Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ocracoke Village hike and the ferry ride to Cedar Island

Ocracoke lighthouse with the keeper's house and a truly picturesque old Juniper tree
It was a nearly calm late winter day, and that lack of air motion intensified the sense of off-season stillness in the quaint little island tourist town of Ocracoke.  The only traffic on the summer-bustling main street in center-town was this waddling troop of pedestrians:

Early in the morning, before I got to Ocracoke, I had a little unfinished business on Hatteras Island, scouting the alternate for the beach to ferry landing MST route:  Here's the new route, now deemed 'official' after consultation with MST executive director Kate Dixon.  No bureaucracy needed, it seems, for such a 'no-brainer' improvement.  Here's the National Park Service beach access and paved parking area near the ferry terminal:

The view of sunrise from this public access point was a great way to start the day:

But back to Ocracoke.  After hiking the MST route from beach to ferry landing, I had some time to check the Ocracoke lighthouse, as shown above, and to visit with its resident keeper:

Then it was onto the ferry and out of the harbor for the two-and-a-quarter hour ride to Cedar Island.

I kept myself occupied on this ride simply by watching the 26 miles of Pamlico Sound pass beneath me, often literally mirror-smooth in the calm.  I wanted to watch Ocracoke Island disappear beneath the horizon, but to my surprise, on this winter day with no sea spray and low humidity, it never did disappear.  It was visible as a thin line of black between calm sea and a flat gray overcast sky even 26 miles away on Cedar Island.

From the ferry landing I headed back to my home on Topsail Island.  Initially it will be a long drive each day, but for the coming few weeks, I'll be commuting between home and the MST.  111 miles today, and back that far tomorrow, but each day it will be less, and it will be good to have a familiar bed each night.


Here's the GPS track for the short hike and the long ferry ride, with link to a slideshow with all the photos:

MST Day 9 - Ocracoke and the Cedar Island Ferry at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in North Carolina

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