been incorporated into the official route of the 875-mile Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail, and is no doubt one of the MST’s most interesting sections. The southern terminus of the hike is at Oyster Point, in a marsh near the Newport River. See,

    Cold weather for walking the Neusiok is recommended, in order to avoid mosquitoes, deer flies, and ticks; that also minimizes potential encounters with water moccasins, rattlesnakes, and copperheads, and even alligators and bears.

    A blaze orange vest helps assure that deer hunters will see us. We can hear their rifles from time to time, but do not see them; in fact, we encounter only one other hiker.

    Neusiok Trail maps on the internet and in a book on the MST by the venerable Allen DeHart help guide us. We also find that the trail is very well marked with rectangular metallic blazes and white painted MST blazes, and we do not have a problem staying on the trail. Some areas contain wooden boardwalks above low swampy parts; I estimate that these structures make up about a mile of the trail. Occasionally in areas without boardwalks we are required to work around low swampy areas and we still get our feet wet. There is very little elevation on the trail.

    Having had breakfast we find that energy bars and two liters of water each supply our needs. Our pace is steady and moderate, and our snack/rest pauses few and brief. Although the weather forecast is favorable, we each carry a rain jacket in our small day packs to avoid possible hypothermia in the event of a surprise shower. The flora is varied and most interesting, and in many ways unique in our experience. It is disheartening to encounter the occasional unlawful dumping site and even an abandoned yacht.

    After 8 1/2 hours we are pleased to come to trail’s end, tired but also energized by the beauty of our amble. A relaxing dinner in Beaufort that evening gives us a chance to share and relive the highlights of a magic day.

    Jon Maxwell is a Greensboro attorney who enjoys hiking.

    Copyright 2018 Jonathan (Jon) Maxwell

    The above is the unedited article that he wrote. A more edited version can be found here....

    The pictures were taken by him.
    18 years old with 45 years of experience