Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beach to Stones Creek Game Land, MST day 7

Intracoastal Waterway from High Bridge on NC 210, N Topsail Beach, NC

In today's installment of my scouting hikes for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, I hiked the 5.4 miles of road walk between the beach and the entrance to the Stones Creek Game Land.  The highlight (of today's walk is crossing the High Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway (shown above).  This is a nice modern bridge, a full half mile in length with five foot wide shoulders on both sides.  At its middle it rises 65 feet above the water at high tide.

Bike path and public parking where trail leaves the beach
For the hiker this is a 'road walk', although all the walking except over the high bridge is on a nice wide grassy shoulder (four miles) or on a quiet frontage road (a half mile in length) or on a dedicated paved bike-footpath (for 0.35 miles - shown at left).

View of North Shore Golf course from NC 210
There are plenty of businesses for the hiker to take advantage of, ranging from a Holiday Inn Express to several convenience stores and a McDonalds.  There's long term resupply at a Food Lion grocery store, and a number of sit-down restaurants.  But there's plenty of nature here too.  The road passes beside more undeveloped woodland than developed land; and there's a very pretty golf course with the view shown at right.

To put today's hike in context: for the eastbound thru-hiker this trek through 'civilization' follows 8 miles of beach walking and is then followed by the traverse through the wilds of the Stones Creek Game Land on several miles of seldom-used jeep tracks (someday a dedicated foot trail could be built here).  Plans are to explore the Game Land tomorrow--stay tuned.

Access road to Stones Creek Game Land, seasonally gated

Below is a map of today's hike with more photos available by clicking the title to go to a slide show or clicking the individual red push-pins.

MST Day 7 - beach to Stones Creek Game Land at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in North Carolina

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